5 Crucial Tips for Collecting Customer Feedback

February 7, 2020
Contributed by Gartner Digital Markets Analysts

Reviews give you insight into the customer experience of your software — so how do you get them? Take a look at five smart ways to collect and leverage customer reviews.

Sourcing valuable customer reviews for a product can be challenging. Get the timing, channel or message wrong, and you run the risk of getting undifferentiated or unhelpful feedback or no feedback at all.

Take advantage of these five tips, and you’ll have a better chance of collecting more reviews and worthwhile feedback.
 

Tip 1: Target the right customers

Before you set out to collect reviews, take a second. What do you want to know and what are you going to use this feedback for? You, of course, want to know how your consumers feel about your products. But you should go beyond that and finalize the goals this feedback will help you achieve. That will also help you better understand who to approach and ask to review your products.

For example, IT professionals who use your product might not know about the various features, but they can speak to your customer service and implementation process. It’s a good idea to consider what kind of feedback you’re looking for and what type of customer will be able to provide it before setting out to collect reviews.

What will you do with this information once you get it? That brings us to the next tip.
 

Tip 2: Ask questions with a purpose

Once you know what you’re looking for in your feedback, you can ask your buyers more specific questions.

Avoid asking broad questions that yield broad results and may cause additional steps as you try to sift through information to get what’s actually relevant. You also don’t want to alienate the consumer and make them feel like their time is being wasted. Oracle’s Shawn Myers told attendees at Gartner Marketing Symposium/XpoTM that 73% of U.S. adults online say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide a good online customer experience.

Asking pointed questions with a purpose is beneficial to both you and your consumers, and builds your relationship with each other. But where do you direct these questions?
 

Tip 3: Determine the efficacy of different channels for collecting customer feedback

Search is the most frequently used digital channel along the entire B2B buying journey, says Gartner (full report available to Gartner clients), as it plays a dominant role in the early, middle and late stages of the purchase process. Take a look at this example breakdown of site traffic in B2B manufacturing:

While this isn’t a perfect representation of every B2B industry, it demonstrates the opportunity that B2B software marketers have to determine the most highly trafficked channels that customers and leads are using and to leverage those channels.

There are three ways you can determine which channels you should use to collect customer feedback (listed here in order of increasing resource requirements):

  • Use the above graph as a starting point to test-run a proportionate distribution of resources for reviews collection.
  • Use A/B testing to determine both the voice and impact of each channel. Be sure to look at both feedback and engagement.
  • Reach out to each client personally through the same channel in which they began their buying journey.

Selecting different channels through which you collect reviews is a good place to start. Don’t stop there. Use different channels to broadcast those reviews.
 

Tip 4: Offer customers the chance to make and view video reviews

Cisco predicts that by 2022, 82% of all web traffic will be video-based (up from 75% in 2017). Why not offer video reviews to cater to this growing market?

There are a few main benefits to using that option. You provide your users with another, more interesting, way to leave reviews. You provide your leads with more engaging ways of hearing reviews, which you can promote on a number of different channels. You can even rank higher on search because of the way Google now ranks videos.

The previous caveats still hold, of course: You must ask pointed questions or keep some level of consistency across the videos, and you have to find the best channels for posting them. But reaching out to people and meeting them where they are is only half the battle. How do you get the other one of the two to tango?
 

Tip 5: Go beyond financial incentives and offer partnerships

Most people know about the idea of offering money or gift cards in exchange for reviews. This is a great mechanism for motivating people to offer feedback — it takes very little time — and who doesn’t want a free latte.

To go beyond a monetary offer, consider something of equivalent value related to your product. It could be a month of use, a new user or unlocking a particular pay level for a specific amount of time, for example.

That gives them a greater sense of belonging, could convert them to a higher-quality customer and creates a partnership that endears you to each other. That deepened relationship could also go a long way toward showing that customer how you listen to their feedback. It also turns them into a brand advocate.

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