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When collected and implemented properly, customer feedback can help improve your product and the services that support it. Learning of how customers perceive your business is critical to building a customer-centric culture that strives to provide the best possible experience for prospects and customers alike.

In this article we are going to explore the best and most effective ways to approach customers for feedback.

Why don’t customers leave feedback?

Honestly, why would they?

Approaching customers for feedback the right way makes all the difference. Sending a request for feedback with a “Feel free to let me know what you think” doesn’t inspire people to respond. If you’ve been taking this “feel free” approach, the message you’ve really been sending across is “Eh, we could do with or without your input.” You must play to the motivation of why people write online reviews.

When you’re essentially mining for free data and insights from your customers, this is actually a pretty rude way to do it. Is it really any wonder response rates are low when they’re asked with such indifference?

You must prove that their feedback — should they choose to give it — will not be thrown into a shoebox and forgotten.

If you really want something as precious as honest customer feedback, you must be proper and intentional. Which brings us to the first point:

1. Know why you’re asking for customers feedback

Ask yourself why you’re asking for customer feedback. Are you looking to better your product by learning from customers how existing functionality may be improved? What features your users would want to see in your product? Or whether or not customers are satisfied with the level of support you’re providing?  

You can learn where you’re lacking by asking questions specific to one area of your business. This helps users dig in and consider one aspect that they’ve experienced and be somewhat critical of it.

“If you don’t use the information you’re asking for, you’re wasting your customer’s time. You’re also wasting yours. You’ll have a whole batch of responses to look through and none of them will make a difference. Instead, save time and get better responses, by including only the essential questions.” – Kissmetrics’ Lars Lorgren

When reaching out to customers look into the most effective ways to gather feedback. What questions work for you and which channels are customers most responsive on.

2. Open a conversation

When approaching customers for feedback make sure to ask questions that encourage a free flowing response rather than simply a YES/NO or a 3.5 out of 5.

“Ask what, not why,” says Claire Lew at Know Your Company. “For example, when you ask, “Do you have any frustrations?” it’s very easy for the person to default and say “no.” But when you ask, “What could be better in the company?” that question assumes that there are things that could be better. It opens the opportunity for someone to provide a more honest answer.”

While asking questions, dig for information that can really help you improve that area of your business that needs improvement. If the goal is to improve an outstanding issue some customers have been facing, ask how often the problem occurs — frequently? Not very often? When was the last time it happened? Keep prompting and digging until you hit on a conversation.

When reaching out through email one of the best ways to prompt a response is by ending the email with a simple “What do you think?” to invite a response. It’s not only the polite thing to do at the end of what’s essentially a monologue, but it’s a simple and assertive way to request a dialogue.

Squarespace takes a similar approach in its initial request for feedback:

3. Ask the right person the right questions.

But even something as simple as “What do you think?” can be too big a question. Stefano Bernardi at Betable offers the following advice:

Ask about parts, not just the whole.

“If you end your email with: “Can you give me some feedback?” I can guarantee you won’t be getting a ton of responses. Instead, you need to think about the strengths and skills of that person and ask for feedback on something specific, related to those skills.”

This is how Quora surveys its customers:

This email’s a winner for a couple of reasons:

  • Sent from a real person, not “Quora Customer Service”
  • Narrows the line of questioning to my experience as a writer (not just “how do you like Quora?)
  • Includes why they chose to contact me specifically (“We noticed you recently wrote answers”)

If you don’t have a template of your own, borrow this one!

4. Serve Feedback Forms

A short form on your website can work wonders when it comes to encouraging customers to provide feedback. However, at the end of the day it does boil down to what your goal is. If you’re looking to improve your help center articles, get an idea of why someone abandoned their shopping cart or how good a live chat experience was then feedback forms are the way to go.

Remember not to ask more questions that absolutely necessary in your form and always make the effort to ask the ‘right’ questions as that will ultimately determine the success of your effort.

a) Help Center Article Feedback

You will find several websites with knowledge base articles for topics with a message at the bottom asking what the readers thoughts are on the helpfulness of the support article. This practice encourages users to click a yes or a no button letting you know whether or not the article was helpful.

Google does this with all of their help center articles.If one doesn’t find a resource to be helpful you can present them with one simple question – ‘How can we improve?’b) Cart Abandonment

When a user leaves their shopping cart it means something went terribly wrong. To get to the bottom of why they decided against a purchase services like Qualaroo provide exit surveys/feedback forms that may be served when a user abandons their shopping cart.

If you could ask one question, I’d recommend you go with ‘What would have convinced you to complete the purchase of the item(s) in your cart?

This approach encourages a user to type what they feel would have convinced them to complete the purchase. If you offer up multiple choices, you restrict the user to pre-defined outcomes that you ‘feel’ are possible reasons abandoning their cart. You may get fewer responses this way, but the ones you get will be thought out and helpful.

c) Live Chat

After helping a customer or a prospect, asking for feedback on their live chat experience is something many businesses are now doing. The timing is perfect as the user has very recently been assisted by a live agent.

Let’s look at this example from hosting company, SiteGround. At the end of the live chat session a user is served a pop-up requesting feedback on the agent’s performance so they may improve their service and support.

This approach encourages users to click the ‘Rate’ button and submit a 5 star rating. Unless the service provided was absolutely useless, customers and prospects will more often than not give Nikola N a 5 star rating.

Getting customers and prospects to respond to a survey can help you learn what they like about your business and what they don’t. The real challenge lies in getting your audience to respond to your survey.

When sending users a survey email always remember to use a well thought out subject line. This one area will determine the success of your survey. If the subject is not catchy and doesn’t interest your customer – your survey isn’t going to get any responses.

If you’re of the opinion asking fewer questions is better, then Net Promoter Score is the way to go.

5. Get Survey & NPS Results  

Getting customers and prospects to respond to a survey can help you learn what they like about your business and what they don’t. The real challenge lies in getting your audience to respond to your survey.

When sending users a survey email always remember to use a well thought out subject line. This one area will determine the success of your survey. If the subject is not catchy and doesn’t interest your customer – your survey isn’t going to get any responses.

If you’re of the opinion asking fewer questions is better, then Net Promoter Score is the way to go.

You can email the NPS survey using Survey Monkey can or you could serve it as a pop-up on your website.

6. Conduct Social Media Polls 

These days businesses can gather important data through polls conducted across all major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

An example of capturing data through such methods can be seen in the Facebook poll below:

Conducting polls across social channels allows your business to informally engage users through fun, and easy questions for which results are displayed immediately after one has cast their vote. It’s a fantastic way to gather feedback and gain insight into what aspects of a product or service users appreciate and where things may be improved.

7. Send a personal note of thanks + follow up (not optional)

What happens when the feedback you received from a customer ends up being incorporated in a product update or a policy change? If the answer is “nothing,” then you’re leaving brownie points on the table. Customers love to know that they were heard.

The simplest, most underutilized engagement opportunity is the personal follow up note.

What a powerful way to make your customers feel closer to you, perhaps even part of your company’s growth story. There should be a B2B jail for those who squander this golden engagement opportunity. Especially because you can follow up easily, no matter the size of your business.

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The times they are a-changing, and that goes double for the small business world. Customers, their habits and preferences, they’ve evolved a lot over the last several years—and customer support teams are sprinting to catch up.

A whopping 87% of consumers say brands should put more effort into creating consistent support experiences. With changing customer needs and constantly evolving technology, that takes a lot more than just service with a smile.

That’s why the best help desk software for small business isn’t the help desk of yesteryear—it’s the one designed for the modern customer and today’s business world. A far cry from impersonal tickets and complex escalation, today, your help desk solution should empower your team to provide effortless and personal support to every customer.

Let’s talk about what that means, so you can decide on the best help desk software for your team.

What does your small business need in a help desk solution?

For small businesses, complexity is the enemy of growth. Everything from your computer operating system to your website and, yes, your help desk software has to work and work for you. The features that one business uses daily might just get in your team’s way.

That’s why the first step in choosing a help desk software for your small business is to step back and audit your individual needs.

What kind of support do your customers expect from you? What experience do you want to provide them? What about your existing customer support, can you improve? Deciding what you’re hoping to get out of implementing a help desk is the vital first step to help you identify the specific features your team needs to help them provide effortless customer support.

Help desk software that doesn’t complicate your life

The best help desk solution shouldn’t complicate your life. It should have fewer of the irrelevant features you don’t need and more of the powerful features that take your customer support game to the next level.

That’s why small businesses can benefit from a help desk solution that’s completely customizable — so you can tailor the software to your team’s unique needs, even as they evolve over time.

Multi-channel support to meet customers where they are

One of the biggest shifts in customer support recently is the growth of channels where customers can access (and expect to find) support. Gone are the days of traditional phone and email support.

Now, customers want support everywhere they are, from mobile app to social media to brand websites. In fact, Accenture found that as much as 89% of customers are frustrated when they have to repeat their problem to more than one support agent.

Your small business needs a help desk solution that enables your team to meet customers where they are—and continue the conversation seamlessly across support channels. The best help desk unifies conversations into one central hub, so your team can keep track of ongoing customer queries regardless of how many channels they hop across.

Powerful context to provide better, more efficient support

As customers demand faster and higher quality support, your small team has probably started to feel the heat. When push comes to shove between speed and quality, one or the other usually loses out. That’s why your small business needs a help desk solution that makes it easier to provide top notch support, fast.

That’s where powerful context comes into play.

Imagine how much more effective (and quick) your agents can be when they start with a complete and holistic view of the customer’s entire journey.

Kayako’s Customer Journeys and User Profiles give your agents that context—and powerful integrations serve up even more comprehensive customer information, ensuring agents have the whole picture. So your team can cut down the time they spend on back and forth, and provide the best, most informed solutions from the start.

Another way to lighten the burden on your team? Do-it-yourself support. Self-service support (like knowledge bases and FAQs) makes your life easier, but the best part is that customers love it, too.

Scalable customer support that grows with your team

One of the biggest challenges when shopping for software for your small business is finding a solution you can settle into. Too many help desks cater to small teams or enterprise—not both. But the last thing you want your team to spend time doing is relearning a new help desk every time you grow.

The best help desk software offers features that enable it to grow with your team—scaling and meeting your needs as they evolve with the business.

As your business grows to serve more and more customers, your team may or may not follow suit. You need a help desk that makes it easier for a small team to handle more customers and offers a seamless way for agents to collaborate as your team grows.

One way to stretch a small teams bandwidth is with the self-service support tools we covered above. Another way is by automating workflows, assignments and notifications. None of these need to eat away at your agents’ time. The same integrations from the last section expand your options for automation, too.

As your business grows and customer issues get more complex, your support team will need to rope in resources from across various departments to solve customer problems more effectively.

Your help desk should empower your team, not hold you back

Like any tool your small business invests in, help desk software has the power to make your support team’s life easier or much, much harder. With customer demands changing and most support teams getting left behind, your small business has the opportunity to turn effortless customer support into a competitive advantage.

Don’t settle for the clunky and bloated help desk of yesterday. Empower your team with a solution that frees up bandwidth and enables them to provide better, faster customer support.

We built Kayako’s integrated customer support software for today’s businesses and their customers. For more information about how we stack up against other help desks, compare Kayako to other popular solutions.

If you’re ready to put an end to customer support headaches and start creating better customer experiences now, start your 14-day trial of Kayako today—absolutely free.

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In the customer service and support world, it’s no secret that live chat is changing the game. From driving sales to boosting customer experience and growing retention, live chat has arrived as a fundamentally new way to interact with and support customers. Customers and support professionals alike have taken notice.

A Kayako study found that a whopping 41% of consumers prefer live chat over other forms of support, like phone, email, and social media. That’s why nearly 4 in 10 customers say they’re more likely to do business with companies that offer live chat support.

The benefits of using live chat for customer support are clear, but how can you be sure you’re using the best live chat software available? Read on to learn about what you should look for in a live chat solution.

The Features You Really Need

Like any other software solution, certain live chat support tools come with a laundry list of features—some of which you may not even understand and probably don’t need. Beyond the confetti, what are the features your team really needs from a live chat solution?

Any solution you invest in is less about features and more about what those features enable your team to do. The best live chat support should empower your business to do 3 main things:

Just like your team and company are unique, your needs are, too. But no matter what business you’re in, you can be sure these features are must-haves.

Customizability

Speaking of how unique you are, everything about your business, your customers, and the way you support them is different from other businesses. That’s why the number one most important feature a live chat solution can offer is flexibility. Flexibility to customize things like:

  • Which pages show your live chat box,
  • Your welcome message and chat availability, and
  • Automated workflows and notifications, among other things.

Another thing customizability offers? Scalability. The best live chat software grows with your business, allowing you the simplicity you need at the start and the flexibility and robust features a growing business needs.

Proactive Chat Capability

One of the chief benefits of live chat support is that it enables your team to reach out proactively—something traditional support channels lack. That means you can get proactive about moving customers through the buyer journey, answering common questions, and providing effortless customer experiences throughout the customer lifecycle.

Integration with Your Help Desk Software

Even the best live chat tool falls short of its potential when chat conversations are siloed inside that tool. To get the most out of live chat and all it can offer your business, your team needs to be able to get the whole picture when it comes to customer relationships.

That only happens when your live chat solution integrates seamlessly with your help desk software—allowing support agents to more easily stay on top of chat conversations and get a holistic and complete view of customer problems, so they can offer better, more efficient solutions.

Seamless Integrations to Bring the Customer Journey Together

Speaking of integrations, the best live chat tool needs to work seamlessly with more than just your help desk. Integrating various other tools with your live chat solution enables your team to:

  • Showcase and understand the entire customer journey,
  • Unify communications and notifications across support channels, and
  • Work better together with easy collaboration.

While the integrations your team needs can be as wide and varied as the features above, there are few that every team should ask of their live chat software.

Ecommerce Website and Point-of-Sale

If you’re selling online, you need a tool that works with your ecommerce website and point-of-sale solutions. From questions about your product or service to website errors and payment issues, plenty of support issues are born on your ecommerce site.

That’s why—whether you use Shopify, WordPress, or another solution—you need a fully native live chat app that can be right there for customers.

When these queries do arise, your team needs easy access to see where customers have been and what’s gotten them stuck—so you can cut down on the back and forth and provide quicker, more accurate support.

Team Communication and Collaboration

Your team needs to be able to communicate seamlessly and easily collaborate on support cases. That need multiplies as your team grows—onboarding more agents and taking on more and varied customer problems.

That’s why the best live chat app works hand-in-hand with both your help desk and preferred communication tools. Whether your team uses Slack, email, or another messaging tool, you need communication and notifications to run smoothly and consistently. From working together to escalating support queries, your live chat tool should be part and parcel with your help desk solution.

Customer Journey and Context

It’s no secret that customers have their own preferences when it comes to the support channels they choose to reach out for help. Between their engagement on your website and traditional support channels, to social media and offline interactions with your team, you need a live chat tool that brings it all together.

A tool that pulls every thread and conversation to weave a holistic and complete picture of each customer’s journey and provides support agents the context they need to solve customer problems. By integrating with social media (like Twitter) and your CRM software (like Salesforce), the best live chat app keeps track of it all—so your team can focus on the customer.

The Best Live Chat Software

Like any software solution today, you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to using live chat for your business. We designed Kayako for today’s customer support teams, not yesterday’s, and our live chat solution (Kayako Messenger) embodies that. The full-featured tool offers everything a growing business needs, and it’s totally flexible to change and scale with your team.

If you’re still weighing your options, see how Kayako compares to other popular help desk solutions like Zendesk, Help Scout, and Groove.

If you’re ready to empower your team with the best live chat software, start your 14-day absolutely free trial of Kayako today.

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In the current climate, customer experience is one of the main battlegrounds for sales organisations, often out-ranking factors like product and price. This can be especially true within the field of B2B sales, where customers are more informed than ever before, have higher expectations than in the past, and where existing customers are perfectly willing to switch to one of your competitors if you fail to provide the kind of experience they demand. 

It is, therefore, no real surprise that many sales companies are increasing investment in customer experience training and coaching efforts. In this article, we take a closer look at ten of the customer experience best practices that all B2B sales teams should adopt, in order to stay competitive, meet or exceed expectations, and build loyalty. 

1. Make Customer Experience a Priority 

The first and most important best practice for B2B sales organisations when it comes to customer experience is actually making it a priority. Interestingly, 89 percent of companies now believe they compete primarily on the basis of customer experience, compared with just 36 percent who thought the same back in 2012. Essentially, this means organisations live and die based on customer experience, so make sure your efforts reflect this. 

2. Define the Ideal Customer Experience 

Businesses attempting to achieve excellence with regards to customer experience need to go beyond fixing what is currently broken and responding to complaints. Instead, they must take the time to clarify precisely what the ideal customer experience is. It is only after this optimal experience is defined that a B2B sales organisation can take steps towards living up to that vision and delivering on their promise. 

3. Provide Tailored Services 

In the B2C setting, it makes sense to map the customer journey and plan sales enablement solutions and customer experience training around that. However, with B2B sales, it becomes slightly more complicated. While a basic customer journey map can still be valuable, all customer-facing personnel must also be willing to deviate from this and provide more tailored services, based on the needs of the client, with drastically different sales cycle lengths. 

4. Interact With Customers in Real Time 

Increasingly, customers are demanding some form of real-time communication to be available to them, allowing for instant responses to questions, queries and complaints. Indeed, according to research from Salesforce, 64 percent of consumers expect this kind of offering to be in place. Yet, real-time communication is actually even more important within B2B sales, where as many as 80 percent of business buyers expect it to be provided. 

5. Invest in Customer Experience Training 

To deliver a great customer experience, you must be willing to invest in training and this should not be restricted to customer service teams alone. Today, every channel is accountable for the customer experience and this means you need to provide all personnel with the necessary training to meet and exceed customer expectations. 

6. Create a Customer Service Coaching Plan 

In addition to delivering more general training, creating and implementing a customer service coaching plan will go a long way towards ensuring individual staff members are able to develop and continually improve customer service skills they require. To get the most from your plan, you should use sales enablement solutions to enable sales managers to carry out coaching activities consistently and regularly, using the right technology. 

7. Make Use of Voice of Customer Data

In order to understand and improve the customer experience you are currently providing, you need to make use of VoC data. According to the CSO Insights 2018 Customer Experience Study, 52 percent of ‘leader’ organisations – defined as those that had improved customer satisfaction ratings over the past year – make use of this data and have a VoC programme in place, while only half as many ‘laggard’ organisations are able to say the same. 

8. Take Advantage of Social Selling 

Social selling is where salespeople leverage social media to form meaningful relationships with clients and in B2B sales teams, this can greatly enhance the customer experience. Social networking sites are especially popular with millennials, who now make 73 percent of B2B purchasing decisions. To take advantage of social selling, share useful content and engage with customers in a less overtly sales-driven way on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. 

9. Do Not Neglect Mobile Customer Service 

Retail customer service has made great strides forward in terms of mobile support, and it is crucial that B2B sales companies do the same. This may mean ensuring web pages are mobile optimised, developing an easy-to-use mobile app for B2B customers, providing facilities for tracking the movement of goods on a smartphone, and so on. 

10. Focus On Achieving Consistency 

Finally, the key to customer experience is consistency. In particular, business buyers want to know what to expect when dealing with your business, and they also want to know that they are receiving the same level of service and support as your other customers. For this reason, you need to coordinate your post-sale efforts, seek feedback from all channels and ensure that none of these channels are lagging behind the others.

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