Why customer feedback is essential — and the 7 surefire ways to generate it

(Editor’s note: Chartbeat partnered with technology marketplace G2 to provide insights on customer feedback, an increasingly important resource for product teams)

Customer feedback helps you to build a roadmap for future innovation and deliver on your mission and brand promise. In short, it’s crucial to your success.

Any business can go through the motions of bringing a product or service to the market, but smart businesses will understand that listening to their customers should be a priority. Customers are everything. They’re the reason you have the opportunity to sell your product in the first place. And while you may have decent revenue coming in with little to no customer feedback taken into account, you’re more likely to see a spike in revenue (in the form of higher retention, less churn) if this feedback is your business’ north star.

While there are dozens of ways to generate customer feedback , we wanted to distill the seven most effective tactics in this article.

7 ways to generate customer feedback:

  • Social channels
  • Live chat
  • Surveys and polls
  • Email surveys
  • Offer incentives
  • Monitor review sites
  • Website feedback button

Collecting customer feedback can help you understand how your customer thinks and better develop customer personas and tools to better serve them. You may even already have existing data that can assist you in building a strong relationship between you and your customer base. 

Organizations that can leverage the knowledge/data they already possess to make better connections with customers or influencers will improve their reach/brand recognition.

Come along as we outline the seven tops tactics to build an unbreakable company/customer relationship and how to use their feedback to strengthen trust.

Customer feedback: Why is it important?

It’s worth taking a quick step back to understand why product teams spend time and resources on generating customer feedback. First off, getting your hands on authentic customer feedback can prove to be tricky. The buying process doesn’t leave a lot of room for customer feedback post-purchase. And although feedback is out there, it can be scarce, which is why companies go to great efforts to solicit reviews on their products through rating systems that factor into their NPS score

The more you understand your customers, the better you can keep them coming back for more. Finding a slew of negative customer reviews online can be disappointing. But taking it as an opportunity to address your business’ shortcomings will take you further. 

Customer feedback affects your product

Customer reviews are a vital part of a potential customer’s research. As they research your product or service, they’ll turn to the people who have already gone through the buyer’s journey.

Studies show that 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review. Review sites play a significant role in the customer’s buying journey, which is why it’s so important to leverage that information to improve your reputation, customer service, and sales. 

Let’s talk about how you can inspire your customers to share their feedback on a path to building greater loyalty, and ultimately, higher retention rates.

Learn how Chartbeat improves audience engagement from our Director of Product Marketing in this new interview with Website Planet.

How you can generate customer feedback

There is no single way to generate authentic customer feedback. Each and every company will find their own personalized combination of tactics to tap into their customer base. Therefore, we assembled seven ways we think you can show your customers you care about their opinions.

1. Social channels

One channel you can find unsolicited customer feedback is on social media. As a business, you should have at least one platform to communicate with your customers. Whether that be Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, these platforms can be a great place to see what people are saying about your product or service.

Social media monitoring tools (other than, ahem, Chartbeat) can help you in your quest to keep track of your social channels’ engagement into the future. Some of these tools can even monitor your competitors and give you insight into what customers think about other brands. Browse through the top social media monitoring software and find one that works for your business. 

If you’re actively reading comments and replies on social media, it’s imperative to respond to any concerns in a timely manner. No one likes reaching out to a company and getting radio silence. If people start to know your brand as one that responds to almost every concern, they’ll know they’ll be able to get a problem fixed if it arises. This builds trust between you and the customer and proves to them that you care. 

2. Live chat

If you can’t scroll through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all day, the next best thing is to enlist the help of live chat or a chatbot. By implementing live chat onto your website, you don’t need to stress about customers coming to you in the middle of the night, needing assistance. While you and your employees are asleep, the chatbot can answer the customer’s questions and begin to help them with their problem. 

Chatbots can learn the most commonly asked questions and will be able to resolve the most common issues your customers have with your product. When your team comes into work the next day, they’ll be able to see every issue the chatbot received and reach out to the customer to ask about their experience. Using live chat will help you get closer with your customers and understand the product issues that need to be addressed. 

3. Surveys and polls

Sometimes going directly to the source is best. Asking your customers for their feedback through surveys and polls is a great way to get the most authentic responses. People feel less pressure when they are anonymous, which leads to more actionable feedback.

A survey that takes just a few minutes, if that, won’t be a burden to your customers. Use a website survey, an in-app survey, a social media survey/poll, or even a text message survey. 

You can tailor this method of generating feedback to your company’s strengths:

  • Does your brand thrive on Twitter? Tweet out a poll. 
  • Does your website get a significant amount of traffic? Use a pop-up survey. 

Asking your customers to tell you exactly how they feel is the best way to inform how to improve your product and innovate a new one.

4. Email surveys

Using email in your search for customer feedback is another great tactic. You can ask questions directly in the copy of your email template or you can include a poll at the bottom. Asking for their thoughts every once in a while will show that you’re eager to field any and all feedback.

Additionally, you can send out a service survey (typically 3-5 days) after a customer makes a purchase. This survey will typically ask them how they found the buying process, what they liked, and what could be better. Other questions could be:

  • Why they chose your product over others
  • How they found you (online, recommendation, review site, etc.)
  • How they would rate their experience
  • Any additional feedback for you to consider

Note: Don’t forget to reply to your customer’s emails. If they go days or even weeks without a helpful response, they’ll get frustrated and search for another product/company. Responding also gives you the opportunity to speak candidly with them, on a human to human basis. 

5. Offer incentives

People like free stuff. Offering your customers an incentive to complete a survey is a great way to get their feedback. You can offer anything from a discount code to a free book or guide. These incentives will vary based on your industry.

While feedback is sure to be generated with this tactic, be wary. Some customers will fill out a survey with random answers just to get to the incentive so make sure to be on the lookout for this. 

6. Monitor review sites

Another way to seek out feedback is to visit review sites. Regularly.

Review sites will have opinions, ratings, and suggestions that you can take to better your business. Online communities serve as a safe place for customers to share their opinions on products. What you do with this information is crucial. 

While monitoring your online reputation, which may include collecting and addressing negative feedback you may find on these sites, there is a silver lining. If customers visit a review site that has nothing but positive reviews about your company, they’ll be more likely to give your product a try. 

7. Website feedback button

A website feedback button lives somewhere on your website (hopefully on all pages) and collects viewpoints from customers while they are on your site or purchasing a product. Feedback buttons can be placed anywhere on the page, but users are most used to them being in the bottom right corner. 

If a visitor wants to share their feedback, they’ll click on the button and a form or slide-in will appear. These forms usually ask 1-3 questions about how the customer is finding the website’s accessibility. 

Having a feedback button on your website will let your customers know that you are open to feedback of any kind and that you value their opinion. The ease of use is also a plus. If your feedback button is out in the open and easy to find, customers won’t have to click around to find a page where they can leave honest feedback. 

The bottom line on customer feedback

We think about customer feedback a lot. It’s essential for us, but media companies, publishers, or any other content creator can use this feedback to offer better value and align with their mission. This will help them to evolve into creating an even more useful product. 

No matter what kind of feedback you receive, you should always stay in the mindset of the customer not only being right, but heard towards improvement to your products. People want to be heard and if you prove to them that you’re willing to listen, they’ll be much more likely to grow with your brand going forward. 

Alexa Drake is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. Born and raised in Chicago, she went to Columbia College Chicago and entered the world of all things event marketing and social media. In her free time, she likes being outside with her dog, creating playlists, and dabbling in Illustrator.

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