This is a guest post by Jimmy Rodriguez, COO & Co-founder of 3dcart.
While in the throes of starting an online store, it can be easy to find oneself lost in the day to day tasks associated with running a business. Product descriptions, order processing, individualized gift wrapping, etc. These tasks, and more can consume the average small business owner and in doing so cause them to sacrifice one of the most important aspects of their business: customer feedback.
This is an area that business owners can’t afford to ignore. According to e-commerce statistics, more than $62 billion is lost annually. The cause? Poor customer service. Thankfully, that can be fixed.
We’ve found that businesses that are considered to have excellent customer service are not just businesses that communicate with their customers, but they are businesses that allow their customers to communicate with them.
Opening doors of communication provide your businesses with a vital tool for success: customer feedback. Opening the doors of communication with your customers may require using applications to track analytics, (check your e-commerce platform for available tools), or it can be as basic as manually connecting with your individual customers.
Our 5 favorite ways to compile customer input
1. Live Chat Support.
We love using live chat support as a feature to gather customer feedback. First off, it’s instantaneous. It gives you immediate feedback in regards to what your customer is struggling with. Are they asking if you have a product? Maybe they are having difficulty navigating your site. Are they asking about shipping costs? You may need to relocate that information so that it is more accessible. Customers can tell you what they need, as they need it. Plus, real-time support tells your customer that their business is valued.
Pro tip: Record chat support conversations in order to review them at a later date and evaluate them for trends.
2. Exit Surveys.
This is a handy little way to find out why your potential customer is leaving your site. These little survey’s pop up when your customer attempts to leave the website. Typically acknowledged to be short and sweet, you can ask the customer to briefly describe why they are leaving the page, or ask them to choose from a multiple-choice selection.
Pro tip: Give your customers a multiple-choice option for leaving the page (i.e.: Couldn’t find what I was looking for, Found product at a better price, etc.) Then provide the customer with the option to choose “other” and fill in the blank. The brevity will encourage customer response, and give you an idea why conversion fails.
3. Order Thank You Survey.
A quick way to get immediate feedback is to add a single question to your point of sale. You can have it at the bottom of the order confirmation page, or as a pop-up once the transaction is complete. Like the exit survey, you’ll want to keep this brief. Unlike the exit survey, this one is all about how satisfied they are with their transaction.
Pro tip: As your customer to rate their transaction on a scale from 1-10, with an area for comments below. These days, customer experience is a priority for consumers, as reported by Forbes. Using the 1-10 scale you get a quantitative look at how solid the customer experience is for your customer (at least through checkout.)
4. Monitor Social Media.
This one goes without saying, but monitoring your social media accounts is a great way to see how satisfied your customers are. People love to complain about businesses on social media, and reviewing that may give you insight to problems your customers are having with your company. In the event of a negative review, you have the ability to change the narrative by replying in a professional and helpful way.
Pro tip: You can use different applications and programs to monitor social media networks for mentions, but don’t forget to sign up for google alerts! Google alerts are free and will notify you when your brand or business is mentioned in the media.
5. Email Feedback Requests.
Email is one of your best friends when it comes to getting feedback. It’s tried and true, and reaches consumers of all ages and demographics (to include those that don’t use social media). You can send customers a request for feedback after they’ve visited the site, after they have made a purchase, or if they haven’t visited for a while.
Pro tip: To sweeten the deal and encourage your customers to fill out your (brief) survey, throw in a coupon or some downloadable content for completing the survey. Also, be sure that you aren’t soliciting positive reviews, instead ensure that your customer feels that your request for feedback is sincere.
Gathering customer feedback, reviewing site analytics, and engaging with customers on social media channels are all ways to gather the information about the overall customer experience, but gathering the information isn’t going to do the work for you.
The reality is, once you have this information available to you, you have to plan for action. It’s irresponsible, and a waste of time and money, to gather that information and not make changes as necessary. Compile the data, make a list of the areas that your customers frequently mention, and create actionable change around those areas. Doing so will demonstrate your commitment to your customers, and set your business apart.