If you’re running a retail business, one of the worst things you can do is to work in a vacuum. While there’s certainly value in keeping your head down, following your instincts and working on your own ideas, you need input from the outside world to continuously grow and improve.
This proves particularly true when it comes to customer feedback. When used correctly, comments, suggestions and even angry reactions from your customers can provide invaluable insights that you can use to improve and develop your products.
Need help on how to do just that? Keep reading. In this post, you’ll learn how you can leverage shoppers’ feedback and input to drive your business forward.
How to Collect Customer Feedback
The first step to getting the most out of your customers’ input is to start collecting it. Establish systems and processes for gathering feedback and make it easy for shoppers to tell you what they think.
Consider the following avenues to collect more authentic customer feedback:
Product Ratings & Reviews
In retail, ratings and reviews are the most straightforward way to get product insights because they tell you exactly what shoppers think about specific items. If you’re not actively collecting reviews, take the following steps to get the ball rolling.
Ask for Reviews
How can you get more reviews? Ask for them. Research from BrightLocal found that 70% of consumers will leave a product review when prompted to do so. For this reason, you might want to set up a process (ideally using an email sequence) that automatically invites shoppers to review their recent purchase.
Macy’s is one example of a retailer that does exactly that. A couple of weeks or so after a customer makes a purchase, Macy’s sends a quick email asking the shopper to rate their item(s).
The email is easy to read, straight to the point and has clear calls-to-action. Even better, Macy’s invites the customer to upload a photo of the product, which helps the company rake in User Generated Content.
Throw in an Incentive
This next step isn’t strictly required, but it’s still highly recommended. If you’re not seeing results with your current efforts to generate product reviews, you may want to throw in an incentive.
Zazzle, for instance, offers up a $5 off coupon in exchange for an honest review. Customers will always ask “what’s in it for me,” and by offering rewards, you increase the overall customer experience.
Make the Process Easy for Customers
You’ve worked hard to get people to click on your emails, the last thing you want is to lose them while they’re on the review page. Prevent that by making the task quick and easy for your customers.
Give your customers the ability to give a star-rating with just a few clicks (or taps if they’re on mobile) and don’t overwhelm them with too many required fields.
Another important tip? Make your review page mobile-friendly. With the majority of emails read on mobile devices, you can lose a huge chunk of potential reviews if your recipients are taken to a page that isn’t optimized for the small screen.
For inspiration on how to execute both of the aforementioned tips, check out what Nordstrom is doing. Aside from being mobile-friendly, the page is also highly intuitive and doesn’t ask for too much information. As a bonus, Nordstrom even includes helpful tips on how to write a good review.
Moderate Your Review Content
Collecting a lot of reviews is a great way to provide shoppers with more trust in your products and to gather insights from customer feedback. However, it’s equally important to moderate the review content to prevent inauthentic and unhelpful reviews.
By no means should you ever delete low-ratings or even negative reviews. In fact, the PowerReviews How to Beat Amazon study found 82% of shoppers seek negative reviews of a product before making a purchase.
This means your positive and negative reviews help drive purchasing decisions–but it’s still important to know what to moderate and prevent fraudulent reviews on your site.
With the help of PowerReviews review moderation features, we offer industry-leading human moderation, paired up with fraud-detecting software, to prevent dishonest reviews from appearing on your site. Our moderation team constantly authenticates our clients reviews to ensure real content displays across the web.
Customer Support Questions & Concerns
Aside from ratings and reviews, the customer feedback questions and concerns fielded by your support team can also be used in product research and development.
While the majority of tickets your customer support reps deal with revolve around order tracking and website issues, they may occasionally get feature requests and comments about your products.
To that end, see to it that you have processes that enable your customer service department to route useful insights to your product team. There are a number of ways to do this.
One option is to give your customer support reps the ability to log relevant product feedback into a shared repository. This can be as simple a creating a Trello board that houses customer feedback and ideas. Trello even has a public board for feature requests that you can use as a guide.
Another option is to automate the process of sending customer feedback to your product team. You can do this using strategic form fields on your website. Set up your form in such a way that when a customer submits a support ticket, their input, if product-related, would be routed to the right team or entered into your repository.
This is a perfect example from ASOS. The company asks users to specify the nature of their question so they can appropriately send the feedback to the right place.
Much like support tickets, social media posts are also an amazing source of product insights. Consumers constantly post about what they wish products or companies would do.
So why not pay attention to what your customers are saying on Facebook, Twitter or any other social watering holes? By doing so, you can gain valuable product feedback that your customers collectively face when using your product or service.
The key to surfacing the right comments is to monitor and route the information correctly. Consider using social media tools that allow you to track certain keywords.
One thing you could do is monitor your product names or categories so you can get notified when someone mentions specific terms on social. From there, your team can look into the posts and log the comments if they’re relevant to your product.
As we mentioned on our Importance of Customer Satisfaction blog, there are several tools you can use to mine your social media feeds. Some of the most popular social listening tools include:
Organizing Your Customer Feedback
Having product feedback from a variety of sources (i.e, reviews, customer support, social media) is great. However, extracting useful information is extremely difficult if the data is all over the place.
You need to syndicate your customer feedback and product questions and reactions in one place where they can be accessed and analyzed. To organize this content, we recommend using project management tool.
The Airtable workflow board is a great option to collect and display large amounts of feedback. Users can easily add rich elements into tables (e.g, attachments, checkboxes, etc.).
Airtable also lets you switch between different views so your customer support team can work within a kanban, calendar or table view. This versatile tool helps organize and automate your feedback process.
Making Sense of the Data
Once you’ve collected and organized customer feedback, it’s time to analyze all the information. The goal at this stage is to spot trends that would enable you and your product team to determine your priorities and deliverables.
The traditional way of going about this process is having team discussions about the feedback that you’ve received (ideally, input from different departments). While such discussions is helpful and productive, there are a number of pitfalls.
For starters, as human beings, you and your team members will likely have preconceived notions and biases that could prevent you from objectively analyzing customer feedback. It’s important to be mindful of these tendencies.
And to ensure your assumptions don’t get in the way, always back up your points with data. That’s why we recommend using Product Pulse.
We might be a little biased, but this feature in PowerReviews’ Intelligence Suite allows brands and retailers to easily collect and dissect critical product information across all review content in a single platform. The insights from review data let companies enhance messaging, physical packaging and address customer feedback, which all help drive traffic and sales.
Your feedback is often coming at you at an extremely fast pace. The challenge is to pick a part the details that will help you achieve your most important product updates.
Want to see it in action? Request a demo today to get started!
Prioritizing & Acting on Feedback
Figuring out what your customers want is one thing, but deciding on how to implement the needed changes and when is a whole new challenge. To tackle it, product teams typically determine their priorities based on the following factors:
- Feasibility: Is a task technically doable given your current resources? Do you have the time and manpower to fully develop a product or improvement?
- Desirability: Is there a real desire for a particular feature or product? Is it something that customers have been asking for?
- Viability: Is the product feature in line with your strategy? Does it support your overall business goals?
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— Dollar Shave Club (@DollarShaveClub) March 12, 2019
The answers to these questions will help validate which aspects of customer feedback to address.
Another exercise is plotting different product or improvement requests on an Impact-Effort Matrix, a graph that looks like a 2×2 grid with 4 sections.
The vertical axis shows the impact level of an item. So, the higher a product or feature request is on the grid, the more impact it has on the the business.
The horizontal axis represents the amount of effort required to implement an action step. Low effort items would sit toward the left side of the grid and high effort ones are on the right.
This tool allows you and your team to visually prioritize solutions based on their business impact and ease of implementation. And in turn, you will have an easier way to decide which items to add to your product roadmap.
Once you’re clear on your product roadmap, it’s time to start implementing. The “right” course of action at this stage depends on the business.
Close to the Loop
You’ve listened to your customer feedback and implemented changes for their requests—great! Now it’s time to close the loop and let them know. Here are some ideas and examples of how you can approach this:
Send an Announcement via Email
Email continues to be the most effective online channel for retailers when making announcements. So craft a message or two informing people that you’ve listened to their feedback and taken action.
When Satya Jewelry released their highly requested rose gold line, the company sent out an email announcing the new pieces. Beautifully designed, the email also had some clear calls to action getting people to check out the new rose gold line.
Notify Specific Customers
If you keep track of the customers making feature or product requests, reach out to them specifically to let them know that you’ve implemented their feedback. This makes shoppers feel more valued and strengthens the relationship and brand loyalty from your best customers.
Don’t Forget About Social
Cover your bases and keep your fans and followers in the loop by posting an announcement of feedback-inspired actions on social media. Just like with email, you’ll want to have a clear call to action, so be sure to include a link leading to the right product page.
Here we can see Disney Family doing a great job about making feedback announcements on social media. Get your customers excited with messages geared toward being proactive.
Mining customer feedback for product insights can be a challenge, as it requires you to collect, organize and analyze shoppers’ input before taking action. With the right tools, the process becomes immensely easier.
If you’re looking to improve your customer feedback strategy, start by evaluating your procedures and systems to ensure that you’re making it easy for your team to manage the questions, comments and concerns from your customers.
And if you need help making sense out of all your customer feedback data, learn ho PowerReviews enables brands and retailers to process review content to gain deeper product insights.