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Survey Says… You’re Not Getting the Right Feedback from Your Customers

by Justin Palmer - January 22nd, 2009

SurveyNearly every business collects feedback from their customers, and rightfully so. Yet something has always bothered me about the way most online businesses elicit customer suggestions and criticism: they usually get it from their best customers.

In other words, the people most likely to give feedback are the people who spend the most money. So what’s the problem with this? Simply put, these are the people who’ll give you the least helpful advice. Let me explain…

Here’s the 2 types of people that volunteer feedback:

  1. the first time customer, who is excited about your products/services
  2. the long time customer, who has an ongoing relationship with your business

Here’s the problem: if we only receive feedback from the paying customers, what is everyone else thinking? After all, if your products suck, or your website is broken, people leave, they don’t hang around to give input.

Here’s 3 types of people you’ll never get feedback from:

  1. The bouncers: These are the people who hit your site and leave immediately.
  2. The lost and confused: These folks are interested, but they can’t figure out your site. Many people in this group adopt a “it’s probably my fault” mentality rather than blaming your website for being confusing. Because they blame themselves, they’ll never tell you when something is wrong.
  3. The unmotivated: This group is somewhat interested, however they need extra motivation to act. Because they are only casual visitors, they probably won’t leave feedback.

The sad truth is that most businesses never truly get the right type of feedback. In other words, they hear only what they want to hear. That’s not to say that they never receive criticism through standard feedback channels, they just never really get a full picture of experiences with their brand.

Here’s the million dollar question: how can you get feedback from people who, well, don’t exactly want to give feedback? How can you possibly listen to those who aren’t talking? Here’s 4 ideas:

  1. Watch your bounce rates: High bounce rates just might be the only feedback you’ll ever get. This is usually a sign of lack of continuity between your ads and landing pages. For example, your ad may over-promise or your landing page may not carry through the theme of your ad.
  2. Preempt visitors with a survey: It can be annoying when you’re greeted with a survey the first time you visit a site, but at times its worth the risk to get priceless feedback. My survey tool of choice is 4Q by Avinash Kaushik and iPerceptions.
  3. Email your inactive customers: You know those customers who haven’t bought from you in ages? Why not email them and ask why they stopped buying? With this group you have nothing to lose.
  4. Put a Feedback Button…everywhere: Don’t just bury your feedback button in the footer of your site, place it in every possible area of confusion. Ask for feedback everywhere, early, and often. For general website feedback, I like Kamplye.

Feedback is the grease that keeps your business moving. More importantly, feedback from the right people is the grease that keeps your business growing. Take some time today to ensure that you’re not just getting one-sided input from your customers.

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5 Responses to “Survey Says… You’re Not Getting the Right Feedback from Your Customers” by Justin Palmer

  1. Mike Says:

    Enoyed your post and bookmarked you for future reading.. Thinking of adding some of your content to my website ZestforMarketing

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