You know that moving toward people-based or customer-based marketing involves analyzing customer feedback at every touchpoint a customer has with your organization. This type of customer data will help you determine what customers want from your organization, overcome customer service challenges and do the type of personalized marketing that customers today demand.
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Gathering customer data requires a careful approach to asking your customers for information without driving them away.
When to Gather Data
Ideally, you’d like to get feedback from your customers whenever you have contact with them. However, that’s not realistic, so choose times when it will be easy for your customers to interact with you. For example, if you want feedback on the clarity of one of your help web pages, the best time to obtain it is while the customer is looking at the page.
You’ll get much higher-quality feedback if you talk to a user while they’re trying to understand the information they’ve been presented. In addition, this would be a good time to use your chat facility to contact the user directly.
Another driver for gathering information should be when you see a trend in customer behavior. For example, assume your web statistics indicate that customers are leaving a page you think is particularly useful in the first three seconds. That’s an excellent time to respond to that issue by asking for customer feedback. You may get information that will help you solve a critical customer problem.
Approaches for Gathering Customer Feedback
There are a number of ways you can reach out to your customers. Analytics programs do some information gathering automatically. Other approaches require that you gather information to feed into your systems for analysis.
Tracking Customer Activity
Technology today allows you to gather quite a bit of information without asking directly. Systems are available that can gather information on a per-customer basis from social media, interaction with your customer service or sales team and purchasing histories, to name a few. This is certainly the easiest way to gather meaningful customer data.
Today, online surveys are easy to use. You can email a survey to a select group of customers, tally their answers and analyze the results. If you plan to use surveys, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Keep surveys short: A survey that includes five questions is ideal, and it’s never a good idea to use more than 10 questions. People completing surveys tend to rush through their answers if the survey takes too long.
- Only ask questions that provide you with actionable information: Don’t be tempted to throw in one more question in case you get useful feedback. Questions like “Are you happy with our service?” aren’t helpful. Instead, use questions that start with who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Don’t combine issues into one question: The question “Do you enjoy skiing and bike riding?” will never give you the information you need.
Feedback Boxes or Cards, Web Chat
You should have a formal process for obtaining feedback from your customers. If your customers frequent your website, you can use feedback boxes. The call to action could be something like: “How could we improve this page?” or “Did this page provide the answer to your question?”
If you want specific feedback, assign some of the people staffing the web chat to focus on greeting customers and starting a conversation to get feedback on a particular issue. If your customers visit you in person, the use of feedback cards can be helpful.
How to Get Started
Start small with targeted audiences. Are you gathering specific information as opposed to general feedback? Then, it’s important to ask the right questions of the right audience. You need to identify a small, targeted group of customers to get feedback you can act on.
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