Gathering customer feedback along the customer journey
Customer journey and customer experience
Customer feedback, often also called consumer feedback, generally refers to feedback from customers about a company’s products or brands or about the company itself. Feedback presupposes experience, and customers have a variety of experiences before and after purchasing products and brands or the company offering them, for example with sales, customer service or support. This collection of individual experiences is called the → Customer Journey, which, for example, begins where someone enters a search term into a search engine and from there arrives at your website. These individual experiences along the customer journey are called “touchpoints”. And customers collect experiences with your products and your company at many touchpoints.
Simple example of a customer journey
Coming from a search engine, your potential customer gains his first experience of your company or the product he was looking for on your website. If your website visitor has a positive first experience on your website, for example because it is designed in a particularly smart way and appears trustworthy, offers easy navigation and the content is also meaningful, it is very likely that your visitor will take a closer look at the desired product and also at your company. Along the way, your potential customer will look for customer feedback in social media and on various review portals about the product you offer and about your company itself. In the live chat that you offer on your website, details about the delivery are then discussed, the chat employee is friendly, helpful and competent. And if the price is right, the product is added to the shopping basket. The ordering process as such is quick and easy, because your potential customer can place his order as a guest and does not have to register first. This is where your website visitor has a negative experience, namely that his preferred payment option is not offered and then cancels the purchase, leaves your website and possibly never comes back. And in case of doubt, you don’t know why this happened, because you don’t ask for customer feedback at this point.
Customer feedback and customer journey
In the example above, your potential customer has had several positive customer experiences along the customer journey and only one negative one, and yet the purchase process was abandoned because it was the crucial experience for the website visitor. And because the competition is crowded and there are similar, like products, your potential customer has spared the effort of contacting you and simply purchased the product from the competitor. But you could also have asked your potential customer, i.e. asked for customer feedback, why he or she abandoned the order process and you would have gained valuable information. Innovative survey technologies offer solutions for this, which would have provided you with the corresponding customer feedback. Gathering customer feedback along the customer journey is therefore extremely important, because if you know which touchpoints along the customer journey are responsible for negative customer experiences, you can shape these touchpoints positively on the basis of the information gathered from the customer feedback.
This is why customer feedback is of enormous importance for every company
Don’t wait for customer feedback, stimulate it!
If you want to know where your company stands in the minds of consumers and what customer experiences are being made along the customer journey, then on the one hand you can derive that from the sales figures and leave it at that. Quite a few companies still do this, until suddenly sales drop and those responsible can’t find any levers to stop the free fall. On the other hand, you can ask for customer feedback at every single touch point and thus gather far more valuable and in-depth information that bare sales figures do not offer you. Engaging with customer feedback as a source of business decisions is therefore now a given for companies that are successful in the long term. Companies that know and appreciate the value of customer feedback do not just wait for customers to give their feedback somewhere and somehow, for example in rating portals, social networks or forums, but these companies create channels for gathering customer feedback and even stimulate this, for example by actively conducting customer surveys or touchpoint analyses on a regular basis, along the entire customer journey.
Gathering customer feedback through touchpoint analysis
Actively scrutinising customer experiences through customer feedback at the individual touchpoints between customers, products and companies is called touchpoint analysis. Here, customer-centric companies try to measure customer experiences at as many touch and interaction points as possible using a wide variety of survey methods and evaluate them accordingly. In the following, we will explain these methods for gathering customer feedback in more detail.
Ways and options to gather customer feedback
Thanks to modern and innovative survey technologies, companies today have many opportunities to gather customer feedback along the customer journey. In particular, customer experience management platforms (CX software), such as those from QuestionPro, offer holistic approaches to gathering customer feedback across all media and channels, online and offline. And CX software also simultaneously offers the corresponding analysis methods that transform customer feedback into truly useful insights. We would like to introduce you to some of these possibilities below.
Online Intercept Surveys / Onsite Surveys
Onsite surveys in the form of online intercept surveys help you to collect customer feedback on your website, for example on usability (web experience), information content or simplicity of navigation. Your customers can leave customer feedback via a feedback tab, for example, or a pop-up or layer with corresponding questions appears while they are surfing. Such pop-ups or layers can also be actively controlled so that they appear, for example, when a visitor enters or leaves your website, i.e. when the mouse leaves the browser. However, it is also possible to be even more fine-grained. For example, you can have a pop-up or layer survey displayed whenever website visitors come via a certain device, operating system or from a certain region. It is also possible to control the pop-up or layer via the search term through which website visitors came to your website. Online intercept surveys are therefore a powerful customer feedback tool!
Traditional customer surveys by means of questionnaires
Customer surveys have always been a very popular instrument for gathering customer feedback. Here, customer feedback is obtained via a questionnaire, which today is mainly accessed online via a link. A customer survey in the classic sense is often very extensive, contains many questions and is usually carried out once or twice a year. In contrast to touchpoint analysis, which focuses on individual interactions and experiences on the part of customers and is also conducted directly in the context of these interactions, the classic customer survey is rather broader and also includes aspects such as customer expectations, price-performance ratio, processes between customers and the company, corporate image, competitive aspects, quality management and much more. To gather customer feedback from customer surveys, QuestionPro’s CX software offers a very easy-to-use questionnaire editor, which also includes special predefined question types on customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Here you can find an → example of a customer survey.
Customer feedback by e-mail
Correspondence with customers today takes place predominantly by e-mail. Your customers send you enquiries about prices and products, write complaints or make valuable suggestions. These mails are usually archived in CRM systems. Many companies neglect the evaluation of qualitative feedback because they lack tools. Yet the contents of e-mails can be easily evaluated automatically using semantic text analysis. So don’t disregard customer feedback from e-mails. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Feedback terminals are a very valuable tool for gathering customer feedback in stores, supermarkets, shopping centres, hotels or waiting areas, for example at airports. Customers can give their feedback via a touch display at the touch of a finger. Cleverly positioned, feedback terminals offer a very high return rate of customer feedback. The great advantage of feedback terminals is that customer feedback is collected in the immediate impression of the event, for example when leaving a store.
Generate customer feedback via QR code
If you travel with trains, you will have noticed the QR code on the seats, which you can photograph with a QR code reader and which leads you directly to a survey. Of course, this can be applied to all industries and sectors. The CX software QuestionPro generates such QR codes fully automatically when creating a questionnaire. This QR code can then be printed on flyers, posters, business cards, menus, outer packaging, etc., for example.
Many companies today rely on customer communities to gather valuable quantitative and qualitative customer feedback. Innovative customer communities offer a variety of ways to gather customer feedback, for example in the form of forums, idea boards or online focus groups. With the help of customer communities, it is very easy to set up customer panels, i.e. a group of customers who regularly participate in online surveys. This makes it much easier to gather customer feedback. Today, it is no longer a big effort for companies to create and administer their own customer community, as there are special frameworks for this. QuestionPro also offers the possibility to create and manage a customer community.
Gather customer feedback via telephone
Gather customer feedback with interactive voice response technology
The IVR technology integrated in the CX software enables you to gather customer feedback via interactive voice response. With the help of IVR integration, you can conduct voice surveys in the form of automated telephone calls and collect customer feedback without your own intervention. In practice, IVR is rarely used, especially in Germany, where the legal framework is also a major challenge. But customer acceptance is also rather low here. Anyone who has ever had an encounter with an artificial voice calling you can certainly confirm this. In the USA, for example, this procedure is used more often to gather customer feedback.
Rating portals are very popular with consumers because they provide transparency and are a valuable decision-making aid when it comes to choosing a product or service. Customer feedback from rating portals and also from social networks are a valuable source of information for companies, because the customer feedback here is often brutally honest and unfiltered, especially when ratings can be submitted anonymously or using a pseudonym. There are now countless review portals, such as Google My Business, TripAdvisor or Yelp, and customer feedback is becoming more and more. So dedicate yourself to the many reviews and ratings and try to get as many positive reviews as possible.
The personal interview
You can also ask for customer feedback in a personal conversation. This is not uncommon in supermarkets or outside shopping centres. Interviewers usually record customer feedback using a tablet PC. The CX Software QuestionPro offers you the possibility to store customer feedback from face-to-face interviews collected via tablet PC offline, so that an internet connection is not necessary during the interview. The data can be synchronised with the server after the interview. Data entry is structured and intuitive via an intelligent data entry mask that functions like an interview guide. This makes it possible for even inexperienced interviewers to quickly and easily record customer feedback in a personal conversation.
Customer feedback app
Innovative companies provide selected customers with a feedback app through which smaller customer surveys can be launched on a regular basis. Customers receive a notification via the smartphone’s notification bar when a new survey is launched and can then answer the questions. The willingness of customers to participate in such a feedback programme can be incentivised, i.e. rewarded, for example by companies awarding gift vouchers or other gimmicks for each participation in a survey. One possible application is to have customers open customer feedback apps when they enter the app operator’s store and then send real-time feedback on the customer experience. There are many other applications for gathering customer feedback via feedback apps. Contact us!
Use contact form
A contact form is probably the easiest way to gather customer feedback. However, not all contact forms are the same. A distinction can be made here between the classic contact form, which can usually be accessed from the main menu to send general enquiries. Or there is, for example, the complaint form, which is specifically structured so that disgruntled customers can voice their complaints in a structured way. Other companies, on the other hand, have content-specific forms on every page of their website so that information can be requested quickly and easily. These contact forms can also be used to gather customer feedback on how customers became aware of the website or what they are interested in. Or whether the content of the website and the navigation are satisfactory. In this way, in addition to the actual message that your website visitors send to you via the contact form, you can gather valuable customer feedback on the usability and content quality of the website with just a few additional fields. By the way, the CX Software QuestionPro offers a form editor that can do just that! And beyond that, the recipients of the data from the contact forms can also be controlled, so that data from the complaint form ends up with the complaint management, the data from a product enquiry ends up with the corresponding sales staff and the additional information gathered goes into a central database where customer feedback is analysed.
Analysis of customer feedback
Key performance indicators for customer satisfaction
Of course, customer feedback has no real significance without a corresponding analysis of the data. The evaluation of customer feedback should therefore also be carried out according to the latest methods and findings. It is therefore important to make sure that you ask the right questions when collecting customer feedback. Customer feedback provides you with data on important and valuable key performance indicators for your company, four of which are outlined below.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The Customer Satisfaction Score measures the overall satisfaction of your customers with just one question: “Considering all the experiences you have had with our company, products, services: How satisfied are you?” Customer feedback here is on a 4, 5 or even 10-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
The Customer Effort Score measures the amount of effort customers have to make to find information on your website, speak to a customer service representative or place an order. The more cumbersome this is for your customers, the less satisfied they are. Therefore, the Customer Effort Score is also a valuable indicator of customer satisfaction.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
One of the most widely used indicators of customer satisfaction and loyalty is the Net Promoter Score. The Net Promoter Score measures the willingness of your customers to recommend you on a scale of 1-10, from which the degree of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty can be derived. Customer feedback on the Net Promoter Score can be collected very easily in various ways and the significance of this indicator is undisputed among experts in the field of customer experience management.
Secure Customer Index (SCI)
The Secure Customer Index is not as widespread and well-known as, for example, the Net Promoter Score or the Customer Satisfaction Score. The Secure Customer Index measures the degree of customer loyalty and is made up of the degree of customer satisfaction as well as the customer’s willingness to interact and repurchase.
Analyse and evaluate customer feedback via real-time experience dashboard
If you use QuestionPro’s customer experience management platform, you have the option of collecting customer feedback decentrally but analysing it centrally via an experience dashboard. QuestionPro’s Experience Dashboard for evaluating customer feedback is freely configurable and shows you all key performance indicators at a glance in real time. Here you can find all information about the → Customer Experience Dashboard.Customer Experience Dashboard.
Analysing qualitative customer feedback using AI-based semantic text analysis
Companies are gathering more and more qualitative customer feedback, for example from rating portals or social networks. This customer feedback can be evaluated and classified using semantic text analysis so that valuable conclusions can be drawn from qualitative customer feedback without having to read the multitude of forum posts, reviews or mentions in social networks. Here you will find detailed information on the topic → semantic text analysis.