It is difficult to find any company that doesn’t have some form of the claim “we value our customers.” Rightly so. Customers are essential drivers of growth. It is no longer enough to create a great product or service. Businesses also need to listen to customers every step of the way.
There are two types of customer feedback:
- Solicited Feedback: This is the customer feedback you ask for. For example, simple question customer surveys are sent via email after a purchase or service ratings after a customer service interaction. Web analytics like session replays or heatmaps may also be considered indirect forms of feedback. They provide insight into how customers interact with your website. POWR’s Hit Counter helps web admins track and display visits for any web pages.
- Unsolicited Feedback: This is customer feedback you don’t reach out for. These include comments on social media, Google reviews, product or service questions, error reports, and complaints lodged through customer service.
Customer feedback is an excellent indicator of how they feel about your brand. But it can do more than that. Learn how your e-commerce business can get the most out of customer feedback.
1. Use it to get new leads and drive brand loyalty
Unless your brand is terrible, you have happy customers. Why not use them to generate new leads and improve loyalty to your brand simultaneously? Leveraging existing customers is one secret to expanding your target audience.
Setting up a referral program encourages customers to promote your business, where they’ll receive incentives in exchange for leads. These programs increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. Streamlining the sharing process makes it easier for customers to spread the word and for the business to identify loyal customers.
The Youfoodz referral program offers a dual reward with value for both the referrer and the referee. A personalized link seamlessly tracks the referral process.
Where referral programs are designed to attract potential customers, loyalty programs are designed for customer retention.
Mega fast-fashion retailer, Shein, has different ways for customers to earn points toward future purchases. One of these ways is rewarding customers with five points for reviews on every confirmed purchase. Ten points if the review comes with a picture.
Giving feedback isn’t fun for customers. It takes time away from things they’d rather be doing. Plus, it’s not something they have to do. Offering incentives like free shipping or discounts on future purchases makes the time invested in taking surveys worth it.
2. Tap into social proof
Social proof revolves around the idea that people will be convinced to try something simply because others like it. It is based on the social phenomenon of conformity.
According to Invesp's research, 90% of online customers read reviews before buying something. Interestingly, people trust reviews from strangers as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family. Trust is an essential factor of social proof. More so when dealing with negative feedback.
You can’t avoid negative reviews. You definitely shouldn’t ignore or delete them. But how you respond to unhappy customers can be an opportunity to build trust. When customers see that you are transparent and value customer opinion, it creates a positive brand image and increases confidence in the business.
Placing positive reviews on product and landing pages is effective for lead conversion but don’t leave it at that. Sharing customer feedback on social media channels can also help generate more leads.
Source: Cosrx Instagram
Beauty brand Cosrx uses the highlights section of Instagram to broadcast what customers are saying. Sharing review posts, before and after pictures, and skin routine videos people have tagged them in is a powerful social proof of the product's value. Consider using a similar technique for your brand.
3. Understand the language of your audience
One of the lessons you can apply from search engine optimization (SEO) is the importance of understanding the language of your target audience. To rank well on Google or Bing, keywords in website copy must match the words people type in their online searches. Similarly, your product descriptions need to match the words your customers use so they can find what they are looking for.
Therefore, one easy way to improve the discoverability of your website and products is by analyzing customer feedback. Look at the keywords and phrases your customers use when talking about your product or services. Then, use those keywords in your content.
Identifying those keywords and phrases will also help you create compelling copy that resonates with your audience. That can translate into higher conversion rates.
A/B testing product pages (product title, product description, description layout, even product image) will help you discover what’s working and what’s not. If you’re using technical jargon or colloquialisms, you may be isolating large segments of your customer base.
4. Convert your happy customers to brand advocates
Any business can have brand advocates. You need to convert satisfied customers into advocates to spread the good word.
Brand advocates are different from brand ambassadors. Ambassadors are paid, while advocates are not. That is not to say that brand advocates are less potent at building an audience for you. These days customers prefer authenticity over salesmanship. The best way to tap into this is with people who genuinely love your brand.
Turning happy customers into brand advocates starts with identifying them. Brand advocates have to love your brand and be vocal about it. These customers give great reviews, complete surveys, comment, and share on social media. Court them.
Here are some tactics you can use to engage potential brand advocates:
- Reach them with personalized communication. Mention their names and send thank-you notes and celebratory messages with unique offers on their birthday or anniversaries.
- Asking for written or video testimonials. These can be featured on your website or social media pages or their social media pages.
- Use purchase history to create a targeted campaign. Offer upgrades for purchased services or recommend new products.
- Engage them on social media. Initiate conversations. Respond to their comments.
Brand advocacy is powerful. The growth potential is exponential.
5. Give your customer more of what they like
Have you ever considered incorporating customer feedback in your product development phase? Lego has.
Source: Lego Ideas
In 2008, the company launched Lego Ideas, where fans can submit ideas for Lego products. Designs that pass the review process are turned into commercial products. Designers receive a royalty.
Customer feedback is a valuable resource for product innovation. It offers insight into whether your product or service aligns with your target audience's current and future needs/expectations. By listening to your customers, you can focus resources on developing products or services that meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
Specifically, integrating customer insight in product development will help you:
- Identify features and functionalities customers don’t like
- Give insight into how customers are using your product or service
- Discover ideas for product improvement
- Highlight development investments that won’t work
Sometimes you’re too involved in a product to see its imperfections. It is essential to know what your customers like. After all, the product is made for them.
6. Use the feedback to improve customer experience
Customer experience isn’t limited to products and services. It’s the entire customer journey: marketing email, social media interactions, website user experience, response rates to customer issues, etc. Every point of contact with your brand is part of the customer’s experience.
Understanding how customers engage with your brand is key to improving customer satisfaction. Analyzing customer feedback is a necessary component of understanding the customer journey. The insights from this feedback can tell you where your brand needs to improve to deliver a better customer experience.
However, not all customers talk about what they don’t like about a brand. Some abandon it for another. That’s where indirect customer feedback in the form of metrics comes in.
eCommerce customer experience metrics can help you identify the cracks customers are falling through. They also help you formulate the type of feedback questions that yield precise answers.
Some important eCommerce metrics you should look at are:
- Customer Effort Score – measures how hard or easy it is to complete a task
- Cart Abandonment Rate – measures how many people don’t complete an online order
- Customer Churn Rate – measures how many people stop using your product or service
Not all customers tell you where your brand is failing to meet expectations. Many simply find other brands. Indirect customer feedback offers valuable insights.
Making customer feedback work for you is the key to maintaining and growing your business. You can do that by following the six tips discussed here: use feedback to get leads, leverage social proof, understand the language of your customers, and convert happy consumers who leave good feedback into brand advocates. Use the feedback to create better products and improve the customer experience.
Collecting actionable feedback can establish your brand as the go-to standard. Please make the most out of feedback, and your brand will be well on its way to success.
Allie is the Head of Content at Omniscient, a marketing agency that works with SaaS brands. Before working with Omniscient, she spent five years as a freelance writer and then joined the content team at HubSpot, where she worked for nearly three years. She has contributed to more than 100 high-converting articles for HubSpot and collaborated with the folks at Entrepreneur, Hotjar, and Foundr. Her words are bookmarked by entrepreneurs, small business owners, and digital marketers worldwide.