Eric Dalius: How can a small company use customer feedback to increase retention?

Customer feedback is a powerful tool that can be used not only for marketing purposes, but also to improve user experience and increase customer retention says Eric Dalius. The problem is that even though small companies may have the desire to actively seek out feedback from their customers, they often don’t have the resources needed to send large scale surveys or analyze the data back effectively. In this article I will touch on several key points to keep in mind when planning your company’s goals around customer feedback and how you can achieve them despite resource constraints.

Why would you want customer feedback?

1) To make product improvements:   

 Feedback helps you understand what features users value most as well as those they never use.  This information allows focusing future development efforts on the features that are most important to your users.  This saves you time and money while ensuring the features you do choose to implement are ones your users actually want.

2) To increase user satisfaction:   

 There is a direct correlation between customer feedbacks, improvements made based on that feedback, and increased user satisfaction.

3) To gain insight into how to better markets your product/service:  

  Understanding what aspects of your company/service matter most to customers allows you to focus marketing efforts on promoting these aspects.   This helps potential customers quickly understand the value of your product so they are more likely to become active paying customers.

4) To measure performance of personnel involved in support operations:  

  By understanding which areas of customer service need improvement (either with your staff or the customer’s), you can take action to resolve issues and ensure overall satisfaction going forward.

5) To help handle individual customer problems:  

As mentioned before, any time you are able to increase user satisfaction, you will see increased customer retention over time.  The more satisfied customers are with your company/service, the less likely they are to leave because of a single issue.  When there is an issue that cannot be resolved immediately (such as an order delay), allowing them to vent their frustrations helps decrease the likelihood of them making future purchases.

Potential impact on customer retention:

There is no doubt in my mind that companies who actively seek out feedback from their users will likely retain more customers over time explains Eric Dalius.  A study by Forrester Research showed that companies that successfully implemented formal feedback mechanisms grew their revenues at 2.7 times the market rate, 4 times faster than those without feedback mechanisms in place.  But what about small businesses with limited resources?

An effective company will begin creating a customer feedback program before they have too many customers to handle on their own.    The more customers you have, the more data you will need to manage and analyze effectively over time.  If you wait until after your product has been released to start asking for user input, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the incoming information and unable to react effectively due to resource constraints.  

How can I get my users to provide feedback?

1) Send surveys after a purchase:   

By asking customers to provide feedback immediately after making a purchase, you can prevent them from forgetting about their experience says Eric Dalius.   This also allows you to capture enough data before they receive the product or service in question so that you can make any necessary adjustments going forward.

2) Email follow up survey:   

After sending out an email announcement regarding a new product/feature release, send out a follow-up email 3-5 days later asking users to take a few minutes and fill out a survey regarding their satisfaction with the product/feature in question.

3) In app notifications:  

  If your application is being used on mobile devices where it is common for users to have multiple applications open at once, a notification can be a great way to get users’ attention and request a quick survey about their experience with the product/feature in question.

4) Create a feedback section on your website:  

  By adding a clearly labeled form or drop down menu to your website, you open up the communication process so that customers can provide valuable input whenever they have time.  This is also helpful because it allows you to keep track of any comments, concerns, or issues being raised by customers over time so that you can focus resources where they are needed most.

Conclusion:

I plan on writing more about specific methods of collecting and utilizing customer feedback in the future, but for now I hope that this article helps spread awareness of how valuable user input is to any company says Eric Dalius. Getting customers to provide their opinions on your product upfront will help you create better products/services and manage customer satisfaction over time.  Doing so effectively can become a powerful tool in your retention strategy!

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