Customer feedback is critical for any business that wants to succeed in today's competitive market. Without recognizing the need for improvement, many companies remain stagnant, slowly fading away from consumers' minds.
Thanks to evolving technologies, collecting instant customer feedback is simpler than ever. However, to really benefit from this data, companies must understand the information and implement appropriate changes to ensure ongoing improvements in their business operations.
What is Instant Customer Feedback?
Whether one chooses to write a review on a business's website, Yelp, or via a third-party platform (such as Angie’s List), we are all familiar with how customers provide feedback. However, most individuals who take the time to post feedback write about their negative experiences.
According to Review Trackers, "A consumer is 21 percent more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one." Those who have a positive experience are less likely to leave a review but are more likely to revisit the business. However, only one out of every 26 customers is likely to voice their complaints; the majority of patrons will simply take their business elsewhere.
To help improve the odds of receiving responses from customers who have had a positive experience, businesses are relying on new methods to capture feedback instantly. Instant customer feedback, or real-time customer feedback, "[allows] businesses to ask questions or survey customers immediately after an interaction." This information allows business owners to understand what their customers think and feel immediately following a transaction. It reduces the time between the experience and the review, ensuring the data aligns with real-time interactions.
How Can I Collect Instant Customer Feedback?
Methods for collecting instant customer feedback vary according to business models. For example, operating an e-commerce store offers business owners more opportunities to collect feedback than running a restaurant. Therefore, businesses must identify the option that is best suited for their needs. Here are some standard methods for collecting instant customer feedback.
Collecting Instant Customer Feedback Online
It is simple to collect instant customer feedback via an online survey with today's web design features. These surveys are prompted at specific times during a user's interaction with a website. For example, if a user purchases an item online, the company might initiate a survey after payment but before receiving the receipt.
It is important to strategically place the survey so the user is compelled to respond. For example, if the survey appears at the very end of an experience, users may skip it because the interaction, in their mind, has already ended. However, if prompted throughout the experience, users may want to continue engagement with the site and complete the survey. Timing varies depending on the products and services offered.
The questions included in the survey are also critical. Users should want to answer questions that make them feel "heard," while businesses want to ask questions that can help them improve operations. According to HelpScout, "If you want customers to follow through on completing a survey, make sure you follow some simple best practices: (1) Only ask questions that help you meet your goals. (2) Write thoughtful, open-ended questions. (3) Create consistent rating scales. (4) Avoid leading or loaded questions."
Collecting Instant Customer Feedback In-Store
Brick-and-mortar locations are even more challenged when it comes to collecting information. Due to the organic nature of engagement, the opportunity for prompting customers to offer feedback is limited. Businesses need to implement creative ideas to collect responses.
The most prominent avenue for collecting data in-store is via digital signage. Digital signage is a content distribution system that offers interactive experiences. It can display static images or videos, but it can also be used to engage customers.
Self-checkout technology leverages digital signage to help customers pay for goods and services without requiring the assistance of an employee – this solution is found in various settings, including grocery stores and restaurants. Companies that use self-checkout technology can integrate a survey into the payment process to collect real-time feedback.
If companies seek feedback during a customer's actual in-store visit, they may want to consider a solution such as Ombori Grid's Endless Aisle. The Ombori Endless Aisle is a digital sign that allows customers to interact with the store while they are on the premises. They can use it to search for items in the store or order items online when they are not immediately available.
When customers are not using the software, they see an engaging screen that displays loops of promotional offers, announcements, or instructions. This type of technology allows businesses to prompt customers to complete a survey at any point during the interaction.
For more effective use of in-store solutions, it is best to rely on those that integrate with mobile devices. For example, Ombori consistently operates via an omnichannel approach: QR codes enable customers to download product information or coupons to their phones. This encourages them to make a purchase later, even if they do not buy anything in the store. Additionally, this technology may be used to prompt customers to complete a survey immediately on their phones.
Collecting Instant Customer Feedback via Social Media
The average user spends 145 minutes per day on social media, offering businesses endless opportunities to collect customer feedback. To collect this data, businesses can turn to numerous platforms – including Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Tic Tok. The selected platform often depends on the audience a business is trying to reach. Furthermore, each platform offers its own opportunity for customer feedback.
For example, Instagram allows businesses to implement survey questions directly through a user's IG story. When viewers see the question, they can simply answer it with the touch of a button. These surveys, however, are limited to short-form answers. There is limited opportunity for open-ended answers or extended feedback.
On the other hand, Twitter must draw a user's attention long enough to prompt them to click on a link to a survey. It is reported that tweets with attached images, on average, receive up to 18% more clicks than ones without. So, a best practice is to include images to engage an audience.
However, every social media platform is different. Businesses seeking an opportunity to collect customer feedback should not overlook other available technology.
Additionally, businesses should link social media platforms to their websites and prompt customers to engage in post-interaction purchases. For brick-and-mortar stores, implementing an omnichannel approach can help them connect with customers on social media outlets.
Analyzing Instant Customer Feedback
Traditionally, pen-and-paper surveys have been used to collect customer feedback. This information is then reviewed by management, and changes are adopted based on the findings. However, this method is sorely outdated. Not only does it require personnel, but it results in financial loss due to required resources.
Today, instant customer feedback relies primarily on technology. Data is collected via a digital platform, which allows the software to analyze and summarize findings. Very little human intervention is required.
More sophisticated tools, such as Ombori Grid Endless Aisle, can provide greater insight. Using Ombori Endless Aisle, businesses can mount a camera on devices to collect analytics based on users' approximate age and gender, their shopping trends, and more.
Using Instant Customer Feedback to Improve Business Performance
Collecting customer feedback is only step one in the process. Once this data is collected and analyzed, businesses need to utilize it effectively by making changes to their operations. Fifty-three percent of shoppers believe their feedback does not go to anyone who can actually act on it. Therefore, businesses need to review all feedback and see it as an opportunity for improvement.
Often, customer feedback can be cross-referenced with data collected from technology solutions to help companies grasp where problems lie within their operations.
For example, a retailer may notice that the most common complaint among customers is slow service. This is often a direct result of poor staff management. However, by reviewing occupancy solutions, the retailer can understand when peak hours occur and staff accordingly, reducing the number of complaints related to long lines.
Ongoing Demand for Instant Customer Feedback
When customers have an opportunity to provide instant feedback, they feel validated. This validation can lead to increased loyalty and higher customer satisfaction. In turn, businesses can build a solid reputation for listening to customers and taking their feedback seriously.
Business owners can also provide instant feedback to their employees. Sharing instant customer feedback with staff allows businesses to address issues or concerns as they happen. It creates a better working environment, and this can help businesses retain loyal employees. They should see productivity levels go up and employees more engaged with customers.
Björn is Chief Experience Officer of Ombori Grid. He spent the early part of his career in the music business before moving into retail design and video production. His passion is for creating unique and memorable retail experiences that excite and delight customers. He spent 6 years at Visual Art in Stockholm before joining Ombori in 2018.