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The best customer feedback channels - and how to pick them

28 Jun 16

Customer feedback is always interesting, but also always helpful in one way or another. Voice of Customer (VoC) programmes deliver significant competitive advantages to organisations that use them well. But, according to Qualtrics, too many miss the point and end up with one that fails to deliver. 

Bill McMurray is the managing director of Asia Pacific and Japan at Qualtrics, he says its all about choosing the right one.

“Central to VoC programme success is choosing the right customer feedback channel. The method businesses choose can make a big impact on the quality and quantity of customer data," says McMurray. 

At the heart of it all are two types of customer feedback channels: solicited and unsolicited. 

Solicited channels are methods used by companies who are always seeking customer feedback. Unsolicited channels are ways of collecting feedback that are initiated by sources outside of a company's control. 

Kyle Groff, principle consultant of customer experience with Qualtrics, has identified five key solicited and two unsolicited feedback channels for organisations to consider: 

Solicited

  1. Email surveys: Email is the most popular way for organisations to gather feedback because it is cost-effective, requires minimal effort to reach a lot of people, and is universally used. Businesses can also customise the survey to keep the experience simple and engaging. 

  2. Email with embedded questions: For businesses looking to answer just a few questions, such as a net promoter score (NPS) survey, embedding the first question into the body of the email can be useful. 

  3. Text message (SMS) surveys: SMS surveys work when organisations have customer mobile numbers and are looking to get responses to as few as five questions. SMS surveys can be more expensive than emails because of carrier fees but open rates can be as high as 99 per cent with response rates around 30-45 per cent, depending on the industry. 

  4. Web intercept: Websites with high traffic can provide a strong channel to interact with customers while they are already thinking about the company. 

  5. Phone interviews: Phone interviews can be made by an actual person or via an automated poll. Interviews achieve around 85 per cent completion rates but can be slow, and it can be difficult to collect personal or controversial information. 

Unsolicited

  1. Email: Unsolicited email can be a great source of feedback from customers that may not partake in solicited channels. It should be noted that this form of feedback tends to be negative as customers are more likely to engage after a negative experience. 

  2. Social media: Due to its popularity, social media can be a powerful tool for collecting customer feedback. This feedback can come in the form of likes/dislikes on a post, comments left on a post, or just simple tweets. 

With VoC disrupter providers, like Qualtrics, organisations can now have a VoC programme which is agile, flexible, and self-customisable. This means they can adapt quickly and easily to remain competitive. 

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