Advantages of feedback forms

TL;DR:

  • Feedback forms can give your business valuable insights into the customer experience that your existing customer data fails to address.
  • The perceived disadvantages of soliciting customer feedback tend to be the product of poor planning around how feedback forms and surveys are developed, deployed, and incorporated into strategic decision-making.
  • Form tracking and other types of software can help organize the data from this feedback and facilitate better customer engagement.

If you’re already using analytics to evaluate your full sales funnel and customer experience, customer feedback forms might seem redundant. You’re already piling up and analyzing data that tells you what your customers are thinking, feeling, and doing — so why waste everyone’s time by sending them a feedback survey?

In practice, though, feedback forms can offer valuable insights that add context to your performance data — and potentially fill in gaps that your analytics might miss. There are pros and cons to using feedback forms. But a strategic design and rollout can help you gather meaningful information that improves your marketing and sales efforts, and your overall customer satisfaction.

What are feedback forms used for?

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You’re probably already familiar with the consumer side of feedback forms: After making a purchase, signing up for a service, or even returning a product or canceling a subscription, you might be sent a form from the company asking you to answer a few questions about your experience with the product, the service, or the brand as a whole.

These feedback forms typically ask you to rate your experience across several categories, and perhaps to provide written feedback where applicable. Brands usually explain that your answers will be used to improve the quality of their products or services or to provide better solutions for your needs in the future.

Although this might sound like corporate speak to skeptical consumers, the stated purpose of these feedback forms is true. By sending out questionnaires to current and past customers, a business can conduct low-cost research that uncovers useful feedback, revealing trends about its buying experience and customer service. Around the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service and experience is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

This strategy can be implemented by businesses across almost any industry to supplement and expand their knowledge of their customer base. For efficient deployment, tracking, and analysis of these customer responses, businesses may want to consider adopting a modern form tracking solution.

The pros and cons of gathering information from feedback forms

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The value of feedback forms is hotly debated among certain segments of the marketing and sales industry. Although much of this has to do with the infrastructure supporting the feedback form solicitation process, it’s worth understanding both sides of the debate.

The pros of feedback forms are as follows:

  • You gain insights into your customers that your existing data might not offer. Sales and marketing performance metrics, and even tools such as Conversation Intelligence, can fill in plenty of information about a customer’s experience with your business. But this information doesn’t necessarily tell the full story. Feedback forms offer an outlet for gathering information that would otherwise fall through the cracks by asking direct and open-ended questions.
  • Soliciting feedback can improve customer sentiments toward your brand. Research from Microsoft suggests that 89% of customers want businesses to solicit their feedback through customer satisfaction surveys. Doing so may demonstrate that you’re paying attention to their wants and needs.
  • Customers may alert you to undiscovered pain points in your customer experience. From technical errors to unidentified sources of friction, this constructive feedback can lead to faster resolutions than you would achieve by waiting for data trends to signal a problem.
  • You can leverage insights to improve your customer experience. The feedback collected through forms can drive improvements in the same way analytics can enable continued refinements to the customer journey.
  • Feedback can ultimately increase retention rates and loyalty. When you listen to your customers and take action to address their needs, it builds a better brand experience. It also gives them more reason to stick with your brand over the competition.

However, it’s possible that collecting customer feedback can have some unintended, and unwanted, consequences and complications. These can include:

  • Your most unsatisfied customers may be the most active respondents. Unhappy customers may use feedback forms as a megaphone to air their complaints, skewing the perception of your customer experience. They can also distract from more constructive feedback you receive from customers interested in maintaining a relationship with your brand.
  • Feedback may skew more negative than the sentiments of your overall customer base. If you rely on feedback forms alone to represent your customer base, you likely won’t have an accurate representation of your customers and their satisfaction level with your brand.
  • Decisions resulting from this feedback could lead your strategy in the wrong direction. If customer feedback surveys — particularly those with negative commentary — are used on their own to guide strategic decisions, they could actually downgrade your customer experience by encouraging you to chase unsatisfied outliers instead of optimizing your experience for a larger, more reliable customer base.

Ultimately, feedback forms should be approached as a valuable audience research tool that requires proper deployment and management to create value from this process. Successful deployments will provide support through strategic guidance and the adoption of innovative, value-added tools such as CallRail’s Form Tracking solution.

How to use feedback forms to improve your sales strategy

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The problems associated with soliciting customer feedback can be contained and eliminated with proper planning and the correct utilization of this information. Here are some tips for leveraging feedback forms to generate meaningful value for your sales strategy:

  • Establish clear goals before soliciting feedback. What are you hoping to learn? Although it may be useful for some businesses to send feedback forms to all customers as a catch-all option for gathering feedback and customer data, others may be more targeted and strategic in how they use feedback forms. This includes the questions that are asked on the form: Make sure your questions are tied to the specific insights you’re hoping to gather.
  • Gather a large sample size of responses. A larger volume of data helps neutralize the influence of outliers.
  • Combine open-ended questions with leading and multiple-choice questions. When it comes to conducting research and gathering data, consider how questions set up the respondent’s answer. In some cases, you may want to restrict their latitude in responding to one of a few choices. In other cases, you might be an open ear that’s eager for any kind of feedback.
  • Make form submissions as easy as possible. Form submission solutions like CallRail’s Form Tracking software can help you easily build and deploy forms, minimizing friction and encouraging form completions.
  • Use existing analytics to validate feedback and see where both sets of data align. Form tracking can be easily integrated into your website. This integration can also track other points of engagement in each customer’s journey, creating data not only through the feedback itself, but also through improved marketing attribution before and after the form submission.
  • Offer an incentive to encourage form completions. A small discount on a future purchase, an entry into a prize drawing, and other rewards can be used to encourage participants to complete the survey.
  • Reach out in response to unique or alarming feedback forms. As much as consumers like to have their feedback solicited by brands, they’re temperamental if their negative feedback is not addressed. If you solicit feedback, be prepared to reach out and do some damage control to avoid creating even more negative sentiments. Form tracking software can help you stay on top of such interactions so you never let one of these forms slip through the cracks. For example, CallRail’s Form Tracking has a feature called Quick Response, which allows you to get in touch as soon as a survey from submission is made. You can even automate some of the follow-up responses depending on the type of feedback the participant provided.
  • Use form tracking technology to collect filled forms and organize their data. CallRail’s Form Tracking software makes it easy to organize and analyze data and share it with other sales and marketing solutions to gain valuable customer insights. The form tracking solution has a form builder feature. When paired with Call Tracking, it can unlock even more insights into your customer data.
  • Highlight your use of customer feedback when announcing new products, service changes, or other updates. Turn feedback into a component of your brand experience. When customers know you’re listening, they’re more likely to speak up — and to be more loyal to your brand.

Give your customers more of what they want

Soliciting feedback can be a slippery slope when you don’t have a clear objective in mind. However, by understanding the opportunities, limitations, and optimization capabilities of the feedback process, your sales team can use this info-gathering strategy to learn more about the company's customers. In turn, this will help improve the company's selling efforts and the entire customer lifecycle.

Start using form tracking to build a better customer experience — sign up for a free trial today.

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