Customer experience is everything. From the moment your customer walks through the door they are evaluating your business and most importantly your service. You want to be sure you’re making a lasting impact — that you are satisfying your customer’s needs. But how can you be certain you’re achieving that?

Customer Feedback remains an invaluable tool to assist you in making sure your customers are getting the service they want and that you are retaining those very same customers. Listening to customer feedback can provide you with vital information that can help small business owners discover areas of improvement, land new customers, and foster loyalty in your customer base among a multitude of other benefits.

If you're not correctly utilizing your customer feedback, you could be potentially wasting your time and efforts towards marketing plans or products that do little to help your business.

There are many possible ways that you can engage your customers to receive feedback. Techniques that range from detailed email campaigns to ideas as simple as having staff note recurring comments. As you collect this information, you can begin to create clear and actionable steps to increase business growth.

Use email marketing to engage existing customer base

Getting people into your business is only part of the battle. Another important part is retaining those customers. Return customers are one of your most valuable assets when looking for customer feedback. These customers are already familiar with your brand and for some reason or another like it. You need to find out why. One of the most effective ways to accomplish that is with an email marketing campaign.

Businesses rely frequently on email marketing. With email marketing you are provided with a direct avenue to your customers — their inbox. Connecting with your customers through email is a excellent way to remain in the minds of your customers. Your customers are busy people just like you. Sending an email is an great way to give your customers a reminder that you are around and have exciting things going on with your business.

When you’re designing your emails, it’s best to keep it simple. Try not to go overboard with the visuals. Be sure to keep your email detailed and transparent. Let your customers know why you are seeking the feedback. It’s good practice and people love being involved. It helps shift your business from a place customers visit to a place they are actively involved.

“Hello_____,

Thanks so much for your last visit! We appreciate your business and hope you left completely satisfied with your service. In an effort to ensure that all of our customers are receiving the best products and services, we wanted to reach out to ask you to spare a moment of your time and let us know how your last experience was. This feedback will help us find out what products you are looking for an how we can use our resources to better help you in the future. Thank you so much for taking the time to help us. Your involvement helps us shape our company for the better!”

Be sure to include a direct call to action so your customers understand what you’d like them to do.

In a quick email you adequately engage your customers while at the same time including them in the development of your business, helping encourage loyalty.

Leverage your customer service

With today’s digital trends, your customers are almost definitely talking about you somewhere. Even if you don’t know it. Customers are able to leave reviews on a multitude of platforms and it would be your undoing to disregard them. This is where your customer service team comes in.

Every day your customer service team receives valuable feedback. Use it. Instruct your customer service team to take report frequent customer issues or requests. You can utilize this information to address problem areas for your business.

You customer service team, in addition, obtains a direct line to your customers. This allows them ample ability to showcase to your customers that your company is friendly and attentive. A good customer service experience can instill trust in your customer base and encourage return visits.

Have your customer service team handle posted customer reviews in a timely manner. Consumers trust online reviews. A 2018 survey showed that consumers are 64% likely to check reviews of your business before visiting. This means you need to be actively be monitoring and addressing online reviews. Use your customer service team to show your customers that you care about their experience and to provide them solutions that helps increase the customer experience.

Your team should also utilize the data gathered from your loyalty program. This one may not be as obvious, but how your customers use your loyalty program also provides tremendous insights. A good loyalty program will aid you in keeping track of what your loyal customers are purchasing and spending their points on. This is a considerable way for you to learn what your customers like and most importantly — what they desire.

You can additionally use your loyalty program to offer incentive for feedback. You can offer points or rewards in exchange for feedback. That way you receive valuable feedback for the growth of your small business, and your customers get rewards and better service. It’s an ultimate win!

Use your POS and checkout

You don’t have to wait for your customers to get home to ask for feedback. A great way to get honest customer feedback is directly at checkout.

At checkout, your customer’s visit is fresh on their mind — because it’s technically not over yet. This is the perfect chance to pick their brain and learn about the customer’s experience.

POS surveys are another effective way of collecting customer feedback. These surveys are customizable for the business, so you can focus the questions you’d like answers to. POS surveys provide a fast and flexible way for customers to let you know what they think. There are Saas POS systems that will allow you to couple trends with the feedback information.

Go engage your customers

You just can’t afford to ignore what your customers are saying. 70% of businesses use customer feedback to provide an unforgettable customer experience. New technology and services continue to provide customers more of a voice and business more opportunities to listen. Make sure you are talking to your customers. Most importantly keeping customer engagement as high as you can.

It’s crucial that small businesses don’t only focus on customer acquisition. Customer feedback is key to growing your business.