Customer feedback is the opinion of the customer that can be constructive or destructive based on the product or service rendered to him. It is a measurable parameter against which a company can know customer satisfaction levels. It can know the things customers have liked and it can know the things they have disliked and the company can act accordingly. Customer feedback is very important as good feedback acts as a promotional tool and one satisfied customer will bring ten more.
7 Types of Customer Feedback
1) Reviews and Ratings :
This is the most common type of customer feedback wherein the company invites the customers to write a review about their product and provide a rating on a predetermined scale – usually out of 5 or 10. The reviews sections are usually open-ended and there is no capping on the words to be written. It also has a provision for uploading a picture of the product. While this is the case with online purchase, the same is followed in the offline purchase as well. The customer is presented with a form where the follow-up questions along with a section for review is to be filled and the rating is to be given.
2) Email :
Most of the FMCG products provide a mail ID at the back of their product which connects them to the customer service team. This mail ID is especially for feedbacks whereby the customers can share their reviews about the product or if disliked, they can explain the reasons why the product was bad. The company takes a note on it and acts accordingly. Nivea, a well-known brand, takes every mail from the customer seriously. If a customer mails dissatisfaction about any product, an immediate replacement for the same is given.
3) Personal feedback / Interviews :
Some companies may prefer personal one-on-one feedback with the customers. Interviews may be preferred by others. This depends on the type of product and type of customers. Personal feedback is the clearest way to know the customer feedback.
4) Discussion forums :
Google has an open forum discussion page where customers discuss the issues or complaints or things to do it yourself with other customers. Since it’s an open forum, a lot of queries raised by customers are answered by other customers and depending on the helpfulness of answer, the answer can be rated. Apple has similar discussion forums for its customers.
5) Suggestions :
At times, the company invites suggestions from loyal customers while launching a new product. This forms customer feedback and it helps the company to clearly address the issues or glitches which they may not have addressed in earlier products. Since the end user is a customer, the suggestions of the customer are important.
6) Videos :
Another innovative way is to collect video feedbacks from satisfied customers. A picture explains more than a thousand words and thus looping the customer video feedback near the products, in the showrooms, on social media encourages more customers to buy the product. Another advantage of video is it gives customers a feel-good value that their views matter and are being showcased on a grand level. This develops customer loyalty and fixes a long-term business and relation with the customers.
7) Other online Feedback systems :
To know if the customer has liked specific features of a particular product, the feedback is taken in the form of a set of closed-ended questions. In the case of clothing and apparel, questions such as “Did the size fit” are asked to know about specific aspects of the product. Others may have an open-ended response box while few may take only rating. Online food ordering apps like Zomato has made sort of food-social-media forum where people post ratings and feedbacks of hotels along with pictures and others can view it.
Importance of Customer Feedback :
While Sale is important to generate revenue, customer feedback is crucial to keep that revenue coming. Following is the importance of Customer Feedback:
a) Positive Customer Feedback :
If a customer provides positive feedback, the company can probe more and ask about specifics. These answers should be highlighted to other prospective customers visiting the page and thinking to buy. This feedback encourages them to make a purchase. The positive feedback can also be highlighted near price in order for customers to make a purchase.
b) Negative Customer Feedback :
Negative feedback is important because it helps the seller or company to act on the issue and take measures accordingly so as to not repeat it. For example, if someone has ordered for a soft toy, and they receive the toy in a damaged condition, the negative feedback will alert the company. Investigating the issue, they will find out that the product was dispatched in good condition but it was the transit that damaged it. Hence as an action, the company will discontinue the courier services and find another vendor. This issue will be rectified only if the customers give feedback.
Suggestions help the companies to modify the product according to the taste and preferences of customers. A famous example of customer feedback would be found in Marvel Comics. While everyone is familiar with Spiderman, which was created by Stan Lee, very few are aware that the archenemy of spiderman named Venom was, in fact, a suggestion of a fan and a reader named Randy Schueller. It was he who conceived the idea for Venom back in 1982 and it was purchased by Marvel Comics for $220.
Advantages of Customer Feedback :
- Positive feedback sells: After ‘Word-of-Mouth’ the next best thing is positive feedback. Positive customer feedback sells itself and unless tampered with, paves way for more customers in the future. Amazon survey shows that more than 50% of prospects read product reviews before making a purchase.
- Negative Feedback saves: Not all negative feedbacks are bad. Some help the company to improve the product and in the way, it is marketed. Negative feedback also helps the companies to serve better. At times, customers know about the product better than the product management team in a company and the company should always have open ears towards customers.
- Brand Awareness: Whether it be positive or negative feedback, the more the feedbacks come, the more is the brand awareness about the product amongst the customers. This brand awareness can always be leveraged by the companies by improving what is bad and highlighting what is good.
- Video feedback brings more conversions than any other kind. Companies use the video clips of customers and combine it to showcase as advertise it which highlights the product features and benefits. While surveys and other types are very useful for companies since they give the result quantitatively, videos help customers by providing them with qualitative information.
Disadvantages of Customer Feedback :
- Negative customer feedback may not always be a reliable source to make changes. Single negative feedback may matter if the product is of high value but single negative feedback does not show the fault in the product. There may be other factors involved which are causing customer dissatisfaction but surely it cannot be the product. Because if it was the product then the other customers would have given feedback on similar lines. On the other hand, multiple negative product reviews on the same lines send alarms to the company and it should proactively act upon the said feedback.
- For the customer point of view, not every positive feedback is true. If a customer goes to purchase shoes on Amazon and sees many positive reviews, there is always a possibility that those reviews may be fluked and may not be true. Making a decision based on such feedbacks will land cost the company loss of customers. Especially in the case of medical products, the review should be as genuine as possible.
- The most important disadvantage of customer feedback is the reluctance on customer’s part to give feedback. Most of the times, customers purchase a product, use it but never provide the feedback if the product is good while they may write lengthy feedback if the product is faulty. This may be frustrating for marketer since they should know what is being done right which they can replicate. Customers are reluctant to provide reviews and feedbacks in most of the cases.