Customer feedback is absolutely vital if a company engaged in e-commerce is to understand and appreciate their customer’s needs. Receiving and responding to such feedback will also show the customer that you do care about their experience while visiting your site and just how much you value their custom.

How to achieve quality customer feedback:
This is no easy matter, but it is one that must be addressed. It is an issue that cannot be ignored if you are to achieve quality customer ratings, feedback and comments. Here are some highly effective ways to achieve your goals.

Offer live, proactive chat support:
Live chat is extremely popular with customers. They appreciate the ability to get instant answers about such things as product availability, payment and shipping options. This type of support also lends itself to getting closer to the customer and helps you better understand their needs and concerns.

One other benefit is that through analysis, patterns can be identified in terms of recurring issues. By identifying such issues, you will be able to correct them.

When implementing a chat support service make sure it is proactive. This can be achieved by setting parameters on time as to when the chat window appears. It is particularly useful when a visitor has been on your site for a reasonable period of time. Statistics state that proactively displaying the chat window function can increase a company’s number of chat sessions by up to 300%.

Feedback on live chat sessions:
Staying with this important theme it is important that you monitor feedback on your live chat sessions. Many companies that implement chat do not follow up with surveys after a ticket is closed.

This should be done. It can be based in a similar way to e-mail surveys relating to a customer’s response as well as the effectiveness of your chat-support personnel. It also means that if the customer responds with an unsatisfactory rating you can rapidly work to put things right.

Again, please remember the customer needs to feel wanted. If they feel wanted they are far more likely to make a purchase and remain loyal to your quality customer service and responsiveness.

Dedicated feedback forms:
As just mentioned, it is recommended that you carry out live-chat feedback surveys, but if you are not yet ready to implement this then at the very least you should ensure there is a clear and easily useable dedicated feedback form on your site that is clearly visible to visitors.

By offering this type of feedback you will receive a customer’s comments instantly and while they are on the site. Whether their comments are positive or negative this type of feedback gives you the knowledge on whether action is required and just how urgent such action is.

To maximise customer involvement these forms should be short, sharp and to the point, and where possible use multi-choice options for answers with any ‘final’ comments left for a comment box at the bottom of the survey.

Many companies find benefit in either a rating style feedback request – i.e. 0-5 in terms of the key elements you wish to analyse, or ‘yes’/‘no’ options with ‘no’ prompting further questions that should help you drill down to the root of any issues.

Remember to be polite in asking for fulfilment of these forms and thank each visitor that completes with an automated thank you (and perhaps a special offer or redemption coupon!).

Monitor social channels:This positive method of feedback is becoming an invaluable resource in terms of feedback. The usual suspects such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as the other social sites you are active on should be monitored.

This information-gathering exercise helps you understand the amount and type of mentions your company, products or services are receiving. This type of monitoring also allows you to check on how competitors are faring.

Any company that has not implemented this type of monitoring should think seriously about doing so.

High-value customers:
A personal, time-intensive, but highly effective way to keep your finger on the pulse in terms of understanding how satisfied your high-value customers are is to call them regularly. Keep in touch, sense their tone, ask direct questions and ensure they are getting what they expect. Act on the positives as well as the negatives.

A tip here:
The best time to call a customer is between 08.00-09.00hrs or 16.00-17.00hrs. Lunchtime (between 13.00-14.00hrs) is positively the worst time!