Research Spotlight: Campus Sonar’s Study Into Online Benchmarks for Higher Education Institutions
By Gemma JoyceFeb 15
Published July 18th 2018
It seems like every company out there these days is focused on improving the customer experience. In today’s world where experiences are compared across industries, it is truly one of the only ways to remain relevant with audiences.
For this reason, 72% of companies have made CX innovations their top priority and 63% have pursued technological investments to make it happen.
While technology is certainly the best way to implement changes, the only way to know what changes to make is by gathering good quality customer feedback. After all, you can’t fix something that you didn’t know was broken.
Assembling truly valuable sets of feedback from customers is something that is easier said than done. Marketers are now spending as much as 80% of their day sifting through reports and data just to find a useful insight.
Numbers like this show that simply gathering loads of feedback is not enough – the quality of the data and the insights gleaned from it are the things that really matter.
So, how can you improve the quality of your customer feedback in order to get the information that is important and necessary?
Offline experiences like pop up shops, guerilla marketing methods, and branded events have exploded in popularity recently and helped brands to drastically expand their reach. Everything from restaurants to clothing stores to art shows have been transformed into incredibly unique customer experiences thanks to pop up shops.
These events are not only great for marketing – they can be a prime opportunity to gather meaningful insights on your customers and your business. Nearly one third of customers report that they have attended a pop-up event for the experience, and 39% have gone because of the unique products and services that are offered. This means that the customers who are going are highly engaged and interested in the business or product, making them the perfect candidates for top-notch feedback.
During an offline event, be sure that your sales and marketing team actively seek out engagement opportunities with customers. Ask them questions, note their opinions, and don’t be afraid to see if they have any suggestions for improvement. You can even include a short questionnaire at the checkout station or ask attendees to participate in a short market research survey.
Remember, this is a time for you to see your customers in a “natural” environment, something that many online businesses in particular do not have the opportunity to do. Make the most of it by using it as a time to get closer to your customers and gather honest feedback.
Customer reviews are one of the best resources for feedback, whether it be positive or negative. But gathering this information isn’t always the easiest, especially when you’re a new company with a limited number of customers.
Unfortunately, customers are not naturally motivated to leave a review. Only 28% will leave one after a positive experience, as opposed to 34% after a negative one.
However, 68% of customers report that they will leave feedback if they are asked by the company. This doesn’t have to be complicated and long market research questionnaires – in fact, that is discouraged. Something as simple as an Instagram poll, short email survey, or asking for a star rating through an online review system will probably get you more and better results.
Be polite, not pushy, and make it simple, quick, and reasonable, and your customers will be far more likely to engage and provide the kind of feedback that is needed to guide your next steps.
Although your brand should engage in relevant conversations and respond to negative experiences, doing a little silent observation of online sentiment can be an excellent way to gather valuable consumer feedback. Try reading up on forums related to your industry, the topics that are important, and the questions and pain points that are common within your audience.
Online conversation analysis software is ideal for seeing what customers are actually saying about your brand or industry. Look at the words that are commonly correlated with a mention of your business or product – are they generally positive or negative? Filter through these messages to find the overall sentiment around your brand and look for areas of improvement.
Your customers aren’t only talking about your brand or industry on your website or owned channels, so those places shouldn’t be your only source of feedback. Take a look at what your target audience is tweeting, posting, and discussing more widely in relation to your niche with some social listening to really get a sense of what matters to your customers and prospects.
In order to truly know someone, you must listen to them talk about their interests, concerns, and opinions. The same goes for getting to know your customers. Hear what they have to say and engage in meaningful real-life experiences by hosting offline events that create the opportunity for instant, personal feedback. Start the conversation yourself by asking the questions that you need answered. And, finally, take a step back and listen. Observe online interactions and conversations, particularly about your brand, product, or niche industry.
The only way to improve your brand’s customer experience is by knowing what your customers want, what they like and dislike, and which changes will have a positive impact for them. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that the feedback you gather from your customers is helpful.