Customer Service Software

7 Steps for Getting Actionable Customer Feedback

Published by in Customer Service Software

Customers are the fuel on which every business runs. If customers aren’t happy with your services, your business won’t survive.

When customers provide feedback about your products or services, you learn whether you’re taking the right steps to provide a gratifying customer experience.

Sounds simple enough.

The problem? Getting actionable customer feedback is tough.

Most feedback requests are ignored, especially over email. Research shows that online surveys often only have a 10-15 % response rate.

Below, we’ll lay out seven essential steps for getting actionable customer feedback about your business and services.

1. Fragment your customer base

Don’t expect your entire customer base to respond to a feedback form with generic questions such as “How’s our support?” or “Did you like our services?” Remember that every customer has distinct expectations and pain points, often meaning that they feel alienated by general feedback forms.

To avoid sending broad and irrelevant questions, there are a few things to do before you even begin crafting a feedback form.

Group your customers based on the level and type of interactions they’ve had with your business. Sample categories include:

  • Sales
  • Refund policies
  • Customer support
  • Product or service information

Once you have customer groups ready, you can ask specific questions about their experiences.

Customers are more likely to answer a specific, relevant question such as “Please tell us what went wrong with your purchase today” than a broad question applicable to anyone.

What to do: Most CRM software lets you segregate your leads to ensure each receives a feedback form tailored to their buying needs or user persona. You can also dig deep into your live chat data to see how customers react when asked for feedback. On top of that, you can segregate customers based on chat ratings across sessions.

2. Time your surveys

Knowing the right time to ask for feedback is essential. Bombarding users with feedback forms the moment they visit your website results in a poor customer experience, and costs businesses more than $62 billion annually.

Here’s what we experienced at ProProfs when asking users to complete surveys.

Mike entered our website through a referral link, and customer support executive Kathy dropped a feedback form to him right away.

Kathy asking Mike about his experience with their website.

Kathy asks Mike about his experience with the website.

As you can see, Mike hit the back button right away and left the website without responding.

During a brainstorming session, we realized that we’re not able to guess buyer intent, and that immediately requesting feedback was repelling our customers.

Next, Kathy tried having a customized feedback form pop up when a user viewed a product page for more than one minute.

Customized feedback form pops up when a user views a product page for more than a minute

Customized feedback form launches when a user views a product page for more than one minute.

In this case, the user told Kathy what they were looking for and opened up about their expectations.

What to do: Start scheduling your website surveys based on user behavior to ensure customer relevancy. Leverage software tools such as a live chat software to track user interaction on your website, including pages they’re viewing in real-time.

The positioning of the survey form on your website is also crucial. Remember that the initial customer reaction to a feedback form is almost always clicking away. Make sure your feedback form doesn’t block the webpage content.

3. Check your tone

According to management expert Ken Blanchard, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

Forbes suggest that empathy is the driving force that propels businesses forward. When you ask questions, you need to carefully select your tone. Your questions shouldn’t sound rude or authoritative. Instead, aim for gentle and inquisitive.

Rather than stating “Your Feedback is Valuable to Us,” show them why it is. Here’s another real-life example from ProProfs:

 Michelle asks an abrupt question, prompting an abrupt customer response and departure.

Michelle asks an abrupt question, prompting an abrupt customer response and departure.

In this case, Michelle sounds as though she’s lashing out at the customer for not purchasing the product. Likely, her question is based on the fact that she has quotas to fill and targets to meet.

In addition to the abrupt nature of her question, the potential reasons for not buying that she offered are too robotic. Let’s check out a revised version:

Michelle asks the customer how she can help, and offers suggestions for improvement going forward.

Michelle asks the customer how she can help, and offers suggestions for improvement going forward.

This time, Michelle asks the customer how she can help, rather than why he didn’t buy. She also gives more personable reasons, such as changing “price” to “I expected a lower price.”

Jason responds that he expected a lower price, and is still willing to make a purchase now if he is offered one. Michelle transfers the chat session to her superior, who converts it into a sale.

The second survey looks more human, deploying a conversational approach while empathizing with the customer. When the customer felt that the business was concerned about addressing his individual needs, he responded with actionable feedback and a purchase.

What to do: Coming up with empathetic responses can be time consuming, and often requires effort that simply isn’t feasible during a live chat session as customers expect quick responses.

Using live chat software that offers canned responses is a game changer. You can brainstorm multiple empathetic responses at once, enter them into your system, and send using a single click during live sessions. Canned responses offer two unique benefits:

  • Standardization of agent responses without robotic language
  • Operators are spared from typing mundane responses over and over

Capterra’s live chat software directory lets you filter your search to only see software that allows you to establish canned responses.

Features list for Capterra

Features list for Capterra’s live chat software directory.

4. Initiate a dialogue

Believe it or not, your most agitated customers are your most valuable resource for business improvement. Knowing your customers’ most pressing concerns gives you a competitive edge without having to analyze rival strategies.

However, you can’t understand customers’ pain points by asking questions with simple “yes” or “no” answers.

What to do: Avoid the conventional approach, such as:

  • Are You Happy With Our Service?
  • How are Our Products

Instead, opt for a proactive approach that prompts a thoughtful, actionable response from the customer.

  • What could have gone better?
  • What did you like the most about your experience today?
  • What did you dislike the most about our business?
  • What areas need improvement?

If you’re still stuck or want additional ideas, check out these 7 Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions to Try .

5. Use autoresponders wisely

Once you’ve segmented your customers, it’s easy to tailor your emails requesting feedback. Now, you should examine whether email is the best way to ask for feedback.

The main drawback to using email is its terrible average open rates. Often, you’ll have far better results using live chat software.

Any time your support agents interact with customers through live chat, there’s an opportunity to get feedback. Ignoring feedback emails is common, but its harder to say no when a live agent asks for feedback in real time.

What to do: Ask customers to rate the chat session after it ends, or ask what they liked and disliked the most during the interaction. If they provide positive feedback, be encouraged. If the feedback is negative, you know where to focus your improvement efforts.

6. Offer incentives

When you seek customer feedback, you need to give them a good reason to respond. According to Survey Monkey, customers are more likely to respond to survey requests if offered associated benefits, such as monetary compensation or discounts.

What to do: Present your incentives during live chat sessions, clearly indicating that in exchange for feedback customers will receive a discount today, special promotional offers, or a coupon code for their next purchase.

7. Show customers how you’re using their feedback

Whenever you receive feedback from customers, send a thank you email recognizing their valuable contribution to your business. Mention how the feedback helps you improve products and customer experience.

Customers who see evidence of their feedback in action are more likely to provide feedback again.

What to do: Send emails demonstrating how you use customer feedback, or do it in real time by letting the customer on the other end of a live chat know what next steps you’ll take with the information they provided.

Track business improvements that began with customer feedback and write blog posts or self-service help articles about them. Link to this content in your thank you messages, letting customers see your follow through.

Get customers talking

If providing feedback feels like another task to your customers, they simply won’t do it. If you follow these seven steps, you’ll increase the amount and qualityof customer feedback your business receives.

If you find yourself continuing to rely on email, experiment with real-time feedback requests using live chat software. Combine feedback received from both sources to analyze where it overlaps and what areas need improvement.

Visit Capterra’s live chat software directory if you’re looking for a new system, and check out these posts for additional tips and tricks for improving your customer experience:

Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.

About the Author

David Miller

David Miller

David works as a technical writer with over 15 years of experience in customer support, David manages the entire marketing and technical communication for ProProfs Chat and is passionate about bringing value and expertise to every word that he puts on paper. He likes to play soccer or go for a beach run during his leisure time.


Comment by Kevin Adams on

Great article, I want to add – The visual feedback tool for websites feedback wedges its easily installed, effective and free

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