4 tips for getting started with collecting online customer feedback

Fast paced organisations are introducing more and more online sales and services. For example, look at the traditional banks that are transforming into IT companies offering virtual services and products. In short, we have ended up in a digital whirlwind in which the “corporate” slowly transforms into a “digital first enterprise”.

All these developments will make it easier for consumers to manage their affairs online. You could almost say there is a “self-service generation” evolving in which case the “middle man”, whether this is a bank employee or a taxi dispatch centre, is no longer conceivable for a certain group of consumers.

Offering online self-services are complex backend processes via a seamless UX friendly interface where consumers go through a flow in order to get “something” done. But how does an organisation know what went right or wrong during an online process? How do you distinguish the actual digital customer experience? Customer feedback plays a crucial role and will become even more important for the online marketer of a digital first enterprise. For those who are starting with listening to the voice of the (online) customer here are some tips on how to get started with collecting customer feedback through your websites and apps:

1. Online feedback is not a button

Meanwhile I have been active in the world of online customer feedback for more than 7 years and I have had the pleasure of advising various organisations in this respect. One thing that surprised me back then and still does to this day, is the focus on the look and feel of a feedback form and button.

For sure, it is important that a form and button blends in with your website or app, but that’s mostly eye-candy. Feedback is not a button, but a strategic choice to include the voice of the customer in optimising the online service. That means first determining the purpose for which you want to collect your feedback, what do you want to know, which questions will you ask, which metrics will you use and how will you deal with the actions resulting from feedback within your organisation?

Try to formulate exactly what you want to achieve with the feedback and what is needed to that end.

Without having thought this through, collecting online customer feedback will never go beyond that great little feedback button on your website.

2. Be relevant

Ask any marketer about the “holy grail” of advertising and most likely the word “relevant” pops up. Also for collecting online feedback relevance is a must. By this I mean asking the right questions at the right time. This relates to the purpose for which a customer visits a website or uses an app. Of course, you never know in advance exactly what that purpose is, but you do know what a client can do online through your digital channels. Tune your questions in line with that.

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It makes little sense to ask for general feedback. For example, when someone pulls out in step 2 of the ordering process. It is at those moments you want to know why someone pulls out. The same applies to content pages or the use of specific tools. Tune asking for feedback around what you can achieve on these pages. Is it to identify content or to establish whether the information is sufficient? If someone is trying to calculate something, ask for feedback as to the use of the tool.

The more relevant your question is and the more it fits with what the customer is trying to achieve through your website or app, the more useful the feedback will be.

3. Data is a commodity

With an overdose of online feedback tools that only focus on data collection (collecting feedback) you can easily obtain a licence. These popular DIY form- and survey builder tools make it relatively easy to quickly start gathering online feedback. This kind of data collection will probably be more than enough for smaller organisations, but for an enterprise with multiple online processes that is not the challenge. After all, you can create a form asking for feedback with your CMS. The challenge is not so much to collect feedback, but how to turn it into information.

If you’ve properly accomplished the first tip then it will also quickly become clear what kind of feedback tool best suits your needs. Also ask yourself, “Do I want to gather customer feedback or do I want “actionable insights” in order to improve online processes?” That is an important distinction, because data collection tools only collect feedback but do not analyse the data. Unless you can invest a lot of time in going through and textually analysing all feedback items, a flat data collection is not ideal for enterprises.

Customer feedback data is complex in the sense that it is a combination of open text with quantitative scores that is related to a specific online process.

Still with me? If you receive feedback from an ordering process then you would like to see the learnings for that specific part of the website. Things like role-based dashboards (feedback at process level), text analysis and action management are important functions. So it is best to determine exactly what kind of tool best fits your goals, but even more so, your ambition.

4. Think big, start small

Ok, you know exactly why and how you want to collect online feedback. You have chosen a tool but now it is time to involve the internal organization. Tricky, because when everybody gets involved in the process you know that it may take longer than anticipated.

Tip: Start with a defined process. Getting started with online feedback is about the acquisition of learnings and improvements.

In order to achieve this you need to choose a process that has volume (number of visitors) and can directly establish an ROI. An ordering process lends itself ideally for a first feedback encounter. There are a lot of visitors and the problem is clear: Why do visitors pull out of an order process?

Another reason why exactly the ordering process is interesting relates to the results you can derive. So many things can go wrong during the conversion process and this is not always reflected in your web statistics. Yes, you can see how many people drop out, but not why. The moment someone reports by providing feedback that something goes wrong then you not only have an insight of what went wrong but you can instantly do a follow up and ask for their contact information. These are, in fact, again leads that would normally be lost but now provide immediate revenue.

By starting small you can gain knowledge and feeling from the insights you obtain relatively quick. Make small improvements and monitor the impact on the customer metrics that you have chosen. Be especially proactive in sharing those insights, because at the moment a customer says something everyone is listening. By doing so the internal organisation will automatically follow. Success!

Stay informed of the latest developments and trends as to online customer feedback. In our next blog we will discuss the choice of key customer metrics (CES, NPS, CSAT etc.) that you can use for your online feedback program. Stay tuned!

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