As a business owner, it is important to always have the customers wants and needs at the forefront of your mind. Given that they are the people who use your products, they are the single most important aspect of your business. It is their money and continued support that allows you to grow. It is fundamental to any successful business to listen to what they saying. As an online business putting in place systems for people to share their views is essential and not too difficult. But, knowing how to use feedback to grow your business on the internet is not always as clear-cut. That is why we have pulled together everything we have learnt here at Virtalent to help you make the most of what your customers are telling you.

Gather Customer Feedback

Let’s start at the beginning. How can you as an online business start gathering feedback? Well, there are a huge number of ways you can do that.

Emails: This is a very straightforward way to ask your customers to connect. On your website or emails you send out, invite them to message you back via email. Ask them to share their experiences with you and express their opinions on your products and services.

Contact Forms: On your website, a great way to encourage communication is by having a simple contact form for someone to fill in. You could potentially ask some leading questions. What do you think of our service? How do you think you we could improve? Alternatively, you can simply invite them to share their thoughts and ask their own questions.

Surveys: Whenever someone buys from you, speaks with your team or has any interaction with your service, ask them if they don’t mind filling in a short survey. As an online business, this can be set up so it is automated and taken out of your hands. This is a great way to get quick and focused feedback.

Usability Testing: This is a great way to test your products and services before they go out into the market. Gather a group of customers, let them test it and ask them for feedback. You can then build their suggestions into the final design before you release it to the world.

Web Analytics: Analytics software such as Google Analytics or Mixpanel is an excellent source to get a picture of who may be visiting your website. It can help you build a profile of who is attracted to your business and therefore target that group. You can even use software such as Leadfeeder to find out exactly who those visitors are.

Online Reviews: Monitor reviews sites online. Read through what customers are saying. Whether the feedback is positive or negative engage with them in a constructive way. Thank them for their time and input.

Managing the Incoming Information Effectively

Once you have managed to gather this whole array of different feedback, how can you possibly manage it all? This step is fundamental in how to use feedback effectively. In order to do this well, you need to create a centralised place that will hold all the information you are taking in.

The most effective way is to use a CRM system. This can hold the records of everyone who has provided feedback, keeping you a record of what has been said, when and by whom. The benefit of being in the cloud is that the process of obtaining and storing such crucial feedback can often even be automated. It can also allow you to produce reports to show you what people are saying in both a qualitative and quantitative way.  This will allow you to analyse the information and, most importantly, make the key decisions necessary to improve your product or service.

Using it to Improve

The final step in how to use feedback is to know exactly what you do with all that information. It can be a bit overwhelming receiving all those opinions. That is why have a clear picture of knowing where to use it is so important.

Highlight the Positive: This is one of the best aspects of feedback; when you get some praise. The important thing is not to keep this to yourself. Share it on your website, ask the customer if you can use their feedback as a testimonial in your sales copy or send it out on social media. Show potential customers what your current clients think about you.

Learn from the Negative: One of the tempting things to do when you receive negative feedback is to ignore and simply suggest they don’t know what they are talking about, taking the feedback personally and not treating it constructively. However, negative feedback it by far the best way to learn and improve. So engage with the customer and thank them for their input. Then use what they have said to prevent similar feedback from cropping up once again.

Tweak Your Products and Website: Another great way to use feedback is to inform your product or website development decisions. If they have shared on opinion on a potential improvement, assess it and incorporate it into your service.

Use it to Build Your Road Map: The biggest benefit to gathering all this information is that it is telling you exactly what your customer wants from your company. Through analysing what is being said you can understand your customer better and better as time goes on. This will allow you to build their views into your plan for the future of your business and the products you build.

Everyone has some idea that gathering feedback is an important process. Many people go through the steps to doing it. But few know how to use feedback effectively to grow their business. This is not a quick win but a long-term strategy. Over time the picture and understanding you will have of your customers will become increasingly clear. This knowledge will then give you the fuel to propel your business forward and take it to previously unimagined levels.

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