11 ways to encourage customer feedback

EmilyEVC, Avatar

Guest Blog By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing Communications

Encouraging customer feedback is like being faced with the question (or one like it): “Does my butt look big in this?” The questioner wants to know the truth, but they’re dreading the reply.

The same goes with asking your customers for their opinions. You know it’s important. You know it’s going to give your business direction and knowledge. It highlights issues you might not be aware of. It can even give you the opportunity to improve your practices and develop better products and services.

But no one ever wants to hear negative things about themselves or their business.

Well, just as you have to accept, that yes, that outfit is doing nothing for your figure; you need to know what your customers are saying about you.

But how do you encourage customer feedback? How do you overcome apathy and perceived inconvenience? Most importantly, what are you afraid of?

The key, of course, is making it easy for them to share their experiences with you.

The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to hear the voice of your customer. There are a range of professional survey options, that keep you out of the feedback business and in the guest satisfaction business. These services encourage customers to respond with both the good and the not so good.

They are easy to set up, scalable and simple to analyze. And you’ll get results fast. You can add them to emails, your website, SMS text messages, chatbots and even your printed communications.

Remember our top tips for surveys:

  • Keep them short
  • Know what you want to find out
  • Use simple language and short questions
Ways to encourage customer feedback CustomerCount

Top 11 ways to encourage customer feedback

1 Website Feedback Forms

This is a great option for those with minor grievances who don’t want to contact customer services or support teams.  These are the complaints that you might otherwise miss, but are still important. Make sure the form is easy to find, easy to fill in and include all the necessary data protection and legal compliance information.

2 Email

The most popular method for customer feedback today offers a number of benefits:

  • You can follow up after any client interaction;
  • Clients are more willing to give honest reviews privately;
  • Automated systems give great consistency;
  • Easy to manage and reply to responses;
  • Reviews can be distributed to include portals such as TripAdvisor; and
  • The review is authenticated to the user

3 Offer Live Chat

Being available in real time to answer questions, comments and grievances through instant chat is a great way to improve your customer service. Not only can you respond immediately to issues, improving your response times, it provides a personalized experience your customers will be appreciate.

Not available 24/7? It is perfectly acceptable to limit live chat to your resort’s office hours – as long as there’s an alternative system for out of hours.

4 SMS surveys

This is becoming one of the most powerful and increasingly popular channels for feedback with high open rates. A “click” on the link and the survey invitation is there for the convenience of the guest.

5 Telephone them

If your audience is more baby boomer than millennial, picking up the phone and asking for their thoughts is often overlooked. Yes, it is resource-heavy, but it builds relationships, provides great insight and increases customer advocacy. Be aware though, this method requires significant training.

6 Ask them on site at the resort

OK, an obvious one, but giving your customers the opportunity to give feedback at the point of use is invaluable. They know you are taking them seriously. How about a comment and feedback area in reception? Or a business card with feedback options left in their unit or an onsite online option.

Ways to encourage customer feedback CustomerCount

7 FAQ feedback

We all know that Google likes a website to have an FAQ section. That’s why so many sites now have them. But how good are your answers? Find out by getting your customers to rate them. If your answers aren’t hitting the spot, you’ll soon know and you can amend your content.

8 Monitor your social media

Don’t just post and forget about. Read the comments and you’ll find valuable feedback in the form of questions, complaints and praise. And let your fans see you responding to the good and the bad. They’ll appreciate the engagement.

9 Add a feedback request to your Wi-Fi network

If you offer free Wi-Fi to your owners and guests, ask about their experiences while they’re online using the service.

10 Interview them

Want to find out what a particular segment of your customer base is thinking? A more formalized interview, where they are made to feel special and their views truly appreciated, will give you valuable feedback.

11 Offer an incentive

The hospitality industry enjoys significant affinity with their guests, so incentives are generally not required.

Under special circumstances, many of your customers will be apathetic or skeptical about your request for feedback. Some just won’t have the time. So why not offer an incentive in the form of money, discounts or just access to service or product they wouldn’t normally have?

The more ways that you ask for feedback, the more you are going to receive. But make sure that you do something with the data you receive. Look for trends and then dig deeper.

At CustomerCount our WRAP partners can offer a range of services to give you greater insight and help develop reputation-marketing strategies if there are issues.

To find out more about CustomerCount’s survey solutions, give Bob Kobek a call on 317-816-6000 or email him. Alternatively, why not follow CustomerCount on LinkedIn for all our latest news.

Trending: It’s Hard to Argue with History

Matt Morris, Matt Morris

Picture of Marc Carlson small

Trending: It’s Hard to Argue with History
By: Marc E. Carlson
CustomerCountSM Business Relationship Manager

Whether conducting trend analysis on sales, social media, stock price, or the business intelligence received from your customer feedback program, it’s amazing what you can find. I was contemplating where the next good opportunity for me to develop a relationship was and I decided to take a look at my prospect database history to identify what type of message resonated with my prospect(s). Then I took a look at our marketing communications schedule and the results achieved within the world of social media. When overlaying the graphs, a picture began to develop showing me what was working, how it was working, and most importantly why it was working. The same thought process can, and should, be applied to any sized organizations’ customer feedback.

Take a look at the historical data from your Voice of the Customer program and I bet you find a trend, good or bad, that will give you insight on how to position you, your department, division and corporation for continued market penetration. For example, you will see how your customers are changing in the way they want communications from your organization. What marketing messages resonated with particular customer populations and how did they want to buy your services? Were there particular industry events that your business development and sales organizations had success in developing and securing relationships? Consider using trending in your due diligence during strategy planning to support your findings. It is hard to argue with history.

Target Key Accounts with Surveys

Matt Morris, Matt Morris

Picture of Marc Carlson small

Target Key Accounts with Surveys
By: Marc E. Carlson
CustomerCountSM Business Relationship Manager

It is one thing to hear from contacts at key accounts that your organization is satisfying their needs and wants. But do you really think those important contacts are going to openly express their displeasure or ideas for improvement with your sales representative verbally? Most likely not. It is not our nature to feel it is our place to tell a company how they should be conducting business. Generally you only hear about key account issues with your company when receiving notice they are going with a competitor of yours. Now it is too late to survey the key account. To combat this unfortunate situation, employ an annual survey targeting key accounts is a strategic decision allowing your organization to uncover concerns or issues before a competitor gets to your contact and persuades them to switch.

Where oh Where is Our Customer Feedback?

Matt Morris, Matt Morris

Picture of Marc Carlson small

Where oh Where is Our Customer Feedback?
By: Marc E. Carlson
CustomerCountSM Business Relationship Manager

Have you ever worked on a project that would benefit from data from your customer feedback program and not been able to obtain the information or find out who has it? I bet it happens more times than not and you are not alone. Customer feedback data is generally housed in one or two departments within an organization and those departments rarely share this data enterprise wide unless a request is received. Just think how much more efficient your organization would be if customer feedback is on a shared enterprise platform where designated individuals from each department can access feedback to make strategic decisions in a shorter period of time. Review the capabilities of existing vendors helping your organization obtain and report on customer feedback and whether or not the information can be delivered using technology, or an Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) system versus distributing the information via an email or hard copy reports. If your current vendors do not provide a seamless process of driving customer feedback results enterprise wide, I suggest you look for a new vendor so you can continue to maintain market share…because your competitors are looking at this strategy right now.