4 New Ways to Collect Customer Feedback

rsz_computerwithphone by Tim Parker on January 8, 2013
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You already know that the most valuable feedback about your company comes from your customers. But do you know how to effectively solicit their input? If your usual survey-response rates are low, consider these four new strategies for obtaining quality information.

1. Enable text messaging. Give customers the opportunity to offer immediate feedback to you or a site’s manager via cell phone. The Talk to the Manager service ($29 per month per location) provides a phone number and custom signage that gives patrons the ability to text compliments or complaints directly to your place of business. (“Hi. Ladies’ room is out of toilet paper. Please send help.”) You can address any issue immediately and/or text them back. (“Sorry about that. Sit tight. Help is on the way!”) The customer may also visit the Talk to the Manager website to write a review.

2. Offer coupons or other incentives. Offering an incentive — such as a free product, a discount, or a chance to win a prize in a drawing — shows that you value your customers’ time and you want to offer a small gift to say thank you. For example, on randomly selected receipts, Starbucks offers customers $1 off their next visit in exchange for completing an online survey. Once the patron completes the survey, the website gives them a number to write on the receipt which activates the discount.

3. Use QR codes. Deploying these pixelated 2-D squares can help you increase your customer survey responses. Place the QR code anywhere in your store, on your receipts, or in your emails. Using their smartphones, customers scan the code, which takes them to the survey site. You can generate a QR code for any web page here.

4. Go mobile. One study found that 65 percent of the U.S. population will have a smartphone and/or a tablet by 2015. With that in mind, make your survey a mobile experience. Some restaurants bring a tablet to the table with the bill to solicit diners’ feedback. Why not do the same in your store or place of business? Not sure how to implement this system? Check out Avius Insight or Polldaddy, each of which offer solutions for using mobile devices to increase customer response rates.

Of course, no technology can take the place of speaking directly with your customers. But, given their relatively low cost, using one or more of these four strategies to gain valuable feedback should be a no-brainer. Remember to keep your surveys short and targeted, too.

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Tim Parker is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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