• Matt Phillips

How to Get Honest Feedback From Your Customers

As a business owner, one of the MOST frustrating things is trying to get solid, constructive feedback from your customers that will help you improve. When asked to share their feedback about their experience with your business, most people will throw out a half-hearted compliment and move on with their day.

There are usually two extremes: customers who HATE your business and everything you stand for (these are typically the most vocal, unfortunately), or loyal customers who have nothing but praises to sing of your company. While positive feedback is great, it’s important to get honest, sometimes hard-to-hear criticism that can help you to learn and grow as a business owner. That’s why, this week, we’re throwing you some helpful tips to help gather the kind of feedback that you NEED from your customers!

#1 – Ask the right questions

Too many business owners are perplexed by the lackluster feedback that they get from their customers, all while presenting them with questions like “Tell us about your experience.” Typically, when posed a question like that, someone will scribble down a quick, “It was great,” and move on with their life. More often than not, the KIND of questions asked on surveys or questionnaires just aren’t specific or deep enough to get a customer to provide a thoughtful, honest response.

To get real answers, the questions need to be specific, detailed, and probing. For example, when asked “What would have made your experience better,” or “How can we improve as a company,” most people are likely to sit back and think before writing down an answer. With good, practical questions, you can get better responses. Take some time to sit down, write some unique, even unusual, questions and you’ll be blown away by the difference in responses.

#2 – Make it easy for people to give you feedback

Sadly enough, many businesses fail to provide a customer with a path to leave them feedback at all! If the only medium available for a customer to provide feedback is your outdated Google listing, it’s likely that only the “haters” will write you reviews. In general, if someone has to go looking for your company, a satisfied customer won’t do it. Only someone who is disgruntled enough will actually take the time to do that.

So, if you want feedback from loyal, normal (right in the brain) customers, you’ll probably have to ask them for it. This can be as simple as a follow-up email after they visit your business or come to an appointment, a monthly, mailed postcard asking for Google reviews from your best customers, or periodic social media posts saying, “Rate us!” Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you broadcast you’re actively seeking out feedback! People can’t give you helpful tips if they don’t know you’re looking for them.

#3 – Don’t make it about you

As we’ve already mentioned, human beings are selfish. In general, if there’s nothing in it for them, they don’t care. If you phrase your requests for feedback in a way that makes YOU the focal point, the average person won’t respond. But, if you put the customer in the center of the experience (making them the hero of their own story – check out our podcast episode about that😉), they will be FAR more likely to engage with you.

This can be as simple as phrasing your follow-up email like, “We value your business, and as one of our TOP customers, we want to hear what you have to say about your experience.” If you make the request revolve around the customer, they’ll feel valued and feel like their contribution matters to your business. By taking the focus off of yourself, you can get much better feedback from your customers.

#4 – Have a conversation

Though the internet is now humanity’s primary form of communication, there’s nothing like a good-old-fashioned face-to-face conversation! It never hurts to approach a customer in your business and simply ask them these questions yourself. When a person is approached by another human who wants to hear what they have to say, they feel sought-after and let their guard down.

The difference in the comments you’ll get by simply asking your questions to someone’s face is astounding! It’s really not that hard; just have a conversation with your customers. If they’re talking to a real person, they’re more likely to be honest, happy, and really think about what they’re saying. Being personable goes a long way!

We hope these tips have been helpful to you as you work on gathering some useful feedback to improve your business. By phrasing your questions well, making it easy for people to reach out to you with their feedback, putting them at the center of the story, and simply talking to them face-to-face, you’ll be able to get some great feedback in no time! Check out our weekly podcast for some more ideas and inspiration! Peace✌️ #TeamBrandNation

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