Everywhere you make a purchase, online or in person, it seems as if you are asked to provide feedback. Some brands offer chances to win cash prizes, while others offer discounts. Some fast food places even entice people with food. It certainly seems as if you cannot make a purchase anywhere without getting a reminder on your receipt to go online and complete a survey about your experience. All of this is done to get people to complete surveys or provide other forms of feedback. Businesses do this because getting honest reviews and Contact Users Directly Sometimes, personalized follow-up can be more useful than the results you get from posting a generic survey. If a person has spent money buying your products or services, they will likely respond better to an email or phone call with questions that specifically relate to their experience. This will help you to gather user input that is more meaningful than you would by using a survey or poll. Your customer will also appreciate the personal approach. If you have too many transactions to contact each customer directly, you might consider buying an email marketing package. These often have an automated means of sending out a follow-up email after a purchase has been made. You can simply write the email thanking them for their purchase and ask for any thoughts or feedback that they might have for you. Make Providing Feedback as Easy as You Can If you’ve ever taken the time to answer one of those surveys that they advertise on the back of your receipts, you know what a pain it can be. In many cases, people are expected to enter in long codes and lots of other personal information. Then, once they are in the survey, they often have to navigate through a bunch of questions, many that don’t apply to their experience. You may get better results if you streamline the process as much as possible. For example, you might be able to provide an easier login for people who are members of your rewards club. Here are a few other suggestions. Don’t force users to check “NA” on questions that do not apply. Just let them move on. Display one question per page with large, easy to click response buttons. Ask open-ended questions. It helps users who find it difficult to categorize their responses in terms of letters and numbers. Collect the bare minimum of information up front. If you would like to collect further information, you can ask for that at the end of the survey. If the customer opts out of providing it, at least you will have the responses you need. Remember that it is better to get a small amount of information from your customers that is useful than it is to have them drop out of a survey because they are frustrated. Include Only Questions That Are Relevant to You Be selective about the questions that you ask. Consider keeping your surveys short by gathering only information related things you plan to address within the next 6 months to a year. You could also focus your questions on items that have already been identified as a possible concern. For example, if you’ve gotten customer complaints related to shipping, asking for feedback on that topic can help you to further pinpoint where the problem might be. It’s also important to remember that the more questions you include, the more likely customers are to become irritated and click away, or just rush through the questions. This is one of the most important mistakes to avoid when gathering information. Use Feedback Boxes in Places Where Your Customers Are Already Providing Information Many people don’t want to be bothered to answer a bunch of questions in a survey, but they might be willing to answer a single question relating to something that they are currently doing. You can take advantage of this by inserting feedback boxes in strategic places on your website. For example, if a customer is on your checkout page, you could add a box for them to provide feedback on their experience shopping on your eCommerce website. In addition to this, if you keep your forms short overall, you can often add an extra field with a marketing question without getting any negative reaction. Use Analytics to Measure Behavior You don’t always have to ask for useful feedback. You can get a lot of meaningful information simply by analyzing user behavior. Information such as bounce rates, video views, data gathered from heat maps, etc. is extremely valuable. You can use this information to determine what content is working well for you and what is not. This data is also useful for improving user experience. Go to The Places Where Customers Are Already Giving You Feedback If you have an online presence, your customers are probably already expressing their opinions on your products and services. For example, if you have registered your business on Google My Business, chances are your customers are leaving reviews there. You can also check Yelp and other review websites to get an overall idea of customer sentiment. Of course, you should also pay attention to your own social media feeds. Many customers will bypass your internal customer service and address issues they have directly on Facebook or Twitter. Finally, consider signing up for Google alerts using the name of your company as the trigger. Doing this will cause you to receive an email when something is posted online about your business. Conclusion Your customers are full of valuable information that you can use to improve your website, your products, and your policies and procedures. If you use the steps listed above, you can improve your likelihood of getting valuable feedback from them without irritating them or getting rushed answers. Images: ” Business quality service customer feedback, rating and survey keys with smiling face symbol and icon on computer keyboard. / Shutterstock.com“ ____________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.