Practical Ecommerce

Tools, Tips for Collecting Customer Feedback

The rise of sophisticated data and reporting tools is providing tremendous insights for merchants. Etailers can now measure customer sentiment and even predict shoppers’ behavior.

But while such tools are indeed powerful, merchants should not rely on them alone. Merchants must not underestimate the power of reaching out and gathering feedback directly from customers.

Yes, etailers can likely infer what customers are thinking based on their behavior or purchase history. But some things are best understood when actually described by a person.

In addition, collecting feedback and talking to customers can strengthen your relationship with them. It shows that you care enough to reach out, something that is becoming increasingly rare.

This article will describe tips and tools for collecting comments or suggestions from customers.

Product Reviews

Rating and review tools enable you to collect information at a per-item level. They give you a better idea what people like or dislike about your merchandise, and this information can be invaluable in product development, marketing, and merchandising.

Product ratings and reviews can help you determine whether you should introduce certain colors, sizes, or features. They can also identify misconceptions you may have about your products or your customers.

If you don’t have a feedback or rating system on your product pages yet, consider the following.

  • Review-Script. An Amazon-style review system, Review-Script is licensed software that you can add to your store to enable customers to add comments and rate products from 1 to 5 stars. It sends email notifications when someone submits a review and it gives you the option to approve comments before they appear on the site. The software can be leased for $50 a year, or purchased for a one-time fee of $125.
  • Product Reviews. If you’re running a Shopify site, consider Product Reviews, a free app that adds a theme-friendly review box to your product pages. Product Reviews can be easily customized without manual coding and can automatically match the design of your Shopify store. With Product Reviews, you can quickly manage, filter, and export reviews and also add product review scores to your search results on Google.
  • Advanced Reviews. This popular Magento extension helps ensure the quality of reviews by allowing you to restrict them to customers who are logged in or who have actually purchased a product. Advanced Reviews helps customers, by making it easier to review products by checking pros and cons off a list, and by asking questions like “Would you recommend this product to a friend?” Advanced Reviews costs $99.
Review-Script is one of many solutions that you can add to your store to enable customers to add comments and rate products from 1 to 5 stars.

Review-Script is one of many solutions that you can add to your store to enable customers to add comments and rate products from 1 to 5 stars.

Social Media Monitoring

Monitoring social comments and customer feedback is essential. In addition to gaining insights on customer sentiment, reviewing and responding to comments received through social channels enables you to better control your reputation.

At the very least, ecommerce merchants should track comments about their companies using the native search features of social sites.

There are also a number of social search engines you can use to monitor mentions about your business. There’s Social Mention and UVRX, for instance, two free and simple services that let you conduct searches across various social sites and blogs.

When using these tools, put your search query inside quotation marks so that the system searches for the exact phrase rather than individual terms. For example, if your store’s name is Bright Purple Boutique, type it as “Bright Purple Boutique” to get more relevant results.

UVRX lets you conduct searches across various social sites and blogs — as does Social Mention.

UVRX lets you conduct searches across various social sites and blogs — as does Social Mention.

Email

Email gives you the opportunity to engage in rich (but private) dialogues with customers. It’s always a good idea to use it as a follow-up tool to gain feedback on your products or customer service.

If you’re using a customer service or email marketing platform in your business, there’s a good chance that you already have the tools you need to leverage email for customer feedback.

Most email-marketing solutions let you create autoresponders, which you can use to automatically engage and gather comments from subscribers. You can, for example, send a “Tell us how we’re doing” email to each user, after the first month.

Meanwhile, Zendesk is a customer support solution that can automatically send messages to request ratings or reviews whenever a ticket is resolved, making it easier to evaluate your customer service in your company.

Customer support platforms, such as Zendesk, can automatically send messages to request ratings or reviews whenever a ticket is resolved.

Customer support platforms, such as Zendesk, can automatically send messages to request ratings or reviews whenever a ticket is resolved.

Live Chat

Live chat is useful for providing real-time answers and customer service. It can help you better understand the motives behind each shopper’s visit to your site. (I’ve addressed live chat previously, in “Implementing Live Chat: Dos and Don’ts.”) Live chat can answer questions like “What is this customer’s purpose for visiting the site?” or “How are shoppers finding everything?”

In turn, these insights can enable you to make better product recommendations or assist shoppers in navigating your site.

If you’re considering adding a live chat application on your website, options include LiveChat, Website Alive, and BoldChat. Such solutions are customizable, mobile friendly, and offer reporting features that give you the capabilities to analyze not just shopper data, but also your customer service.

Many live chat solutions, such as BoldChat, are customizable, mobile friendly, and offer reporting features.

Many live chat solutions, such as BoldChat, are customizable, mobile friendly, and offer reporting features.

Jerry Jao

Jerry Jao

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Comments ( 6 )

  1. Ecommerce Income January 8, 2015 Reply

    Great article Jerry! I really like your point about how important it remains (and will always remain!) to talk to customers.

    I really like to use reviews to start to build up my relationship of trust with my customers.

    One thing you could add is a simple yet effective: a google docs document (or a more advanced form of some sort) on the page where you thank customers right after making their purchase – ask them here for feedback. Check out my article to see how to do this and more tips here: http://www.ecommerceincome.com/e-commerce-optimization/know-your-customers/

  2. Mr.MakingUsmile January 18, 2015 Reply

    I never thought of using live chat. I understand its important to talk to customers at the speed of business. Very good article.

  3. Kamil February 23, 2015 Reply

    Great tips Jerry! I would also add surveying visitors – you can do that in an effective way using insight survey, like Survicate – http://survicate.com

    Cheers
    Kamil

  4. Piotr Koczorowski May 21, 2015 Reply

    Amazing collection! I think it would be even better if you included UsabilityTools.
    It is a collection of tools, and one of them is named “Voice of Customer”, which specialises in nothing else than collecting customer feedback.
    You can set up a survey or a widget in 5 minutes and start collecting data immediately.
    Awesome to try out, since it features a free trial. Give it a go and see for yourself, worth it!
    http://www.usabilitytools.com

  5. Nathan June 16, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for a great post on how to do customer feedback right!

    We’ve put together a report on the 49 best feedback questions to ask your customers, which your readers may find valuable:

    http://get.usabilitytools.com/49-questions/

    All the best,
    Nathan from UsabilityTools

  6. Iren March 17, 2016 Reply

    Really useful information about Magento extension! But if you have some problems with their installation look here http://sam-ecommerce.com thye have a lot of articles with illustrations. Can be very helpful