Being active on social media and mobile, having face-to-face interaction with customers, and building conversations through personalised emails are some key tactics that brick and mortar and online retailers can use to secure customer feedback
Last year, a Palo Alto based company raised close to US $2.5 million through funding. Its product was a mobile application to capture customer feedback; a clear indicator of how and why feedback and simplifying its capturing process is worth big bucks.
Understanding customer feedback is a critical component of revenue generation, as most businesses thrive on repeat customers. It’s easier said than done, especially for brick and mortar companies as compared to ecommerce stores. Because, online portals have the ability to gather instant feedback from customers, using mechanisms such as quick surveys, posts, or review columns that can easily gauge what their customers speak of the product.
Face to Face
First among the most innovative feedback trackers is the ‘How am I driving? Call 1800’ bumper stickers affixed to the bumpers of company representative vehicles. Real-time customer feedback is very hard to come by without a one-to-one interaction. Customers tend to give feedback to someone who they think is empowered to act on it. Brick and mortar retailers can score big here by interacting with customers throughout their entire in-store experience. For instance, trained customer-facing staff is one of the most personalised ways to assess the pulse of the customer.
Customers are increasingly turning to their smart phones and mobile devices to read or write reviews on products. A recent study says 1 in 10 smart phone users have shared a review online. This justifies the burst of mobile apps being deployed by brands to capture feedback, ratings or share feedback amongst friends.
Watch and Listen
As a second, ignoring the social space can mean missed opportunities – plenty of them. You can bet your bottom dollar that a large chunk of your customer base is cruising the social world, checking in and connecting with their network. Thus, you should be at the helm of your social media profiles, constantly monitoring online mentions of your brand, and responding to customer feedback – both good and bad. For an online store, web analytics tools can give reasonable insights on how and why customers behave the way they do on the site. In fact, analytics can also identify, or red flag pages which are in need of immediate attention due to high abandonment.
Personalised Emails and Surveys
Thirdly, ask and you shall receive. On a regular basis, brands can elicit candid feedback from a customer through a personalised email. A customer who has signed up for your newsletter will receive an automated response. This is your first opportunity to inquire if they have any special requests or recommendations for improvement. It provides a powerful platform to address issues and connect with your subscriber. This can also help build conversations with your customers who will be forthcoming on a private, personalised forum. For a more quantitative feedback, deploy surveys with carefully crafted questions or a brief poll that follows proven guidelines in drafting surveys.
Feedback – A Touch Away
How many times have you read the line, “Tell us what you think. Email us at ….” on the purchase receipt you just received from a store? Did you offer a response? Customers usually do not want to take the effort to give you feedback. Major brands fail to capture almost 86 per cent of customer sentiments about their experiences in-store.
So retailers are thinking smart; they’ve installed self-service kiosks and in some cases, pre-configured tablets at POPs that display a quick survey form for customers to fill in when waiting at the checkout. Recent technologies also support voice feedback tools that can capture customer sentiments while they are in the store. Apart from being real time and simple, customers can also immediately share what they think about any aspect of their experience while in the store.
Mobile Is Here To Stay
Lastly, customers are increasingly turning to their smart phones and mobile devices to read or write reviews on products. A recent study says 1 in 10 smart phone users have shared a review online. This justifies the burst of mobile apps being deployed by brands to capture feedback, ratings, share a feedback amongst friends, or invite a review. Mobile feedback tracking is a non-intrusive and effective platform to capture outlook and engage in a continuous dialogue with customers.
Paying attention to what customers are saying can help you make bank. Once the dialogue with your customer has been initiated, it is vital to close the loop on the feedback being given. This could include acknowledging positive feedback with personalised thank you notes or rewarding frequent responders with a ‘loyalist’ discount voucher. You can also coax non-responsive customers with ‘reviewer of the month’ contests that entail public acknowledgement for participation. These baby steps will go a long way in building your credibility among your customers and help position you as a brand that cares.
About the author
Aneesh Reddy is the co-founder and CEO of Capillary Technologies. He believes that advances in technology can lead to significant advances in business value and ROI, products into the hands of the right customers at the right time.