The Importance of Customer Feedback for Small Businesses
Did you know that, when they’re buying a product, 90 percent of customers are influenced by positive reviews?
If you’re not seeking feedback and reviews for your business, you could be losing out on a lot of potential customers. Believe it or not, people really do read those reviews and take them into account when making a purchase.
If you’re not sure why customer feedback for small businesses, or if you’re unsure of how to go about asking for it, keep reading. Everything you need to know is explained below.
Benefits of Customer Feedback
There are lots of reasons why you need to make customer feedback a priority. This is especially important for small businesses that need to work hard to stay competitive with their larger counterparts.
Learn How You’re Doing
One of the main benefits of receiving feedback from your customers is that it helps you learn how you’re doing.
It’s easy to assume you’re doing everything right when it comes to running your business. Your customers might have a different opinion, though. Remember, 52 percent of consumers switch providers because of poor customer service.
Receiving feedback from your customers can help you find ways in which your business can improve. This feedback can also give you more insight into what you’re doing well and what you ought to continue doing in the future.
Customer feedback also helps you find out whether or not people are considering not making purchases from you in the future.
If you know that someone is thinking about abandoning your business for one of your competitors, you can take steps to correct the situation and ensure they have a more positive experience in the future.
Positive customer reviews are a great way to bring in new business and generate referrals. Remember, the more positive reviews a business has, the more likely new customers are to consider giving them a try.
Positive online feedback and reviews are also good for your business’s search engine optimization.
If you have a lot of positive feedback online, search engines will pick up on this and your business will rank higher on people’s search engine results pages (or SERPs). This helps to boost your business’s organic online traffic.
The more people see others having positive experiences working with your business, the more inclined they’ll be to shop there themselves. This, in turn, helps you to continue to be competitive with larger brands.
Whether you’re competing against other small businesses or are trying to take on big box stores, it really helps to have positive feedback circulating about your company and your products or services.
Get Ideas for Changes to Your Business
You can also use feedback from your customers to find out what people want to see more or less of from you. Maybe they want you to expand a particular product line or offer a wider range of services.
Instead of just guessing at what people will respond to, you can use your customers’ feedback to make more educated decisions from which you’re more likely to see a return.
Learn About Employee Performance
Customer feedback also gives you a chance to evaluate your employees and see how they’re performing.
Check customer feedback on a regular basis to see whether any employees are being spotlighted (for positive or negative reasons).
If someone takes the time to call out an employee in a review or feedback form (for any purpose), it’s worth evaluating that employee’s behavior a little more closely.
Ways to Ask for Small Business Customer Feedback
Clearly, there are a lot of benefits that come with receiving small business customer feedback. How do you make sure you get feedback, though? There are lots of ways to ask for it, including the following:
Don’t hesitate to ask people in-person for feedback. It might feel a little awkward at first. Keep in mind, though, that asking people how they’re doing or if there’s anything you can do to make their experience better is a great way to get initial reactions and make improvements in real-time.
Online or Written Surveys
You can also ask people to fill out surveys online or hand our written surveys for them to record their responses. You may want to send out email surveys as well. Email surveys make it easy for you to collect and analyze data, and they make it more convenient for the customer to provide you with their feedback.
Request Online Reviews
Don’t forget to ask people to leave online reviews on sites like Yelp, too.
You may even want to set up some kind of promotion to reward people for leaving these reviews.
For example, you can offer them a small discount or a free item in exchange for a review. Or, they could be entered into a drawing to win a bigger prize.
Tips for Responding to Customer Feedback
Customer feedback provides your business with a lot of useful information. However, it’s not always easy to take feedback in a graceful way, especially if it feels rude or unconstructive.
There is definitely a right way to handle feedback, both positive and negative. Here are some tips to keep n mind when responding to reviews from customers:
Start by thanking the customer for their review, and be as specific as possible. Be sure to mention your business’s name and other top keywords in your response, too (this is great for SEO). End with a mention of a new product or service you’re offering, or invite them to come back again soon.
Start by apologizing and sympathizing with the customer. Then, touch on what customers usually experience when they work with your business (e.g., “usually, our customers receive prompt responses from our staff”).
At this point, invite them to move the conversation offline and call or email you to chat about the issue and get it resolved. Keep your response short and always be polite and professional.
Start Asking for Customer Feedback Today
As you can see, customer feedback for small businesses is crucial.
It doesn’t matter if your business has been around for years or is brand new. Either way, you need to make sure you’re seeking customer feedback and responding to it in the appropriate way.
Keep this information in mind moving forward to ensure you’re doing just that.