Collecting customer feedback can provide you with invaluable insight into the customer process. These are insights that you can assume or guess out on your own, and can go a long way toward shaping your business in a way that sets it up to be more successful in the future. Unfortunately, information on how to gather feedback so that it is accurate, unbiased, and actionable, that is, leading to actual tangible steps you can take to improve, is sparse. Many who go the DIY route with their customer satisfaction surveys fall into common pitfalls of question writing and end up with data that doesn’t do them a lot of good.
Tip #1) Know what you want to know Seriously, before you start writing your customer feedback survey, narrow down what exactly it is you hope to come out more knowledgeable about. For example, it’s not super helpful to gauge overall “satisfaction.” Instead, think of a specific question like “What is stopping customers who have items in their cart but don’t proceed to checkout?” or “How can I improve my support options to make customers happier?” Having a guiding topic like this will help you make sure you have a consistent purpose through your questions.
Tip #2) Share where your customers are Sometimes, sharing a survey with your customers or trying to reach them in the wrong place can make it difficult to get a high response rate. For example, you could email your survey out to those on your customer email list, but what if you embedded the survey right on your website, on crucial pages, as well? Or if you have a physical store, maybe you setup an ipad with a survey to catch people as they leave the store instead. Try to get creative and reach your customers where they are actually most likely to actually be and respond.
Tip #3) Keep your brand voice in mind Remember, when you’re asking your customers to give you their feedback, your survey acts as a branch of communication for your brand. If the language or phrasing or tone of your survey seem to deviate too extremely from your brand tone of voice, it could come off as odd. Worse yet, customers could assume that you care so little about their feedback that you’ve hired someone externally to do your satisfaction research. Remember, that survey itself is a brand touchpoint, so treat it as such!
Tip #4) Avoid words and phrases that could push responses toward a certain bias Too often, surveys word their questions in a way that leads respondents toward offering up a certain opinion. While it’s nice to hear that you’re doing well or that customers love a certain feature, it’s better to make sure that your feedback is genuine and honest. Avoid framing questions in any way that hints at something being good or bad before you ask the respondent for an opinion of it.
Below we’ll take a look at some more advanced techniques for guaranteeing your surveys yield actionable results.
Advanced Tip #1) Avoid agree or disagree type questions When surveys give a statement and then ask respondents whether they agree or disagree with it, they may intentionally be biasing their responses. According to Harvard University’s own guidelines for sharing surveys, these questions often result in a bias toward more people choosing ‘agree’ than actually would rate themselves as being aligned with the statement.
Advanced Tip #2) Keep your survey to 10 questions, max When people bother to give you the time it takes to fill out your customer survey, you should appreciate that decision, not disrespect it by keeping them on the hook for longer than necessary. Plus, keeping your survey short is actually to your benefit as well. Research has shown that the longer a survey gets, the less time people spend on each question, because they get frustrated with the survey dragging on and speed up their responses on the later questions. It’s best to keep things more manageable and get to the point quickly both for your sake and for that of your customers.
Advanced Tip #3) Use question logic In the survey industry, question logic refers to the ability of a survey software to change which questions a respondent gets asked depending on how they’ve answered something previously. For example, if a customer answers that they have never purchased a teddy bear from your store, it makes little sense to ask them followup questions about the quality of the bear they purchased. Question logic lets you have the people who tell you they’ve never purchased a teddy bear skip right over the questions that pertain to that product. This can help you keep your questions as relevant as possible, which will also increase the chances that your respondents stick around.
Advanced Tip #4) Limit your use of open-ended questions. When it comes right down to it, it’s great to offer your respondents open-ended text fields that let them give a detailed opinion on a topic. That said, relying on these types of questions too much over more quantitative, measurable rating scales, etc. can make it hard to get data that’s easy to pick apart. Being able to tie comments and explicit suggestions to your business is great, but so is the ability to see where average highs and lows lie with your customer group as a whole. It’s a good idea to mix in quantitative and qualitative questions as your survey progresses, to get a nice balance of information coming in.
Finally, you should be striving to follow-up personally with every person who bothers responding to your survey. First, you should thank them, then you should dig into the specific answers you got and make sure you understand what actions you should take next to improve – this applies to those who had both positive and negative input for you!
When people decide they want to start off blogging or creating any kind of content for their business, they’re likely to come across guest blogging as a strategy fairly quickly. Guest blogging involves getting a guest spot on someone else’s website and creating a blog post that not only relieves them from having to fill a content slot, but gives you some exposure to their audience. Plus, if you have built up a following, you’ll be able to direct some of that attention toward the other person’s blog. In short, they’re a win-win.
Unfortunately, the way that most people approach a guest posting opportunity usually boils down to barely more than cold emailing people and hoping someone A) sees their email, B) bothers to open it, and C) actually reads it and does something about the message inside.
Instead, here’s a quick and easy checklist you can use to increase your chances of being accepted as a guest blogger on another site and using that siphoned exposure to help your own blog in return.
1) Identify a blog with audience crossover to your own. You don’t need to find someone writing about the exact same topic as you, but you do want to be able to identify some crossover between your audiences. For example, if someone runs a fitness blog that focuses on exercise and your blog focuses on diet, their readers might be interested in what you have to say.
2) Read a few posts. Get a feel for the blog by reading more than just one or two of their posts. Note the tone of voice and ‘angle’ they seem to have.
3) Comment. Leave some thoughtful comments on their post. If you’re the guy or gal leaving “wow. Nice post!” type comments, you will be ignored. If, however, you leave something genuinely thoughtful and which shows you were interested in and are interacting with their content.
4) Follow them on twitter. Next, find a social platform they’re on, usually twitter, and follow them. Share out a couple of their posts on your own feed over the next few days. Tag them in one of your tweets to make sure they know you’re giving them credit and to alert them that you’re sharing their content.
5) Send them a DM asking for permission. Before you pitch via email, ask for permission to do so. Send them a message on twitter letting them know that you have an idea you’d like to run by them, and if they have an email you can shoot it over to.
6) Craft an effective email pitch. An effective email pitch for a guest blog post gets to the point quickly. More importantly, however, a guest blog pitch focuses on much value and utility you can bring the person you’re pitching. Focus on what you can do for them, not on why they should help you out or how badly you need it.
Following these six steps, and having the patience to execute them over a few days, will put you miles ahead of every other pitch your target blogger is probably getting, and that’s definitely something.
It happens all too often: You stumble upon a product to promote, or someone’s personal website and it looks like it was created in 1999. You cringe and move on, and you know what sucks for that person? Their potential buyers and leads do as well. Everyone may think that their site is the special snowflake exception, and that it has a sort of old fashioned charm, but then everyone would be mistaken.
Landing pages change in effectiveness with consumer trends and buying habits, so it’s important to make changes to your own pages to reflect these. Here are a couple of major changes that have happened in the last 5-10 years, which affect how people buy online:
1. People are more sensitive to BS. Every landing page used to begin with a giant claim:
“WHO ELSE WANTS TO BE ABLE TO DO X IN ONLY Y HOURS… WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR BED!”
In short, headlines were sensational. They sounded exciting, but people have been let down enough to times to want to avoid them. In general, as customers got more comfortable online, they realized that anyone could say anything they wanted about themselves, and that they often did. While this increased aversion to sensationalism may or may not have affected your target market to a large degree yet, it’s coming, so make changes accordingly: Honesty beats sensationalism in many markets now.
2. People expect more of design.
Websites now generally look a lot better than they did even just a few years ago. Design software that’s suable by just about anyone has meant that it’s become increasingly easy to not have a sucky page, and people have come to expect this.
If someone lands on a page with the standard sales letter formatting with non-flat elements and giant, multicolored text everywhere, they’re going to bounce and never come back. Often times, seeing on of these pages makes people think that it has been abandoned or is no longer relevant – why else would the owner have left it looking so poorly?
3. Text isn’t your only option.
Remember when everyone started using video landing pages? The buzz of their effectiveness would soon spread like wildfire. The reality is that using different types of media on your site helps to engage different kinds of users, and accommodating all of them can help you achieve higher conversions. While you want one intended path through a page to be clear, it’s a good idea to still give users who want to learn about your product or offering in a different way the option to go somewhere and do so.
Finally, let’s stress something that hasn’t changed: Benefits vs features. Yes, the old adage holds true, people are much more likely to respond to specifics about how their life will be changed by making a purchase decision than they are to hearing about all of the bells and whistles your product has.
Of course, it’s a good idea to avoid that sensationalist trap here as well. Honesty and value win in 2016.
Think your site is a bit outdated? – then get in touch as we can help!
More often than not, the only strategy ever discussed when it comes to working and running a business from home is the outward facing work. You can find countless guides on advertising,. Marketing, SEO, blogging, and more, but your own personal productivity ritual is still a bit fringe.
Let me explain: It’s not that you can’t find people out there writing about morning affirmations and habits you can develop that will make you more productive, the emphasis put on them is completely different from the more ‘businessy’ topics.
Well, guess what: Your frame of mind, and by extension how you work, is much more important than you might think, even when compared with what you’re working on. In fact, nothing exemplifies this more than the runaway success of relatively recent startup Brain.fm
If you haven’t seen it yet, Brain.fm is a website that uses scientifically backed engineering to create audio tracks to help people become more productive. Going a step further, the service also allows you to tailor the music to individual tasks and intensity levels of working. One track might help you with coding, another with writing and editing tasks, etc. Don’t believe it? They have a free trial, so at the very least you can try it out for yourself and see if you feel anything… you might just be surprised.
Of course, trying to alter your brainwaves with sound isn’t the only way to go, and a number of factors often contribute to our productivity and how we engage with our work. For starters, healthy sleep, exercise, and regular snacking habits can all boost your alertness and your ability to focus in on complex tasks. So often, we get caught up in how much work we need to get done that we actually place ourselves in a state of mind that is counterproductive.
One of the best things any budding self-employed individual can get into is setting time limits on activities, and breaks, in order to start to build a schedule. This is especially useful for those of us who are prone to skipping from task to task, rather than staying on any one thing for an extended period of time. A good starting point is the 25/5 setup. Under this scheme, you set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on one single task for that time. When the timer goes off, set it for 5 minutes and take a break; do anything but work during this time!
When the timer goes off again, it’s back to work for 25 minutes. A couple of things generally happen when people adopt this strategy. First of all, their productivity on a single task goes up. Second, because 25 minutes doesn’t feel like a long time, and break time is built in, many people simultaneously feel like they are working less, while they’re in fact getting more done.
Pretty neat, right? Ultimately, what works for everybody is different, but this might be a good jumping off point if you aren’t quite synced up with the productivity you want from an entrepreneurial lifestyle just yet.