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.
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)."