Customer Engagement: How To Elicit Lots Of Feedback

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When was the last time you hit the shops for a serious shopping trip?

When you went from shop to shop, what did you notice about customer service?

Did you end up chatting to a great sales assistant, who managed to put you in a good mood by helping you or going beyond their job description, or were you left frustrated by sales assistants who didn’t seem interested in what you wanted to purchase, preferring to have a good chat behind the counter with a colleague?

When I come across extremes of service – either good or bad, I always want to express my views.

I’m as likely to praise someone to their manager for an outstanding customer experience as I am to criticise someone for not doing a good job. When you think about it, customer service industries absolutely depend on feedback – good or bad, so that stores know what is working and what isn’t when they look after their customers.

People have a natural tendency to express their views of service, whatever environment they are in.

In restaurants, we tend to show our appreciation of a great meal and good service by popping a big tip on the table, and similarly (more in the UK than the US, admittedly!) we express dissatisfaction with poor service by reducing the tip or cutting it out altogether.

However, in the blogosphere, it’s often not as easy to see how you are doing when it comes to assessing the strength of your service, so you need other ways of eliciting feedback from your customers.

There are a number of ways that we can ask for, and obtain, input in to our sites from our customers, to make sure we’re doing a good job, or address any potential issues if we aren’t.

One of the best things I have discovered is ending your blog article with a question:

What do you think?

Have you had any similar experiences?

What are your ideas on this?

In this way, you instantly open up a call to action for your customers when they come to the end of your article, and it can act as a valuable prompt to request feedback.

Blogs are more advanced than ever before these days, and it’s simple to pop a poll on your site to elicit opinions and feedback from people. All they need to do is click on a radio button and their metrics are collected – simple to do, simple to use, and simple to analyse.

Use opinion polls to request input in to what topics you could cover next on your blog, or what people think of your site overall, or for floating suggestions about your next product or service offering.

The main thing to remember about eliciting feedback is that we live in a customer service-oriented world, and we are all growing accustomed to participating in market research to offer up opinions on various things across the service industry.

Gone are the days when you would be accosted by someone with a clip board when you headed up the high street – these days, companies are using the power of the web to gain the input they need from their customers.

Don’t be afraid to use your blog as a platform to find out how you can improve your services – it’s what everyone needs to do these days, to establish their ongoing strategy for ongoing customer service.

What do you think?

Do you have any other ideas about how we can make the most of the net to learn how to optimise our companies?

Let me know via the comments below.

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23 Responses to Customer Engagement: How To Elicit Lots Of Feedback

  1. Vernessa Taylor August 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Hello Andrew,

    Just to be clear, I suspect we (in the U.S.) express our dissatisfaction with poor service in the same fashion as our brethren in the U.K. 🙂

    You’re so right … we do live in a customer service world where people are not shy about voicing their opinions, pro or con, about every product and service they encounter. And it doesn’t matter whether they’ve paid for it or it’s free! 🙂

    Another road we can take as business owners who blog is to install –and encourage our customers to use — some type of online customer referral system. In that way, we can turn captured feedback into a steady stream of new customers.

    • Andrew September 1, 2011 at 11:34 am #

      Vernessa

      I always thought you HAD to give at least a 10% tip in the USA irrespective of the service. No?

      I like your idea about having a customer referral system and I see you have a link to a post about them – thanks.

      Andrew

  2. Melly Lifshitz August 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Questioning them is definitely effective but there are some or most of them hate the hassle of typing and expressing their thoughts. A poll can be a good alternative. They just have to select and then they are good to go.

    • Andrew September 1, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      Melly

      I understand some people never comment.

      What has been your experience with polls? Open or closed questions?

      Thanks.

      Andrew

  3. SEO Company Los Angeles August 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Ending with a question is great! I always enjoy that as a reader because it gives me a chance to put in my feedback in a structured way by answering and elaborating more on my opinion. I think that’s one great way to optimize customer service in a company – also a “suggestion box” is a great thing too, that way people can put in their feedback without having to comment on an actual post.

    ~Natasha

    • Andrew September 1, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      Natasha

      What’s your experience of using a suggestion box? Any particular software you recommend?

      Thanks.

      Andrew

  4. Ana September 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I always ask my readers for feedback and they give it, good or bad (guess I am lucky that it’s usually more good than bad!).

    It would seem most companies have service rating surveys on their sites these days and I think that is great – it shows that they are committed to service delivery.

    I also like to give feedback for exceptionally good or particularly bad service. 🙂

    • Ana September 9, 2011 at 6:09 am #

      PS Wanted to make sure you saw your blog on my new CommentLuv enabled blog list, Andrew!

      And hope you had fun on your vacation – well-deserved.

  5. Chris September 5, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I would also add that you should include polls and surveys at the end of your posts and encourage people to vote. These are considered great ways to get feedback.

    • Andrew September 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      Yep – good shout…thanks, Chris.

      Andrew

  6. Jane September 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    I always ask feedback from my readers. I send out email to my subscribers announcing something that I am about to do/change and ask them their suggestions and feedback. I also usually do announcement posts in the blog so that anyone can give me feedback.

    I don’t think it is healthy to work without feedback from outside. We can’t assess our powers and mistakes correctly.

    • Andrew September 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Jane

      That’s a great approach. Do you find you get much response?

      Andrew

  7. Colin W. September 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    I always ensure I include questions at the end of my blog articles. This is definitely one of the best ways to evoke a response from my readers.

    After reading your article, however, it seems there is much more I can do to receive feedback.

    Thanks for the tips!

    Colin

  8. Vernon September 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    Here in our place, lots of individual can’t express there feedback because other people may think that you are a crazy person trying to destroy the image of the shop.

  9. Murray September 9, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    It’s funny how easily we forget the power of a question – all we really need to do is open an opportunity to interact with one another and then others will take over.

    People love to talk about themselves and especially when something goes right (or wrong) but you’ll only hear about it if someone has some kind of vehicle to share it with others.

    The question at the end of the post is brilliant – it’s the perfect gateway to get things started.

  10. Patricia September 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Hello Andrew. I’ll tell you, I hate shopping most times, because a lot of the service is absolutely appealing. But it IS refreshing to find that one shop where they are friendly and helpful.

    On another side of the spectrum, what I don’t think you mentioned here is that hyper sales person who leads you to this and that rambling off product features and stats when all you wanted to do is browse. Lots of the online as well eh?

    • Andrew September 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      Patricia

      I agree…it’s about the getting the balance. My view is that if I want help I will ask for it.

      Andrew

  11. Chad Nicely September 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Great Advice!
    I actually already started leaving relevant questions at the end of my post. I was hoping it would initiate more feedback, and kind of give them a direction to go with their comments.

    I am interested in this poll. Have you heard of a plugin that would allow you to have a different poll for each post? Rather than just the widget side bars?

    • Andrew September 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      Chad,

      No…not seen a plugin that will allow a different poll per blog post.

      I suppose you could use Google Optimizer and different polls. That way you could display one random poll per post.

      Andrew

  12. Andrew Walker September 15, 2011 at 3:13 am #

    Hi Andrew. Thanks for sharing this. It’s a very useful information. Just exactly what I need.

  13. Richard September 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    I like posing questions in my blog articles. It’s not just a tool for generating comments, but I think it triggers the thinking mechanism.

    When you ask a question, people tend to answer the question, even if it’s just internally. I think this gets them thinking about your article, which is my primary goal. Getting comments is a good secondary effect.

    • Andrew September 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      Richard

      And then follow that up with questions in comments. What do you think?

      Andrew

  14. Nitin Agrawal September 17, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Thanx Andrew for sharing such an useful information,, yes you are right putting question at the end of our blog actually help us to know our readers better and with this we can just improve more and more

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