The business landscape is slowly changing and evolving. As more people are getting inspired to be more entrepreneurial, we see a plethora of business ventures mushrooming everywhere. While it is great to see society advancing to become more innovative, it also means that competition is getting tighter. When ideas can be borrowed, tweaked, and then marketed as something new, what will make a business truly stand out and be sustainable?
Before we answer, let us digress a little and zoom out on the question at hand: What makes anything truly stand out and be sustainable in the age where everything - even the arts - can be replicated by artificial intelligence?
The human touch. Similarly, a business can only survive with the simplest supply-and-demand model; so from what - or more appropriately - from whom, do we get the demand? That’s right, the people, aka the customers.
Hence, this article delves into why customer feedback is important, methods to obtain customer feedback, and what to do with all the feedback gathered.
Why is customer feedback important?
Customer feedback is essential because it is the main form of assessment to know how well your business is doing. It’s ruthless and unfiltered, but it helps companies understand the needs, preferences, and expectations of their target market.
That is not to say businesses should twist and bend their models to fit into specific moulds; but when they obtain feedback from customers, businesses get to better identify the gaps in their operations and areas that require improvement. They will know what customers prioritise, and be able to channel their energy into focusing more on what matters most.
Methods of Obtaining Customer Feedback - Types
1. A Custom Feedback Form
This is perfect for businesses that are more flexible with the business model, and are open to refine the business approach. Usually, the forms contain long-answer questions that are broader in topics so that customers may give as much input as they want - be it suggestions and opinions, the comparisons with other competitors, the must-haves to ensure their return, and so on.
2. A Customer Feedback Survey
Surveys are generally more clear-cut and straightforward. Businesses that already have a firm understanding of what they provide would benefit from a simpler yes-no survey to gauge customer satisfaction. Not so that they could change their models to suit their needs, but to know to which demographic their business appeals the most. Once they know what is the strongest market, they can better develop plans to focus on retaining and reaching out to the target customers.
Both methods are great for different reasons, so determine which type suits the nature of your business best, and then start working to design the feedback based on the chosen method. A simple rule-of-thumb would be to keep the questions open-ended if you are looking for a more in-depth and thorough review; and keep them concise and straightforward if you want feedback on specific areas.
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Methods of Obtaining Customer Feedback - Channels
Now it is time to circulate the feedback forms and surveys so you reach a wider audience and gather more data to make well-informed decisions. You can choose to do any, if not all, of the following:
1. Online surveys: Perhaps the most common way of circulating is to send them out in email ads, social media ads, or website pop-ups. The pool of participants for this would be more random, you would have more information, but it will take a longer time to vet through.
2. On the website: Placed on the website to gather feedback from visitors of the site, this customer feedback system will get you more new potential customers, as they must have either known about your business, or are looking for something your business can provide.
3. In-person feedback: This would require more resources, mainly manpower; which can be tricky because not everyone is familiar with the general customer feedback policy, or how to ask the right questions in the right manner. However, if enough effort is put in, this would gather the most useful and accurate information, because as mentioned before, nothing really beats the human touch when it comes to communication.
4. Reviews: To retain customers who have made a purchase, having a space for them to voice out their thoughts on the product and service would help. The important part is how you respond to those reviews, which will be discussed in the later segment.
Circulating the feedback forms and surveys to customers might be hard as customers are sometimes reluctant to spend time answering your questions. So give something back in return for their time. Corporate branded gift cards make a good token of appreciation and help get your brand name out in the wider market.
It is as simple as sending an electronic gift card to customers who have submitted their forms, or rewarding a returning customer with online gift cards once they’ve submitted a review. All you have to do is reach out to a gift card shop to help set up the types of incentives you’d like for your business such as corporate prepaid cards, corporate services gift cards, corporate visa gift cards, depending on your preferences.
Customer Feedback Analysis
With so much information collected, how do we proceed with deriving actionable insights?
1. Categorise and identify trends: Group the answers into categories such as positive, negative, and neutral.
2. Prioritise: Not all data is useful. Sort out the answers based on its impact on the business, such as the number of customers affected and the severity of the issues raised.
3. Identify trends: Look at the patterns and identify the areas where improvement is needed the most. Continue to enforce what is praised the most, and find solutions to the bigger problems that most customers have with your product or services.
4. Closing the loop: Once you have made the changes based on the given feedback, follow up with the customers over time to compare the changes in customer satisfaction and assess if your solutions actually worked.
Incentivising Customer Feedback with Corporate Gift Cards
As previously mentioned, businesses can show appreciation for customers’ inputs by incentivising them with digital gift cards online. GIFTA provides businesses with the platform to tailor the best corporate gift cards. If you’re just starting out and unsure of which kind to get, we would be happy to guide you through some of the popular corporate gift card ideas to find one that best suits your needs.
You can even add a touch of sincerity by personalising custom corporate gift cards, which would be highly appreciated by customers knowing that their opinions are valued. They might be more motivated to submit a review that will boost your sales; or even get their friends to participate, allowing your brand name to spread! Corporate e-gift cards are also a great way to entice new customers to purchase your products and services because they are ‘discounted’.
If you’re looking to start growing your business by collecting as much feedback from customers as possible, get a headstart with GIFTA - a home to a variety of Australian gift cards online where you can easily manage your gift cards for your businesses.
Click here for more information on how to buy gift cards online with GIFTA, and our team will be happy to help!