Customer feedback provides incredibly valuable data for your business. It helps you identify what you're doing well and where you need to improve. And, asking the right questions leads to better personalization of your products and services, which means you'll be more successful when meeting customer needs.

Feedback collection tools — like Net Promoter Score (NPS®) — gauge your company's relationship with its customers. While NPS is an excellent resource for monitoring customer relations, the real problem is that many customers simply ignore requests for feedback when sent through traditional communication channels like email. This makes it tricky to collect quality feedback from customers without investing a lot of time and money.

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If you want to improve your engagement rate, you need to be a little more creative while still keeping the process simple and convenient. So, if you're looking for some new, unique ways to generate customer feedback, below are some underestimated communication channels you should be using, but might not be just yet.

Customer Feedback Collection Channels

1. Live Chat

Customers want a quick and direct way to reach businesses when they have a question, which is why live chat has become a staple for websites offering a product or service.

Customers like using live chat. In fact, 79% of consumers prefer it as their way to communicate with a business or support team. Live chat also has the highest customer satisfaction rate of all service communication channels.

But, the best part is that you don't have to have a human rep operating the chat 24/7.

Chatbots can send messages to people visiting your site, reply to customer inquiries, and collect feedback for you to review later. Most chatbots allow you to add a survey with open-ended questions after a conversation ends which creates a smooth transition between the support case and the feedback collection process. This not only saves your reps time from manually sending a survey, but also provides an automated way to categorize positive and negative feedback.

2. Webinars

A webinar is essentially a video workshop, presentation, or lecture hosted online with a live audience. Webinar software allows you to present new products, demonstrate product features or services, and engage with a live audience that's interested in your brand.

However, what makes webinars unique — and so useful for gathering customer feedback — is their ability to interact with participants using real-time, SMS chat. Hosts can directly ask participants for feedback, or surveys can be installed into the SMS system so viewers can reply anonymously.

One important detail to note is that webinars aren't ideal for all businesses and they do present some challenges. For example, the greater the number of participants, the harder it is to moderate the group chat and interact with your entire audience. If you get a large turnout for your webinar, it may make sense to break your audience up into focus groups based on similar customer characteristics or behaviors.

Another common problem is finding effective ways to start productive conversations. If you make your entire presentation centered around feedback for your brand, participants won't feel like they're there to learn, but rather to be studied for marketing data. So, instead of creating a webinar with the intent of optimizing customer feedback, build one that's designed to educate customers about something your company knows a lot about. By doing so, you'll learn more about your customer base because they'll be more engaged with your webinar.

3. Growing Social Media Platforms

Social media has become a valuable customer support resource and you can use it as an inexpensive way to generate feedback. If you have a large following on one of the major social platforms, like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, you can leverage that audience to ask about their customer experience.

While it's easy to get locked in on the most popular social media channels, you should also keep in mind that smaller platforms can be just as effective for gathering customer information. You even may find that one platform caters specifically to your customer base and, therefore, is worth investing more into than say Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

One example of this is Tik Tok. Tik Tok is a social media platform with nearly 500 million monthly active users, and more than half of that audience is between the ages of 16 and 24. If you're brand that targets this demographic, Tik Tok is an ideal place to collect customer feedback.

Social media continues to be a fundamental customer service channel, so it's important to look out for emerging platforms like Tik Tok that present new opportunities for your brand.

4. Community Forums

There are several reasons why community forums are good for your business, and feedback collection is one of them. By creating a forum or a social group using a platform like Discord, Facebook, or Slack, you can start interesting group discussions that generate unique insights about your products and services.

The drawbacks of creating a community forum are the time and cost that are required to moderate and operate the platform. But, there are some huge potential upsides that outweigh these investments, namely:

  • A clear channel to communicate with your customers
  • The ability to request feedback in a controlled format to a dedicated customer group
  • Empowering your customers with a platform that's personalized to their needs
  • Future business growth opportunities

Community forums aren't built overnight. You're going to have to be persistent and creative to generate engagement. But, the good news is that customer feedback on this channel is going to be much more valuable than information collected through cold calls or automated surveys. That's because you can control the topic of the conversation, who can participate, and which comments remain public on the conversation's thread.

5. SMS or Texting

SMS or text messaging is another great medium for collecting customer feedback. This form of messaging offers benefits like:

  • Fast and direct communication
  • High open rates compare to other outreach channels
  • Convenient ways for customers to respond
  • An inexpensive communication channel

The average global open rate for a text message is 94%. There's no other form of outreach that comes close to this performance — for context, email open rates are estimated to be around 25%. This makes sense when customers literally have your messages in the palm of their hands.

To adopt SMS customer support, all you need is your customers' phone numbers. There are two main ways you can go about obtaining them:

  1. Include a phone number field on your website's forms when asking customers for information, like during a payment process.
  2. Send out shortcodes via email or live chat, asking your customers to text the shortcode to sign up for your SMS list.

For more ways to collect data, read these strategies to obtain customer feedback.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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Originally published Jun 15, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2020

Topics:

Customer Feedback