How Customer Feedback Can Improve Your Ecommerce Business
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Do you know what the last customer who bought something from your ecommerce store thought about the product they received?
What about your last ten customers? Or someone who bought a couple of products three months ago?
Customer feedback allows you to get a pulse on how your ecommerce customers feel about your brand and your products.
At a time when 43% of U.S. customers report spending more on brands that they are loyal to, listening to your customers can mean thousands upon thousands of dollars in extra revenue.
Let’s look at the importance of customer feedback and how you can use it to improve your ecommerce business.
Nowadays, people have more opportunity than ever before to seek out information and reviews of products and services before they make a purchase. You can’t afford to ignore customer feedback — and you don’t have to take our word for it.
Here are some key statistics that prove why customer feedback — especially online reviews — is vital for ecommerce businesses.
According to Podium, 93% of people say reviews impact what they choose to buy.
Google and Facebook are top spots for customer reviews, according to ReviewTrackers.
KPMG found that 30% of customers have shared product feedback online.
In a Cone Study, 80% of consumers reported that they decided not to buy something after reading a negative review.
The Spiegel Research Center found that a product with five reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased than a product with no reviews. In addition, they found that displaying reviews for more expensive products increased conversion rates by 380%.
About 70% of consumers have changed their perception of a brand based on if and how the company replied to an online review, according to Bazaarvoice.
In this Zendesk study, 97% of respondents say a bad customer service experience can change buying behavior.
Vonage found that U.S. businesses lose an estimated $62 billion each year due to bad customer service.
According to Broadly, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a colleague or a friend.
And Womply found that businesses that reply to at least 25% of reviews see an average revenue increase of 35%.
From decreasing customer acquisition costs to increasing website conversion rates and gaining more loyal customers, there is no shortage of reasons why listening to your customers is great for business.
Did you know that for every one customer who complains, an average of 26 other customers who feel the same way say nothing? They just leave and never purchase from your store again.
By measuring satisfaction rates throughout the entire customer journey, you can learn what customers really think about your business and products — from the first time they visit your website to when they place an order and receive their purchase.
Over time, you can analyze these results to learn what makes someone so excited about your brand that they tell all their friends about it on Instagram. You can use this information to level up your customer experience across the board and create more happy customers.
Superfans are loyal customers who are willing to recommend your products and talk about your brand to friends, family, and colleagues unprompted.
If you use an NPS survey (or a variant of it) in your ecommerce business, superfans are the people who are “9s” and “10s.” (Note: We’ll share more about NPS surveys later in this article.)
An example of a superfan is this customer, who posted on Facebook talking about how excited they are to wear their new The Mountain t-shirt.
Word-of-mouth marketing from superfans can be an ecommerce marketer’s dream. When they talk about your brand on social media, they generate more brand awareness and, usually, sales for your business.
This is almost too obvious to include, but it’s easy to forget to ask for feedback about how you can improve both new products and existing ones.
When you are in the weeds day in and day out, it is almost impossible to have an objective view of your products. But most of the time, your customers won’t share feedback with you unless you ask.
For example, if you sell gourmet ice cream sandwiches, you might see a couple of five-star reviews and think everything is great. But what if 5% of ice cream sandwiches turned into ice cream soup by the time they were delivered?
Unless you specifically ask for feedback, you won’t find out about this unless you see an uptick in complaints via support tickets.
When you listen to and acknowledge your customers, it signals that you value them. This leads to more positive customer experiences and higher customer retention rates.
Plus, when you treat your customers like human beings instead of walking dollar signs, you’ll learn more and be able to better tailor your products to their needs.
When you really understand who your ideal customer is and can provide an exceptional experience for them, this can help you lower your acquisition costs. You are providing a great experience to existing customers so they’ll keep buying from you. They will also be more likely to write product reviews.
And since you understand who your target customer is, you can update the copy on your website and marketing channels to better speak to them.
The result — more customers at a lower cost.
Did you know that the average ecommerce conversion rate is 3%–4%?
When you focus on optimizing your website based on customer behavior and feedback, you can improve conversion rates. If you increase your conversion rate from 4% to 5%, that could easily amount to thousands of dollars from new customers in a given month.
Simply put, brands that are truly customer-centric have a major advantage over their competitors.
You’ll have lower customer acquisition costs, higher rates of repeat purchases, more super fans, and likely better product reviews. This creates a moat around your business. It all stems from collecting, listening to, and valuing customer feedback.
You can’t manage or improve what you don’t measure. When you assign KPIs to different teams and individuals in your organization that are specifically tied to customer experience or feedback, you are showing that you prioritize it.
If you measure this consistently, you’ll begin to make improvements and see more promising results.
Now that you know all of the benefits of using customer feedback to improve your business, it’s time to collect, systemize, and streamline this process.
There are five different methods for collecting customer feedback:
Conduct customer feedback surveys.
Do one-on-one outreach.
Use website feedback boxes.
Examine user activity.
Monitor social media.
This is by far the most popular method for gathering feedback from both current customers as well as potential customers.
There are many kinds of surveys you can run, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll stick with surveys that cater to either potential customers/prospects or existing customers.
One of the biggest reasons to survey potential customers and create a market research survey is to better understand your target audience — from demographic details to specific motivations, preferences, desires, and pain points. Apply insights from the results to your website copy and marketing assets so that they better resonate with your target audience.
When you survey existing customers, you will most likely send either a customer success or customer support survey.
There are three primary types of customer satisfaction surveys:
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
Customer Effort Score (CES).
Net Promoter Score (NPS).
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is designed to measure customer satisfaction with your onboarding process, products and/or support team. These surveys are typically short and include a linear scale (i.e., rank your experience on a scale of 1–5 or 1–10). They are most often sent right after a customer emails or chats with a customer service representative.
Pro tip: If you want to calculate your CSAT score, just divide the total number of “satisfied” responses by the total number of people who complete the survey, and then multiply by 100 for your score.
On the other hand, the Customer Effort Score (CES) specifically measures user experience or how easy or satisfying an experience or interaction was. This survey is usually short and on a numerical scale of “very difficult to very easy.”
The third type of customer satisfaction survey is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This survey measures customer loyalty. It asks one question: “How likely is a customer to recommend your company to a friend or colleague, on a rating scale of 1–10?”
The survey groups customers into three buckets: detractors, passives, and promoters.
0–6: These are your detractors, who are the most likely to leave a negative review or buy from one of your competitors.
7–8: These are your passives. They are likely satisfied with the experience but aren’t going out of their way to tell others about it.
9–10: These are your promoters or superfans. These customers love your brand and products and will go out of their way to talk about them with their family and friends.
Pro tip: To calculate your NPS score, all you need to do is subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
Regardless of what type of online survey you run, here are some additional tips to help you get higher response rates.
Make sure the survey is engaging and easy to fill out. For example, a survey maker like JotForm provides free templates you can use.
Thank people for filling out the survey. You can even experiment with offering a coupon, a discount, or a freebie in exchange for completing the survey.
Include a mix of open- and closed-ended questions.
Edit your survey so that it is as short as possible. The longer the survey (and more time it takes to fill it out), the less likely people will complete it.
While more time-consuming than sending a survey, reaching out and chatting with customers one on one can offer insights you can’t get from an online survey — and it doesn’t take long to do.
One of the biggest disadvantages of online surveys is that people tend to portray themselves in their most favorable light. Or, put another way, they’ll answer the questions based on what they think you want to hear.
You can mitigate some of this if you conduct surveys in person or over the phone since you can read body language, decipher changes in tone and voice, and get additional customer insights through follow-up questions.
If you find yourself scheduling dozens of feedback calls, we recommend using appointment scheduling software, which allows customers to schedule the calls directly on your calendar and cuts down on the back-and-forth emails.
Feedback boxes on websites are similar to the suggestion boxes that you see by the cashier or check-out counter at your local retail shop or restaurant.
They allow you to quickly collect feedback and gauge sentiment from visitors and customers at various touchpoints on your website.
The best times to ask for feedback are:
If someone is spending a ton of time on a product page but hasn’t taken any other action.
If they are on the FAQ or knowledge base page.
If they recently abandoned their cart.
If they are about to exit your site.
On the thank-you page after they have bought a product.
There are several different ways to ask for feedback — from exit-intent popups to slide-out forms, live chat, and chatbots. The method you choose will depend on your customers and where they are on your website.
For example, if you notice someone has spent 10 minutes on a product page or reading a Help Desk article about how to use one of your more technical products, it might make sense to surface either live chat or a chatbot (with the ability to tie into a support agent).
On the flip side, if someone is about to exit your site, you want to surface an exit-intent popup instead.
In addition to feedback forms, there is software you can use to see how visitors interact with your website in real time.
This allows you to “spy” on visitors and observe what they do on your website without having to ask them through a survey, call, or feedback form.
For example, online technology tools like Full Story and Hotjar let you follow a visitor around on the site and see what they click on, how far they get into your site, and where they drop off. You can also view heatmaps and click maps.
With enough data points, the software can provide a detailed map to help you optimize your site for increased conversions. You can often achieve this through conversion rate optimization and A/B testing strategies and tactics.
A final way to collect valuable feedback is to monitor comments, likes, and shares on social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok.
Here are some questions to think through:
How many comments are you currently seeing that mention your brand specifically each day, week, and month?
How many comments are you currently seeing that reference your product attributes but not your brand’s specific name?
How is this trending over time? Are you seeing increased activity?
How do the number of mentions and social media activity you receive compare to your biggest competitors? Is it more or less? And how is it trending over time?
What is your most active social media channel?
What are your least active social media channels?
What’s the overall sentiment like for these mentions and comments — largely positive, negative, mixed, or neutral?
How does the social media sentiment compare to that of your direct competitors?
Pro tip: You can use tools, such as Talkwalker Alerts, Mention, or even Google Alerts, to monitor mentions of your brand and your competitors on social media.
Once you have all of the processes in place to collect and analyze customer feedback on a regular basis, it’s time to act.
To act on this data, everyone in your company should be able to see where this feedback lives, who wrote it, what it’s about, any attached files, and the current status. This will help you create a constructive customer feedback loop.
Pro tip: Software like Zapier makes it easy to route feedback directly from one channel to your central customer feedback database. For example, if you use JotForm for your customer surveys and Jira for your central database, you can create a “zap” to automagically tag and categorize customers’ responses as they come in.
One way to get feedback to stick is to turn it into stories. The more you can translate customer feedback directly into stories, the more likely you and your team will be to remember and act on it.
For example, you can automatically categorize it based on positive and negative feedback, and then create “happy stories” and “sad stories/negative experiences.”
Pro tip: If you are looking to create a customer story, make sure you get your customer’s consent beforehand. One way to do that is through adding an e-signature field and a disclaimer to your survey.
Not all feedback should be treated equally. You should create a process to triage feedback based on the following criteria:
Impact: How big an impact will the change make if it works?
Confidence: On a scale of 1 (no confidence) to 10 (extremely confident), how confident are you that the change will actually solve the problem?
Ease of use: How difficult is it to make the change?
As teams get better at collecting feedback, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of opportunities and to-dos. One way to keep customer feedback in the forefront is to assign a KPI related to it for each individual, team, or department. This ensures that your ecommerce business is truly customer-centric.
The final point is to revisit any feedback you implement. Find out if what you are doing is working.
Here are some questions to ask:
Are customers happier?
Are they making more repeat purchases?
What does customer churn look like now?
Is your conversion rate on your ecommerce store improving?
Are you seeing more positive mentions on social media?
Collecting, implementing, and analyzing feedback is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you have a pulse on what your customers think about your brand and your products.
The ecommerce brands that pay attention and actively demonstrate that they care about their customers will be the ones poised to grow over the next decade.
However, when you read articles like this one, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things you could do. You could wind up with analysis paralysis and do nothing.
We recommend starting smarter. Instead of trying to launch a giant customer feedback initiative across your entire team, start by asking customers who reach out to you a few questions, such as:
What did you think about your recent purchase?
How did you hear about us?
What could we do to make the experience even better?
You can always grow from there.