Learn about the next generation of customer feedback.
Imagine offering every person who walks through a store an opportunity to provide feedback on the available products, services, prices and the overall organization. Those who respond would do so because they care about the brand and feel a connection to the store.
They would also be far more apt to consider the store one of their favorites if the owner listened, acknowledged and acted upon their feedback.
The same holds true in the online world. When website owners offer visitors the opportunity to provide feedback, two things happen. First, businesses get valuable insight into visitors’ experiences. Second, they enable visitors to identify themselves as people who feel a connection to the site. That information provides the means for e-businesses to generate new leads and retain current customers.
The Next Generation of Actionable Website Feedback
According to Shop.org, the average online conversion rate stands at 3 percent. That leaves some 97 percent of visitors who come to a site in search of a product or service, but click away without establishing any kind of contact or relationship. For the marketing manager, that exit can be painful, particularly if that visitor came to the site via a costly campaign.
In most cases, a visitor has limited options for expressing interest in a site. Visitors can either place an order or request a sales representative to contact them. However, visitors who are in the initial stage of their product selection process are generally unwilling to make such a commitment.
What’s needed is an alternative channel that enables the visitor to initiate a dialog with the company in a manner that feels less formal than a typical sales channel. That’s where web-based feedback channels play a crucial role.
Tips for Getting Actionable Feedback
Every aspect of the feedback submission contains clues as to the customer’s intentions. These clues can be used to determine how to handle the visitor’s feedback and incorporate it into the company’s workflows.
Companies can use pre-defined parameters that enable them to identify a lead’s status (hot, warm or cold) as well as its priority (high, medium or low-value customer). Parameters may include the URL where feedback originated, product categories and depth of contact details.
Feedback system should include the following attributes to best support lead-generation and conversion.
1. Offer feedback options on every page. Don’t ask visitors to navigate away from the page they’re on in order to provide feedback. Doing so both decreases the likelihood of visitors sharing their opinions and requires the visitor to spend additional time describing the product or service of interest. Therefore, a good feedback system should enable visitors to leave feedback on whatever page they happen to be visiting and should collect session details automatically into a central analytics repository.
2. Categorize feedback easily. Present visitors with a quick-pick menu and sub-menus for the topic of feedback they wish to leave, e.g., product of interest, price, stage in purchasing cycle, date of implementation.
3. Give visitors easy-to-use ratings systems. In today’s world of emoticons and the social customer, some visitors may not want to type their opinions. Therefore, companies should consider using a feedback system that provides a simple rating scale as well as an option for written feedback.
4. Let visitors steer the conversation. While categories should make it easy for the visitor to select the topic of the feedback, the feedback form should not influence or limit what the visitor has to say. Therefore, companies should avoid using survey-style questions with multiple-choice answers or voting mechanisms. Rather, once the visitor has identified the topic of concern, let him or her speak freely. This practice offers the additional benefit of enabling the company to use feedback in predicting search queries and optimizing search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns.
5. Assign and alert employees and departments regarding feedback. Deliver responses to the appropriate people or department within the company automatically with an alert notifying them that feedback has been received. A good feedback system should enable the company to integrate feedback into its current workflow, e.g. feedback on low-end products are forwarded to telesales while those on high-value products are assigned to enterprise-level sales teams.
6. Offer a newsletter opt-in. E-mail marketing is most effective when recipients opt in. The feedback system should enable visitors to choose the option of receiving newsletters when they leave feedback.
7. Integrate seamlessly with existing CRM systems. The feedback system should be integrated with the company’s customer relationship management system so individual feedback can be used to open new leads (or new cases if the feedback reports a customer service issue).
8. Integrate with web analytics programs. Integrating website feedback with web analytics programs enables marketing managers to get a big picture of the company’s initiatives and to answer complex questions such as, “Why do people from the U.K. leave the site without converting?” Getting visitor feedback alerts sales and marketing managers to potential problems, and enables them to take corrective actions.
Making a Better Customer Experience Online
There are numerous tools and technologies that enable e-businesses to improve their websites. However, the critical factor in whether those improvements result in new leads, conversions and customer retention has less to do with technology and more to do with responsiveness.
An effective feedback analytics solution enables organizations to listen to customers and demonstrate their eagerness to respond. It is this kind of two-way communications channel, fully integrated into existing business workflows, that results in better customer service online and better bottom- line results.
About the Author
Kampyle helps companies engage more deeply with their customers by bringing a human element to online business and using customers’ own feedback to increase sales. Kampyle’s easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution lets companies customize and implement in five minutes to collect, analyze, measure and respond to online user feedback.