When it comes to product development, looking at service improvements, store upgrades, marketing perception and more, your biggest asset is your existing customer base. These are the people who have been through the entire process of finding your brand, liking it enough to make a purchase, and then had hands on experience with your product or service. Today we’re looking at why you should be speaking to them on a regular basis, what to ask, and how to do it.
Why it’s important
Get valuable feedback from your customers about how they see your store and products
It’s easy enough to look at your demographics from your store data, but this will only give you quantitative data. By speaking to your customers individually through something like a survey, you get qualitative data. You can dive deeper into the different audience groups that you likely are already aware of through your store data in a way that gives you more insight into how they feel about your store and products. This allows you to get a more personal view on things, and can give you some starting points for development that you may not get from store data alone. Your store data might tell you that customers are dropping off at a certain point in checkout, and your existing customers can perhaps shed some light on why they found it a bit complicated.
Build a stronger bond with your existing customers
It’s easy to see a new order come in and think “Great! That’s another customer on board!”, but the customer journey doesn’t end once you ship a product. It carries on months and even years past that first order, especially if you want to foster brand loyalty! Acquiring new customers is a tough gig, but if you focus on strengthening your relationship with existing customers then you’ll reap the rewards. After just one purchase, a customer is 27% more likely to make a repeat purchase, and they’re 60-70% more likely to result in a conversion if targeted. By asking your existing customers on a regular basis what they think of your service and products, you’re showing them that you care about their opinions and are actively seeking their insight to make improvements to your store.
What you should be asking
The simplest way to ask customers for feedback is through a short survey. Try to keep it no more than five minutes; any longer and customers are less likely to complete it. There are a number of services you can use to build your survey, including Survey Monkey, Typeform, and more. Look at a few of the options to find the best fit for your size of customer base and the amount of data you’re looking to gather.
Tip: If you choose to use Typeform and you’re using Klaviyo for email marketing, you can connect your Typeform account to Klaviyo so customer responses show up as custom properties tied to the customer’s Klaviyo account. This gives you more data for segmenting your audience down the road.
In terms of questions you should be asking, be sure to ask simple demographic questions such as age range, gender, location, etc. After that, if you’re focusing on your store, there are a few basic areas to cover:
- How did they find your site? Social media, search engine, word of mouth, etc.
- How easy is the website to use?
- How would they rate the purchase flow? What could you add or take away to improve it?
- Communication about orders
- Shipping times and information
- Quality of packaging
- Product quality
- Customer service and returns (if they’ve had to make use of it)
- After-care - e.g. communication from the brand
While these questions cover the practical ecommerce side of things, you can also ask questions about your brand and marketing so you can get a better idea of how existing customers feel about your branding. Here are some examples:
- Photography quality
- Brand colors and assets
- Brand logo
- Social media content
- What platforms they use, and do they follow you - if they don’t, why not
- Have they seen an ad for your brand on social media
- What other brands do they engage with or see as having good content
These areas give you a better understanding of how your brand is being perceived in the real world, which is something that’s much harder to understand if you’re only using store data to inform your decisions.
You don’t need to put everything into one survey. In fact, we’d recommend doing a few throughout the year before key times for development such as when you’re starting to prepare for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. You could have one focus on marketing, then another later on that focuses on your purchase flow, and another that focuses on order communication. Breaking them up will keep them shorter and easier for your customers, and shows them that you’re actively trying to engage them on different topics over time and not just a big one-off survey.
Your other option outside of surveys is to have an on-going feedback form that can be used at any time, and then do these wider, more formal surveying periods throughout the year. That way you’re getting feedback you can use all the time, for example perhaps there’s a shipping issue you’re not aware of and you get a few feedback forms that highlight it.
Ways to talk to your customers
It’s important to try and hit your customers on a couple of different fronts to ensure you get a wide pool of respondents for feedback. Some people don’t check their email, others discard leaflets. Here are the main methods you can use:
The biggest and most obvious is to utilize all that email data you’ve got. You can set up an automated workflow to contact existing customers for feedback on an ongoing basis, or even for when you’ve got periods of wider surveying. It’s easy too because you can simply link to any forms or surveys, and keeps it simple for the customer.
This is one that might not immediately spring to mind, but is incredibly valuable. This is one for the repeat customers rather than first-timers. Include a leaflet in all repeat orders - we’re talking 2nd order onwards - for a period of time so it’s the first thing the customer sees when they open their package. Detail why you’re collecting feedback, what it’ll be used for, where to give feedback, and any incentives you may be offering in exchange.
This is one you can use for any customers, first-timers and regulars alike. Once the customer has completed their order, include a pop-up asking for feedback about their experience. This is obviously most useful when asking about the checkout process and marketing as they may not yet have experience with your shipping and communication.
It’s no surprise that customers are inundated with emails; this is why you should consider using SMS as a means of communicating with your customers. SMS messages have a much higher open rate compared to email, but it’s important to not overdo it; send too many text messages and your customers will quickly grow tired hearing from you. Keep the messages short and sweet.
How to talk to your customers
They’ve already bought your products or used your service, so be sure to thank them for that! It seems simple, but that little gesture of making sure to thank them for previously making a purchase goes a long way in endearing you to a potential respondent.
Make it clear it’s no obligation
No one likes to feel pressured into providing feedback, and the same goes for your customers. Be friendly, genuine, and straightforward, making sure to emphasize the benefits that providing feedback will result in (improved service, developing new products, etc.). Show that you appreciate the time they’ll need to take to give the feedback, and even offer a possible deadline date so they know it’s not something they need to do as soon as they hear from you.
Offer an incentive
Existing customers have already shown you that they’re happy to buy your products, so give them something in return for their feedback to show your appreciation. It might be free shipping, a fixed percentage discount code, or a free product. Once they’ve filled out your survey or responded to your request for feedback through whatever method you’ve chosen to gather it, send them a little thank you note with their incentive.
Once you’ve got the feedback from your customers, put it to good use, and then show them what you’ve done. After you’ve implemented changes, get back in touch with respondents and show them what you’ve been working on based on their feedback. This will develop that bond between you and your customers even more than asking them for their feedback.