hug your customersOkay, admit it. As marketers, we’re a little obsessed with our customers. As influence marketers, we look at our customers as individuals instead of a large target demographic and we want to know all the little details.

We want to know their passions, their favorite things, and what gets them excited, we want to know their birthdays, what they do with their free time, what they do for work, what they think about our products, and what they think about our brand. We care about what they think (and for a good reason).

Your brand needs to revolve around the customer experience. No company can find success without engaged and happy customers. To discover more about your customers and their experience with your brand, you need to ask for feedback.

In a recent study, a surprising 43% of people stated that they don’t complain or leave feedback because they don’t think that the business cares.

In order to show your customers you care you should constantly be reaching out to collect quality feedback. Here are 8 effective tactics for data collection:


1. Surveys

When surveying your customers, you should test a long survey versus a short survey to see which has a higher response rate and which produces more quality responses.

For short surveys, you can use tools like Qualaroo to ask a simple question or conduct a short poll while users are active on your website.


For longer surveys, you can use the popular platform, Survey Monkey, which collects more than 2 million survey responses per day.

In order to ensure customers complete your survey, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Ask one question at a time
  • Avoid leading/loaded questions
  • Make sure rating scales are constant
  • Make it no more than 3 minutes long

Keep in mind, broad surveys can be helpful to your team but according to a recent study, 80% of customers have abandoned a survey halfway through.

Depending on how long your survey is, consider offering a small incentive for completing it like a discount code to your store or a chance to win one of your products.


2. Email

To collect genuine responses from your customers, you can simply ask them a question via email. Once they subscribe or make a purchase, send them an automatic email asking them a single question about themselves, their experience with your website, or why they subscribed. For example, after I ordered from the grocery delivery site, Instacart, they sent me an email asking how my order was.

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Once I clicked anywhere on the email, it brought me to this landing page:

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Their automatic email was helpful and probably collects tons of data every day. To further increase their response rate, they could let customers know that they’ll get back to them ASAP. In fact, 81% of customers said they would be willing to answer if they knew they would get a fast response. So to increase the number of customer responses, guarantee your customers a quick reply. (Keep in mind, if you tell customers you’ll get back to them ASAP and don’t respond for weeks, you’re breaking a promise and might lose their future business.)

Also, make sure to establish a system to keep up with your incoming customer emails. When I filled out my Instacart review, I immediately received an automated email:


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They didn’t promise to get back to me, so I am less inclined to take the time to give my personal feedback. But if I were to write some feedback, I’d hope they’d have someone there to respond to me promptly.


3. Website Pop-ups

Another way to collect valuable customer feedback is by using a website pop-up. Using pop-up tools like Foresee or PopSurvey, you can have a small window appear asking users on your website to take a survey. Here’s an example of what a pop-up can look like on your site:

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For more quick and simple feedback you can ask one question. For example, when I was on the Hubspot at the bottom of a blog article, this module popped up.

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Many people will fill out your survey or answer your quick question so using a pop-up can be a good way to capture data from relevant people using your website! However, there are some drawbacks to this method as well.

Pop-ups can also annoy people and drive them away from your website. They may distract people from making a purchase or interrupt what they are reading. Make sure to test your pop-up’s success and listen for complaints from your customers to know whether or not this is the best method.


4. Contact Forms

When people want to subscribe to your blog or email list, purchase your product, enter a contest, or download a free piece of content, make them fill out a form to get to the next step.

You can ask users for a variety of information but if you ask too much, people won’t want to fill it in.

Think about what you really want to know about your customer: What’s her name, her contact information, her job title, her birthday or any other information you might want to know?

In order to know which form length and questions work best, be sure to test multiple forms to see which has the best response rate. Below is a form from Kissmetrics. They require you to fill out 9 fields about yourself before you can download a free PDF.

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 5. Exploratory Interviews

Having one-on-one informational interviews with customers is an excellent way to get detailed information. Offer to interview them over a free lunch and ask them about their job, their life goals, what their biggest challenges are, how old they are, what their family’s like, their shopping preferences, what they think of a new feature etc.

An in-person, phone, or Skype interview can give you little details you might not otherwise get. If you ask a multiple-choice question on an online survey, you’re only going to get a basic response. But, if you ask that same question in an open-ended interview, you’re bound to get more detailed, quality information.

Not only is this a good data collection method for gathering feedback about your company, it’s also a great way to about find out more about your customers and create more detailed personas.


6. Focus Groups

Much like one-on-one interviews, focus groups allow you to collect qualitative feedback from your customers. However, focus groups involve a group of customers and a trained moderator.

With focus groups, you can hear customer feedback, uncover ideas and issues your team may not have considered, and have the flexibility to dive deeper into issues that occur during the session.

Keep in mind, these sessions can be expensive with fees for recruiting, facility costs, rental and moderator expenses, and compensation for participation.


7. Social Listening

Let’s face it, in today’s world of social media, people post about almost anything. What they’re eating, what hotel they’re staying in, the play-by-play of a live football game, you name it. To collect feedback about your company, you can simply listen to what consumers are saying.

Social listening has become an essential part of the entire customer lifecycle. Using social listening tools like Hootsuite and Social Mention, you can find out how customers feel about a product, service, or your brand in general. You can also collect customers’ organic ideas or direct requests.


8. Branded Community

Owning a branded community is one of the most effective ways for gathering information from your customer base. Using Mavrck’s algorithm, you can find out who your most influential Facebook fans are and invite them to a private group.Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.33.46 AM

Once you’ve built out your community, you can begin to collect valuable feedback from a pool of customers that accurately represents your target audience. With a community at your fingertips, you won’t have to put in the time and money to create a focus group. You’ll be able to survey them, ask them individual questions, and gather genuine feedback instantaneously.

Having a branded community can provide you with more in-depth data. You can use influencers to test new products, bounce new marketing ideas off of, and provide unique ideas for your company.