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
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.
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.
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.