The best ways to get feedback from your customers as a startup or small business
Starting a business can take many forms, and not every way is best for every entrepreneur/industry/situation. We've gathered together an ever-growing list of entrepreneurs, and they have agreed to share the best ways they have found to get customer feedback.
Word of Mouth
Emily Nitz - Lymphatic Drainage Massage Specialist LLC
"The best way to get customer feedback for my product or service is word of mouth. If you were on my table, you are my queen. I always take before and after photos so my clients can see the immediate, on the table results."
Talk To Them
Christopher Hadley - Spar Strategies
"Talk to them. Too simple? Well, you talk to them. Not an employee… you. Either in person or over the phone. You stay in touch with what is going on and the client feels valued. What’s that worth."
Adam David Jones - Zeer Safe
"The Only valuable way I know is to ask people directly. Have a conversation with them. It is hard to trust all research this way, because sometimes people tell you they love it and would pay the Brooklyn Bridge for it, but it doesn't shake out in the numbers."
Lexis Serot - Little Wins
"I have found that the best way to get feedback from the members of our community is through email campaigns. Within them, I've put surveys and suggestion boxes. I've been very grateful to all the many who submitted feedback as they play a huge role in development decisions."
Encourage People To Share
Scott Buell - Drone Legends
"We built a community hub, filled it with every educator that purchases and uses our products, and encouraged them to share their experiences. We allow positive and negative feedback from our community users. They also share interesting ways to build on our product, making it even better and showing us what "good" looks like, to them. Community matters. When you build a community around your brand, and allow them to openly express their feelings about it, good things happen for everyone."
Email & Google
Jessica Gould - J Gould Consultation
"The best way for us to get client feedback after assisting them is doing a Google review. Or emailing us directly. This allows us to give direct feedback to the customers and the google review helps showcase how much we're able to assist our customers."
Go Above And Beyond
Marvin Ojoh - GWOP App
"Our utmost priority is to keep our valued customers satisfied, which entails going above and beyond to ensure their happiness. As a result, they will enthusiastically spread positive word-of-mouth about our brand to others."
Sean Brown - Northern Utah LEDs
"The best way for us to get customer feedback is to send a personal text asking for an honest review of services with a link to Google reviews for Northern Utah LEDs."
If A Client Hesitates Delve Deeper
Andrew Murdoch - Ytera
"We offer done-for-you services at YT Era and these two strategies have proven to make a real difference. Testimonials/case studies and leveraging insights from client referrals. Genuine testimonials not only served as endorsements but, more importantly, they became valuable feedback channels. If a client hesitated or provided a nuanced review, it signaled an opportunity for my team and I to delve deeper, seek understanding, and improve. Similarly, referrals became our company's heartbeat, indicating our clients' satisfaction levels. An uptick in referrals often hinted at our recent wins, while a sudden drop urged us to recalibrate and ensure we were meeting our clients' evolving needs. By focusing on these two feedback avenues, YT Era has not only garnered trust but also consistently fine-tuned our offerings. We remain at the forefront of YouTube marketing for businesses and have done so without a single paid ad."
Deliver A Great Product
Justin Evans - Evans Werks
"When you deliver your product to a customer, look them in the eye and ask them "Please, tell me one thing I did right and one thing I could improve upon." You want BOTH kinds of advice. Most people do not know if their GOOD choices resonate with customers. Customers think critiques are only for delivering "constructive critiques." You want BOTH. (And, this is how you should be delivering advice to other people as well!)."
You Asked For It
Richard Canfield - Wealth Without Bay Street
"The best way to get feedback for our business has been to ask for it. We reach out proactively to our clients who do business with us and ask them to leave us a Google review. We have Google review locations set up all over the country of Canada, and our clients can easily choose the location that they are closest to or the location their Authorized Infinite Banking Practitioner is located in. This proactive practice which has built-in email and text automation has created rave reviews of our business. We are now well over 1000 five-star Google reviews of our financial services company since 2020. We also focus on a niche by teaching our clients the process of Becoming Your Own Banker and are a recognized authority in this space in North America due to our podcast and YouTube content coupled with our fantastic reviews."
"Trade goodwill for advice. Specifically, I have found that offering media value for free (hosting someone on a podcast, creating content for them, etc), makes it much more likely that I'll get honest feedback on the services I offer later on. In particular, I like to follow up with a "sanity check" style approach, and open with the suggestion that I don't know if what I do is applicable to the exec. That way, the pressure's off, and I'm more likely to get real input."
Launch A Lite Version
Adrian Dahlin - Search to Sale
"I'd recommend two ways to get customer feedback on your product. First, get interviews with your ideal buyers and ask them questions -- not questions about your product, but about their processes, needs, and challenges. Second, launch a lite version of your product and ask people to pay for it. When money is on the line, people are going to be much more honest and direct with their feedback than when it's just a theoretical conversation."
Karina Muller - Motivity Care
"Customer discovery is crucial to launch a product and develop a go to market strategy. We spent a considerable amount of time interviewing both the client purchasing the product and the client utilizing the product. Before fully implementing our go to market strategy we decided to put together a list of key beta testers that could test and utilize the product and give us extremely valuable feedback. The information and feedback from this process truly helped us improve our technology and focus our go to market strategy."
Provide Awesome Service
Richard Gaustad - Ranking Trainer
"The first rule of thumb for good customer feed back should be obvious, but many people miss it: Provide awesome service and an exceptional product. This creates happy customers who are delighted to provide a high star rating and written review when asked. Developing a good one-on-one relationship with every customer isn't possible for every company. But when it is, you should make every effort to do it. Your good reputation is infectious and others - when they know about it from reviews and feedback from your customers - will be attracted to do business with you. I've been self-employed continually now for 51 years and have operated 3 companies, each with revenues between $18 million and $40 million annually. I'm currently building my 4th company which we believe will exceed $100 million in revenue. So my comments are from decades in the trenches. As Zig Ziglar once said: "Give enough other people what they want, and you'll get what you want." It's a great motto for business success!"
Cold & Personalized Outreach
Michelle Guo - Magic Ave Media
"Cold, personalized outreach on LinkedIn is how I got started in my business. Not only does exercising cold outreach teach you grit and persistence, it also teaches you humility and patience. It's easy to get started on a low budget and you don't need the perfect niche in order to get valuable market research data. Even if you switch to a different lead generation strategy such as paid ads in the future, it feels reassuring when you have multiple options for generating business in your pocket."
Implement A Well-Thought-Out Strategy
Vashon Gonzales - Karat Card
"To obtain valuable feedback from customers, it is essential to implement a well-thought-out strategy. Firstly, establish multiple channels of communication, including email, social media, and in-person interactions, to cater to different customer preferences. Actively encourage customers to provide feedback by offering incentives such as discounts or exclusive access to new products or services. Secondly, create a user-friendly feedback mechanism, such as online surveys or feedback forms, that are easily accessible across various platforms. Ensure that these mechanisms are concise and straightforward, allowing customers to express their opinions efficiently. Finally, demonstrate attentiveness by promptly responding to customer feedback, acknowledging their input, and taking appropriate actions to address any concerns or suggestions. By consistently implementing these strategies, you can foster a culture of customer feedback, leading to improved products or services and stronger customer relationships."
Find It and Aggregate It
Kathy Schwartz - Small Biz Brands
"You can get customer feedback by connecting with your sales and customer service people. This may be you or someone you hired, but in any event, find a way to collect all of this information in a reliable fashion. Then aggregate it and discuss it regularly with your team and incorporate it into every aspect your business."
Make It Easy
Laniece Lane - Small Town Soul
"The key is to make it easy for the customer to provide the feedback. This can be done in a number of ways depending on your type of business. For retailers, it can be a link on the receipt. For service based businesses, putting a link in a follow up email or email signature makes it very easy for customers to click and provide feedback. The easier you make it for them, the more likely you are to receive it."
Follow Up Calls
Fred Warder - Joe Home Buyer
"As owners, we do follow up calls one week after the deal has been completed. It is a way to add another level of service to our customer as well as to check that all of our standards as a company were exceeded during the sale by my team. during this call we ask for a review and TEXT them link while we are on the call with them. We also ask if they are willing to do a video testimonial at this time as well."
"First, set the expectation for feedback early. From the initial meeting, don't hesitate to pave the way for testimonials. It's as easy as saying something like: 'My goal is to WOW you with my services. At the end of our engagement, I'll ask for your honest feedback as to your experience. Would you be willing to provide this?'
Second, remind them of this expectation for feedback throughout the engagement. Regardless of your specific industry, it's likely that things will happen where your client will be especially delighted by how things are going. That's the perfect time to drop a reminder, something like: 'I'm thrilled that you're pleased. Perhaps you could mention this in your feedback/testimonial when we've completed our work together.'
Third, make it easy. Our clients are busy, so make their providing feedback super easy. Send links that take them immediately to the page where the testimonial should be left. Or, consider arranging a quick 10-minute Zoom interview (that way you can guide the conversation and be sure that the feedback is received)."
Demo During The Trial Period
Ryan Bostick - FES
"We launch our product with a paid 90-day trial and then tackle the full platform after creating a demo specific to their needs in that trial. During the trial, we meet with the stakeholder teams (software users) for a few hours a week. During these meetings, we only ask questions with a slide about our products as a guide. Feedback about a product is great, but learning how to adapt your product to client pain points is more important to us. Providing a free trial and hoping to get feedback after never worked for us, so we tried a different path that worked. In the feedback sessions, we are always looking for three things. What will attain, regain, or maintain a client, or what features get us new clients, which helps us keep those relationships, and what do we need to pull back the ones we lost?"
Post on Social Media
Craig Wolfe - CelebriDucks
"There is no better way to get feedback on what you are doing than to post on your social media what you are doing and let people comment. We do this all the time for every new CelebriDuck we produce. People look forward to giving us their opinions and we love it. Also, before we even begin a new design we consult with our suppliers and fans to get their thoughts right from from the start. You can never have enough good feedback!"
Emphasis On Their Transformation
"The best way to get customer feedback is to ask them for it. Many want to help, they need a nudge, a link, and an example. For instance, an easy template to use is this: What was my life/problem like before I worked with (you/your company), what was working with (you/your company) like, and what's my life like afterwards? Emphasis on their transformation because they worked with you."
Get People To Use It
Gregory Mcbeth - Melier
"Unless the startup costs are high, the best way to get early customer feedback for your product/service is simply to get people to use it. Try it with family, friends, colleagues - anyone who would fit the profile of a likely future customer. The most thorough market research in the world will only get you so far. After all it was Henry Ford who said 'If I asked people what they wanted, they would've said 'a faster horse'."
Nothing Is Perfect
Matthew Pincus - Helpt
"Ask! Especially happy customers will be happy to provide candid feedback. Nothing is perfect for everybody and your existing customers will be thrilled to see you improving the product or service they already enjoy."
Interact Where Customers Use Your Product
"The best way to get customer feedback for a product is to interact with the customer in the setting they would use the product. If it is hiking shoes, go hiking... if it is a dog toy, go to a dog park. Watch them and talk to them in the real location they would use your product."
Julia Goldstein - JLFG Communications
"Nonfiction authors can get excellent feedback on their manuscripts by using beta readers. Beta readers get early access and a free copy of the finished book (digital and/or print) in exchange for their input. They either match the profile of your ideal reader or have expertise in your topic. I always provide guidelines explaining what I'm looking for. For example, does the manuscript flow well from section to section, and are any sections confusing? Is there anything that feels out of order? Are there places where you wish there were more examples or case studies? My beta readers have been fantastic and generous with their suggestions."
Ask How They Are Feeling
Deborah Coviello - Drop In CEO
"During a client engagement a typical question I will ask is how are they feeling. Often, before they start engaging with my service, they are stressed and off course; often rambling. When I ask later how are they feeling, when the say the feel a sense of calm and there is less noise, it's a good indicator we're doing the right work. Another more tactical approach is to ask a) What to continue (what are we doing well), b) What to start doing (enhance what we're doing well) and c) What to change (if we don't change, it could detract from what we're doing well)."
Spencer Loveless - Dustless Tools
"The best way to get customer feedback is to be in constant contact with them. Many times has business owners we make a cell that is the end of it. I stay in contact with our customers and getting honest feedback on what we did right and what we did wrong will give us opportunities to always improve."
Always Test & Never Assume
Lauren Schuives - Samavira Meditation
"The main strategy I learned down the road is to always be testing and never be assuming. You do have to create hypotheses according to your current assumptions, but it’s super important to never take them at face value. Instead, verify what’s the reality of your target audience, because what you think they want and need and what they actually may want and need may be very different, no matter how much of an expert you are in your niche."
Ask At The Point Of Success
Lisa Stambaugh - Much Ado About You
"The best time to ask questions is right at the exact moment when your customer has used your product or service successfully. It’s easy to follow up with a 3-question satisfaction survey: 1. What was your biggest hurdle when purchasing? 2. How would you explain this product (service), and what it does, to a friend? 3. Would you recommend our products (services) to others? If so, why? Question #1 could offer insight into where some potential clients are not following through with their purchases. Question #2 tells you, in the customer’s own words, what they see as your biggest selling point. And Question #3 provides a testimonial. After receipt, circle back to ask if you can use it on your site."
Draw Strength From Praise
Matthew Salter - Akabana Consulting
"Don't be afraid to ask clients for feedback during and after the project. For short projects, schedule a debrief meeting after completion. For longer projects, also build in regular review meetings. Ask for constructive criticism - for what went well and what could have gone better. Draw strength from praise, and learn lessons from criticism."
Overcome The Fear Of Asking
James Grant - Kirchen & Grant
"The most effective way to gather customer feedback for a service-based business, like a personal injury law firm specializing in litigating cases from other personal injury law firms, is to actively ask for it. Overcoming the fear of receiving negative feedback is crucial, as feedback helps businesses grow and improve. Implementing a system, such as conducting monthly or quarterly surveys or scheduling periodic follow-up calls, can be a straightforward approach. You can even consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle these calls and follow-ups regularly. Demonstrating to your clients that you've heard their concerns, addressed their issues, and implemented solutions to prevent future problems can set your business apart from the competition."
Irina Fine - Bamboo Learning
"We set out to build an intuitive, user-friendly product that children/students can use independently, with minimal parent/teacher participation. We collect feedback via focus groups, which are part of our product development process. We also run pilots at schools and publish efficacy research at the end of each pilot. Finally, we invite parents, teachers, friends, and family to participate in our beta testing. Overall, we believe in and are committed to co-design principles, and listening to our customers is always a top priority."
Create Tailored Surveys
Jeremy Kanne - Smart Yeti
"The best way to get customer feedback on a product/service is to create tailored surveys that are specific to a particular service and timing. For example, a survey that goes out 30 days after a client goes through onboarding to talk about their initial service experience. Then, for the same service, you could send them a similar survey that 6 months or a year later that asks similar or followup questions to see if their experience have remained the same, changed, or if there are new insights / feedback they can offer. Make sure to also have this information tie into a CRM or another method that aggregates the information so your team can derive high level insights."
Do Your Research
Boris Krastev - Remote More
"Do your research and probe the market you are in. The best way to get customer feedback would be to actually get out in the market and start selling your solution. I'd probably also do a bit of research to make sure that I am shooting in the right direction. Afterwards, I'd eagerly try to the initial sales metrics of this new product/service. This could be done even without having any product or service."
Just Be Yourself
Frank Barrett - Arc Light Solutions
"Just be yourself and ask for feedback. They're YOUR client, talk to them, and listen to what they say. Remember, all feedback, positive and negative, is good feedback. Build on the positive, correct the negative and keep moving forward."
Part Of Your DNA
Dallin Harmon - Vid Angel
"Customer feedback must become your company DNA. As customer-driven technology company, we live or die by our customers regular feedback. We accomplish this in two ways: 1. The formal way: We gather our customers' input via surveys, feedback sessions, user A/B testing, product testing and more. This approach has helped us stay ultra connected to our customers. 2. The informal way: We have frequent and regular discussions about our customers needs and wants, letting the conversations be guided by actual customer comments. These strategies, both the formal and informal forms of feedback, empower our product decision making roadmap to obtain a more complete picture of what our customers want and need."
Relationships Are Key
Peter Williamson - Barometer XP
"Relationships are the key to productive feedback. So often, I see feedback as a kind of transaction -- answer this survey and get a gift card, or respond to our drip email campaigns after a purchase. These approaches accomplish what they're set out to do, which is capture data. There's nothing wrong with seeking data, but when you want to measure things like learning and development, most people demand a higher level of trust before reflecting openly. With that insight, we focus our sessions around building positive relationships with teams and leaders. If they trust us as humans, we'll achieve a lot more together."
Fill In The Blanks
"Best way to get customer feedback is to ASK for it! Reach out to your clients and ask for their feedback, comments, and testimonials. If asking for testimonials, provide sample testimonials or scripted "fill in the blacks" forms for them to answer either in written form, audio or video form."
Ask Customer To Educate You
David March - Exergy Energy
"The best way I have found to get honest customer feedback is by asking them to educate you on their job. Ask them about their role and responsibilities. How do they cope with all the demands and challenges. Let them talk. Then put your product or service down, by saying something like, wow I didn't realize all of the things you have to deal with. I apologize that my product / service doesn't provide more value. They will then tell you why they like your product, but will then go on to tell you how to improve it."
Ask For Honest Reviews
"I realized early on that the coaching space is highly competitive and social proof was an absolute necessity to provide potential coaching clients with trust that you are legit and to stand out from the plethora of other coaches out there. We've done this through building a bank of Google Reviews, which is fully automated. When clients book in for a consultation we send them an email 24 hours later requesting an honest review of their experience, and so far it's elicited 129 5* reviews on Google and possibly puts us in the top 1% of coaches review wise!!"
Build A Community
Cam Howe - Investipal
"Building a community has helped us the most. We found that letting users know we don't just want to make money from them, but want to provide them with a ton of value and the only way to do that is through their feedback. They feel more engaged as they can help shape out the product evolution."
Be Ready As An Organization
Traci Scherck - Elevated Talent Consulting
"How does employee onboarding impact retention? Do you remember your first day on the job? Was it super organized and aligned with who you are or was it well… not the best experience? There is nothing worse that starting a new job and when you arrive on the first day, they are not ready for you. What does that say about the organization? What does the new employee feel about the organization?
This happens all too often and can lead to employee disengagement. Yet, what happens when you accept an offer for a new position, and they start engaging with you from that moment on? As you create these programs for your organization, here are simple tips to increase employee engagement and retention of your new staff! Benefits to a Structured Onboarding Process According to a recent SHRM article, Organizations with a structured onboarding process or program: 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years. Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity. for other career opportunities in There are three phases of onboarding our new employees. The three phases of onboarding are preboarding, orientation and onboarding. All three of these play an important part in weaving the new employee into the tapestry of the organization.
Preboarding A successful onboarding process starts with preboarding. Preboarding is that time between making an offer of employment and their first day. Preboarding is just as important as the other steps. This is where you start to integrate them into the culture of the organization. There are many activities that can be done to welcome this new employee and show them that they made the right decision in joining your organization. Some of those activities are having the team call, text or email the new employee to welcome them to the team. Sending company swag or gifts that the employee and their family can enjoy, such as a fruit basket or gift card. Orientation This then leads into orientation.
Orientation is the getting ready to learn part of the onboarding process. Orientation creates the foundation and therefore all employees no matter what their position should have the same orientation experience. As an organization your orientation process should include what information that you want them to walk away with. This includes the basics such as where to park, where to keep their belongings and where the restroom is. However, there is more, this is where you ensure that they know what the organization’s mission, vision, values, and culture are. Onboarding Then we move into the onboarding process. Onboarding is getting them ready to perform in the organization. According to Gallup, “Successful onboarding experiences create positive memories — and they shape employee expectations about what your organization values and how your brand meets customers’ needs.”
During the onboarding period we are continuing to integrate the new employee into the organization, this does not stop just because they have started working. Depending on your organization onboarding may take a month, 3 months or even a year. Understanding the Person for Onboarding that Impacts Retention When creating your onboarding program, it is especially important to know the natural behavioral traits of the person you are hiring so that you can ensure that you and the team are interacting with them in the way that they need to be interacted with for the most engagement. For example, Carlos, your new hire, appreciates receiving back-to-back phone calls from their new team members introducing themselves. Another new hire, Tami, feels that this is overwhelming. Therefore, it is important that we tailor our approach to match what the new employee needs."
"I have always valued relationships. I identify where my customer is at this moment in time, understand their key challenges (internal/external), benchmark their efforts against the competition and ensure that I link arms with them to be part of their journey."
May Mahboob - MBD Financials
"In the web3 space, which is still relatively new to many people, it is crucial to identify the existing challenges and introduce innovative solutions in an easy-to-use interface. Beta testing through user testing is an excellent way to gather feedback on the product's usability and design. Additionally, monitoring social media platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Telegram, and Discord to keep track of customer feedback and respond to any queries or comments is of utmost importance and can provide valuable insights."
Can't Replace In Person
Marc de Mul - Nut Hatch Naturals
"We have received customer feedback in several ways. Customer reviews on websites and email review solicitations will generally result in positive feedback that may not be an accurate reflection of what customers really think. The best customer feedback is in person, for example in stores or at craft fairs. You will know immediately if your value proposition is attractive and if customers like your product."
Twists and Turns
Nav Gupta - Chaarmi Worlds Inc
"The hardest thing for me was gaining the strength to handle the twists and turns that come with businesses. You can never anticipate things, and many times the things you never even thought about quite literally take over your life and time. You learn along the way as you make mistakes and keep building. Eventually you arrive at a decent spot to start growing, however it's after a lot of hard work and lots of sleepless nights and pain. No one believes in you or your vision until it starts coming to reality. Once you make things real, more and more will start to come around. Eventually you'll get there, just keep on keeping on!"
Quick, Cheap, Large Anonymous Surveys
Sean Hundtofte - Solve Finance
"In very early idea stages: use quick, cheap, large anonymous surveys to test what you think you know and hear from friends and family. Google surveys, survey monkey, others all have great cheap panels and you can get creative with filtering questions to get the group of people you want to speak to."
"For me, customer feedback means client feedback, so it's generally about an exercise in courage. Once you've served a client and been paid, the tendency is to move on. Maybe you send them a nice note here and there to keep them "warm." Remember them at the holidays, that kind of thing. I've found that having a frank conversation at the end of an engagement, kind of like the "retros" we'd do internally in my agency days after wrapping a project for a client, is a better move. It goes a long way toward cementing your relationship, and most importantly (and this is where the courage comes in), it may give you some invaluable pointers about how to do whatever it is you do just a little bit better next time."
"Recently I have found surveying target segments with neuroscience research is most beneficial. It tells not only what the consumer explicitly says but also their passive response to see if the two align."
Ask For It
Laurie Parfitt - LKP Impact
"Ask for it! Most people don't want to provide unsolicited advice that could be taken as criticism. If you have some great clients, put together a list of what you want to know and have a real conversation. Tell your client that you value their opinion and you want to make sure you are serving them in the best way possible. Not only do you get great feedback, you have made your client feel important."
Maintaining Strong Relationship
Laurie Colson - SalesTask
"Maintaining strong relationships with our clients, reaching out to them to see how things are going and what way we could serve them better. Being proactive in our communication and always fostering a safe environment for feedback!"
People Love Getting Asking Their Opinion
Bryan Rutberg - 3C Comms
"People love to be asked their opinion! Ask informally, and if you like the answer ask if you can have them write it down or re-state it "on the record." Ask formally via focus group or build an ongoing Customer Advisory Board with regular meetings and members who are representative of your customer base. If you are in a business-to-consumer industry, you're probably already getting feedback via online reviews, social media, and so on--make sure you are paying attention, answering questions or negative feedback promptly, and repurposing the best feedback on your website, ads, etc. (with permission, of course)."