2022 Guide to Customer Feedback

2022 Guide to Customer Feedback (What It Is, How to Get It, and How to Use It)

In this guide, we’ll explore the definition of customer feedback and the best ways to gather exceptional insights from your customers.

Getting useful customer feedback is like mining for gold (or maybe Bitcoin is a more appropriate mining reference these days?). Every company wants it. Many people misunderstand it. And very few actually have a healthy and sustainable relationship with it.

The goal with customer feedback isn’t just to get it—although getting it is no easy task. The real practice comes from gathering, analyzing, and executing on those insights to improve customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.  

It can be a painful process. Once you’ve soured your customers’ impression of giving feedback, they likely won’t trust you with their insights again. And when customers refuse to give feedback, you risk making product decisions that they won’t like. 

The glory comes from creating a well-orchestrated feedback loop. When you proactively solicit feedback (not just at the worst of times) and engage with customers in a meaningful way, they’ll be at the ready when you want to test new ideas or products. And of course, you’ll have a built-in buyers network when you release those new products. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the definition of customer feedback and go over the eight best ways to gather exceptional feedback from your customers. 

What is customer feedback?

Customer feedback is the constant loop of information, data, and insights provided by customers to a business. Feedback can be quantitative, pulling from survey results, UX tracking, CSAT or NPS scores (net promoter scores). Or it can be qualitative, using customer stories from interviews, long-form surveys, and reviews to track customer sentiment.  

Tracking customer feedback typically falls on the customer service, customer experience, or customer success teams. While marketing, branding, and product teams may also lead projects to gather customer insights. 

Many customer support platforms enable you to automatically track customer feedback. You can integrate CSAT surveys or tag emails to track certain insights directly within your help desk. There are also individual tools, like survey software or heat maps, that can help you gather data outside of your support software. 

Why is gathering customer feedback important?

Customer feedback is an important part of your business’ ability to meet customer expectations and succeed in your given marketplace. Gathering customer feedback provides a reliable way to create products that people want to buy. 

You can think of it like evidence-based research. Rather than assuming future buyers will want a certain product, you can get real, concrete answers from actual buyers. You’ll drastically improve your offerings while mitigating risk and saving money on research and development. 

Your greatest hope in prolonging the longevity of your e-commerce business is to get feedback from your current customers.

8 ways to get great customer feedback 

I want to break down how to get great customer feedback—far too many companies stop at simply getting feedback. There’s a big difference between insights that you can take action on and ones that only graze the surface. 

Ultimately, whether a review is positive or negative doesn’t matter. Either one can hold tons of insights or nothing at all. Strive to get feedback that informs your team what they’re doing right and what they need to improve. Then, take action and expand upon both. 

Here’s a list of eight ways to get great customer feedback. We’ll cover the type of feedback, how to request it, and what it’s best used for. 

1. Use short in-app surveys for specific requests

Those little surveys that pop up on the corner of your screen can be very useful. You might recall them asking a direct question like, “How did you hear about us?” with multiple choice options. 

This is the perfect way to request very specific information at a specific time from your customers. Keep them short and easy to answer. You want your store visitors to complete the survey in one to two clicks without sidetracking their buying experience.

Plus, when you keep it direct, your results will be immediately visible in data analysis. Using the example from above, a clear winner comes out when given three concrete options. That’s the channel you’ll want to put more marketing money into. 

In-app survey asking, "how did you hear about us?" for customer feedback

2. Create longer email surveys for more in-depth analysis

When you want to get customers’ opinions on something—rather than just answering a factual question—turn to email. You’ll have more time to ask your questions, and customers will dedicate more time to responding. 

Plus, with email, if a customer chooses to open it (we know, most don’t) then you’ve already got their attention. They’ve deemed you worthy of their time. 

Here’s where you can ask more questions related to your business or products. Offer open-ended responses and avoid Yes/No questions. Add images or screenshots to get pointed feedback on new designs or offerings. 

Work to keep the messaging consistent in these long-form surveys. Ask your marketing team to review it before sending. Customers will be happy to engage and offer their opinion, but they still want to feel like they’re talking to the brand they’ve come to love. Don’t get too clinical just because it’s a survey. 

Typeform is a great option for creating and sending surveys, and they have a ton of templates for gathering feedback. You can customize the templates to align with your brand and create all your own copy. 

3. Add CSAT ratings to each support email

Adding CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) ratings to your support emails offers a simple and natural way to capture customer feedback. Most help desk’s include the ability to turn on CSAT surveys and automatically add them to each email correspondence. 

Since customers are talking to your support team anyway, it’s not a heavy lift to respond to a satisfaction survey baked right into the interaction. This will give you an understanding of how customers perceive your customer service.  

Top Customer Support Tools: Groove for CSAT surveys

After gathering this data, you can make decisions about which types of interactions are helping customers and which ones are souring their experience. Then, get proactive about preventing these issues from arising in the first place. 

For example, if refund requests are constantly causing poor CSAT scores, suggest a better way to execute refunds that doesn’t require going through support. Or, add more messaging up front that sets clearer expectations. 

4. Send NPS surveys at least quarterly 

NPS (Net Promoter Score) measures a customer’s desire to recommend a product or service. Consumers are accustomed to getting these surveys every so often from brands. 

Keep it simple and to the point. You want to gather enough data to make predictions about the future of your business. NPS is directly correlated to growth. 

If people really like what you’re doing, keep doing it! Come out with similar products and stick with current branding. Feel confident upping production or hiring more staff with the NPS numbers to back it up. 

If NPS scores decline overtime, look to the other items on this list to get more information. Send longer surveys to find out exactly what’s causing unhappiness or set up interviews to really go in depth. Adding an open-ended optional question at the end of the NPS survey is another great way to get more context for a poor rating.  

NPS example

5. Regularly respond to online reviews 

Especially in the e-commerce world, reviews make or break a brand. Best practice is to read and respond to all these reviews. Let your customers know that you’re actively viewing and responding to feedback in the most public way possible. 

Start by regularly tracking reviews left directly on your website or Shopify store. Set up notifications to be alerted every time someone leaves a new review. Keep third-party review sites (like Amazon, Google, and Yelp) in mind as well. 

Create a calendar to make sure these reviews never fall out of sight. It’s a public way to prove that your brand cares about customer feedback. 

6. Interview customers for new insights

Interviews require you to devote more time to the feedback process. They are well worth the time and energy if you do them correctly. Treat customer interviews as a form of research and development. 

Explore new messaging, branding, or product offerings by sitting down with real customers and chatting about it. Follow up with as many questions as you need. Record the interview to reference it later. You can even note body language or mannerisms to really get a grasp on how people will respond to your new products. 

Interviews expand beyond quantitative data. Your questions should too. Stay away from Yes/No and multiple choice questions in this format. Bring in visuals and offer plenty of A/B tests or variations to really pull the most valuable information out of your customers and put it back into your business.

7. Use smart tools to automatically track behavior 

Better understand customer behavior with tools like heat maps and tracking apps to see exactly where your customers are engaging with your website. These tools will provide in depth reporting to help you see the most valuable (and most distracting) parts of your online store. 

Find out where they’re clicking, how long they’re scrolling, and what common flows look like from one webpage to the next. This data will help you optimize not only your website and shopping experience but also your product line and even your brand messaging. Sometimes you can even mine data from live chat transcripts or data from interactions with chat bots.

These types of tools offer a ton of value without ever bothering your customers. As an added bonus, they also remove any subjectivity or bias. You get a data-driven way to gather and act on customer feedback without ever talking to a real customer. 

8. Follow up after gathering the feedback 

The most crucial aspect of this whole process is to follow up after getting customer feedback. Think of it like sending a thank you note after a job interview. It’s the right thing to do, you’ll stand out from the crowd, and overall, you’ll leave the whole interaction on a positive note.  

You don’t need to go overboard—a simple thank you email will suffice. If you can give more details or follow up with specific information, that’s great. But frankly, most customers won’t expect it. You’ll exceed expectations simply by saying thank you. 

Next steps: How to use customer feedback at your company 

There’s no shortage of metrics in e-commerce. Tracking customer feedback should be as painless a process as everything else, though. You’ve got dashboards for revenue, inventory, website analytics, and the like that automatically update—simply add metrics like customer happiness, NPS, and survey results to the mix.

Most customer support platforms include the ability to automatically track all these e-commerce customer experience metrics directly within the platform. Your job is to tie customer-related key-performance indicators (KPIs) to these metrics for tracking and improvement. 

e-commerce customer service reporting tools

Aim to increase NPS by testing new messaging, branding, or website design. See if you can improve CSAT by reducing response time. Create tickets in Trello or similar product management tools to communicate customer feedback from surveys or interviews to other departments and incorporate it into your products.  

Combine and monitor bottom-line metrics—like retention, repeat orders, and revenue—alongside your customer data to see correlation and causation. 

Customer feedback is an infinite loop 

To get truly great customer feedback, you must understand it’s an ongoing process. It’s not a one time thing. It’s not a task you complete. Customer sentiment changes, grows, and reverts on an infinite loop. Great customer teams know to watch it closely all the time.   

Customers give you feedback. Your team listens and processes it. That feedback is put into your products. Customers rejoice…and give more feedback! It’s a never-ending loop of customer care.   

Guide to customer feedback

Use these eight methods to help you draw meaningful insights from all your customer interactions.

Every touch point with your buyers opens an opportunity to get more feedback, improve your business, and create healthy long-lasting relationships with your biggest fans. 

Grow Blog
Melissa Rosen

Melissa is a CX Lead and content creator at Groove. Her background spans running customer support at startups to running script changes on live TV shows. Her goal is to help businesses grow by offering practical and actionable ways to improve customer experience.

Read all of Melissa's articles

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