In the world of ecommerce there are a lot of strong opinions. No matter where you look, there are ‘gurus’ telling you exactly what to do with each piece of your business – promising amazing results if you take their advice. But, in truth, the only opinions that actually matter are those of your customers. After all, you’re building your business to serve them. And as such, you really should be building collaboratively with them as much as you can so that you find the ever-elusive product-market fit.
To do this successfully, you cannot operate in a silo based on whims and intuitions. Instead, you need to be able to test ideas, receive feedback, and then iterate based on the information that you’re creating. This is the foundational loop of the lean start-up model, and it only works when you take customer feedback seriously.
It may seem like an obvious question, but with so many companies paying it mere lip service, it’s worth emphasizing exactly why you should care about customer feedback at all.
When you’re so close to your own product, it can be easy to make assumptions about how your customer is experiencing the product that might not be true. How it looks and works from a customer’s perspective might be very different to how you perceive it from the inside. Good >customer feedback is key for bringing attention to any problems with the customer journey that can and should be fixed to improve your offering.
When deciding on a future roadmap, as well as what you should be prioritising in the present, you need to be using data to guide your decision making. It’s tempting to rely on gut feeling alone, but this is exposed to the bias of your management team and it might not be aligned with what the market is looking for. Customer feedback provides incredibly valuable data to be able to make decisions with a solid backing that you can trust. If your customers are driving your product then you’ll know that you are aligned and positioned well to serve them appropriately.
Being successful with ecommerce is all about optimizing your conversions as best you can, and customer feedback should be a key input here to identify where people are dropping out of your funnel, and what you could do to keep them in it. A good piece of feedback that leads to a small optimization could create tremendous value over the long-term if actioned correctly. In addition, a PWC report showed that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. But you need the feedback in the first place to make any of this happen.
When you show your customers that you are willing and even excited to hear their thoughts and feedback, you identify yourself as a company that genuinely wants to help them. This is essential to build trust with your key user base which translates to long-term loyalty assuming you deliver on what you promise. This turns into serious results with 43% of US consumers being willing to spend more on brands that they are loyal to. The mere act of showing that you’re listening, creates an environment for healthy two-way conversation that turns your fans into ambassadors.
When we build a product, we will often imagine a persona of a buyer and try to create something that is going to solve their pain point. This is mostly a theoretical exercise at first, but when you start taking customer feedback on board, then you start to fill in a much more nuanced customer persona that you can use to be much more precise. The more you can get to know your customers and what matters to them, the better you can fine-tune your offering to meet their needs.
There is nothing more jarring than negative customer feedback and that’s why a lot of companies choose to ignore it – but if you’re able to put your ego aside and take that criticism for what it’s worth, you ensure that you are holding your team accountable for high standards and a great customer experience. You don’t have to act on every piece of feedback because you’re never going to please everyone. But giving customers the option to speak up acts as an important check and balance to hold your feet to the fire and ensure that you’re continually improving things.
Those are just a few of the reasons that customer feedback matters. When you do it right, it can completely transform your business by empowering your customers to help you iterate towards a more efficient and more valuable ecommerce store.
Let’s look at some of the key types of feedback that are useful.
There are a number of different types of feedback that can be useful in this context.
Whenever you’re building something new or maintaining a fast-changing ecommerce asset, there are going to be bugs that creep into the code and bring the customer experience to a halt. No matter how comprehensively you test it internally, these are just part and parcel of the development process. If a customer can report a bug to you in the moment in which they are experiencing the problem, then that is worth its weight in gold because it can be immediately addressed and corrected. In this way, you are crowdsourcing your testing and can more efficiently fix any problems that arise.
In today’s modern world, your design has to be world-class in order to compete. Gone are the days where customers would forgive lacklustre design for the sake of a certain product or service. With so many companies competing for attention, everything you portray online needs to be top-notch. Every piece of design feedback that you can use to make your product better compounds in its impact on all the customers that follow – making for a much better experience overall. It often takes an objective third party to be able to point out these things as product designers and managers can be numb to something they’ve spent weeks or months building.
Any ecommerce business will have a vast roadmap for what features could be added in the future and it can be difficult to identify which should be prioritized and which should be ignored. You only have finite time, resources, and attention – so you have to perform triage in terms of what you build next. Collating the requests of customers is a fantastic way to use data to drive those decisions because, at the end of the day, you’re building these things for them. You’d be surprised what features customers care about if you just give them the opportunity to speak up and provide those insights.
It can also be very valuable to allow your customers to submit more free-form thinking in terms of what could make the product better. When you give customers the right tools to speak their mind and provide qualitative insights into their experience, you can often pick up very worthwhile anecdotes, ideas, and conversations that can inform your buyer personas and become key parts of your decision-making apparatus. These are a little more difficult and time-consuming to collect and analyse, but when done well – you can leverage those insights for maximum results.
Now that we’ve walked through why it matters and what we’re looking for, the logical next step is to think about how we collect website feedback efficiently. As we’ve mentioned, this feedback can come in a variety of different formats and we need a systematic way to collect it and analyse it so that we can take action.
Some companies rely solely on customer support emails and social media platforms to collect these feedback, but this is suboptimal for a few reasons.
Alternatively, you could implement one of a range of survey tools or the very popular Net Promoter Score (NPS) – but these also carry a lot of friction that disincentivizes customer feedback. No one really wants to fill in your survey.
The better way to collect website feedback is to use one of the various customer feedback tools for websites that have been built exactly for this purpose. These tools aim to integrate with your website to reduce the friction in the feedback process and allow users to quickly and efficiently respond to the customer experience they are presented with. On the back-end, you can then review that feedback in a systematic way and action it as needed.
Here at Userback, we’ve been hard at work building a tool of this nature, bringing a fresh take to website feedback that will empower you to take your ecommerce business to the next level.
Userback is a customer feedback tool for websites that can integrate directly into your ecommerce site and can start collecting customer feedback immediately.
What sets the tool apart from its peers is the ability to collect visual feedback from customers right there and then in the form of video and annotated screenshots. In the exact moment where a customer is experiencing your site, they can, within one-click, be recording their screen and overlaying their thoughts in audio format. This is a really powerful feature because it removes all friction for the customer while still retaining the nuance and context of the feedback that makes it that much more valuable.
Instead of asking a customer or user to spend time and effort trying to articulate their feedback into words that can effectively reference their online experience, they can riff over the real thing and give as much detail as they’d like because they have the visual aid to assist. Even though we work on this tool every day, we are still blown away by the sorts of new customer feedback that is possible when you do it in this way. It really opens the doors to a truly interactive experience that can only serve to make your product better.
In the world of ecommerce, this sort of visual feedback is even more valuable because it complements the analytics that you’re already collecting across your site and can provide the detail needed to improve on every aspect. The tool plugs into every ecommerce tool you can imagine including Shopify, so you don’t have to worry about yet another component of your workflow. It fits seamlessly into what you’re already doing and starts providing value straight away.
We hope that this article has illustrated just how important customer feedback is to an ecommerce business and that by collecting it efficiently and thoughtfully, it can be a significant multiplier for what you’re trying to build.
Try Userback for free and see how easy it is to collect feedback directly from your ecommerce website with annotated screenshots and video recordings.