Best Alternatives To Feedback Surveys

  • By Pietro Saccomani

Did you know that only one in 26 unhappy customers will share their concerns with a brand when they have issues?

By the time it gets to the complaint, it may be too late to save that customer, let alone the other 25 who are silent. If your aim is to provide value and offer a great product for your customers, you need to make sure to hear their voices.

One of the most common ways to collect customer feedback is through surveys. They’ve been around for a while and most companies use them for this purpose.

However, they have their faults too. And there are other, better tools for gathering feedback from your customers.

What’s wrong with surveys?

Creating a survey is quite simple, thanks to the many tools available in the market nowadays. Collecting data is super easy and the qualitative feedback you can get can be really useful, but there are some issues as well. These include:

  • Survey fatigue
  • Unintentional bias
  • Poor quality of answers because of faulty survey design
  • Lack of honesty if the survey is not anonymous
  • Hard to identify outliers

Even though the tools to create surveys have changed drastically over the years, the basis is the same - a list of questions with the purpose to get the customers’ opinions on something.

With all of this in mind, it’s worth taking a look at some alternatives to surveys.

Best alternatives to feedback surveys

Depending on your needs and the results you expect, you might want to use a tool other than surveys to get feedback from your customers. Here are our top choices - each of them with its own pros and cons to consider.

Feedback software

To create a customer-centric product and truly listen to people who spend money with you, there is no better tool to use than feedback software.

Tools such as FeedBear let you pool multiple sources of feedback in one place. If your customers send in feedback through website chat, emails, forums or social media, you can put all the entries in a single feedback board.

LeadDelta feedback board

This is where it gets fun. A feedback board allows you to manage, tag and categorize all that feedback. This means several things.

  1. You can avoid duplicate feedback entries/feature requests
  2. Your customers can vote on suggested changes to your product/service
  3. Both your team and your customers can participate

Once you’re done collecting feedback, you can create a public roadmap. This shows your customers what you’re working on and which suggestions are accepted and when they can anticipate them.

Also, feedback tools like FeedBear let you close the feedback loop. Once a suggested feature/product change goes live, everyone who commented on it or suggested it will get a notification.

Markuphero feedback board

The biggest value from tools like these is the two-way communication between your team and the customers. Instead of listening to what they have to say once per year, you get to talk with them all the time.

This is something that everyone in your team will love - from product to sales and marketing and even founders. You can move more quickly and make the right decisions.

Moreover, there is a huge advantage when you have quantitative and qualitative feedback at once. Surveys are great but extracting numbers from them can take weeks. Instead, FeedBear allows you to merge duplicate or similar ideas that customers can vote on.

As a result, you get ideas and requests that are easy to prioritize. Even more importantly, you’re creating a culture of openness, where customers are involved in product development. Moreover, they feel like their voice is heard and they are being listened to.

Last but not least, it’s not just about getting feedback from customers. You’re putting ideas in front of them and working with them before features go live. They can provide valuable input with comments and upvotes and help you expand your own ideas, as well as get new ones.

If you’re looking for an approach to feedback that puts customers in the first place and is both automated and personalized at the same time, feedback software is your best bet.

Want to give it a spin? Try out FeedBear for free today!

Customer interviews

If you feel like surveys are impersonal and you need more of your customers’ time and attention, doing interviews might be a better idea.

Customer interviews let you sit down with individual customers as they share their feedback one on one. Or if you prefer it, one on many - where customers talk to an entire team of interviewers from your company.

The biggest advantage of customer interviews is the intimacy that you get. The ability to sit down and have a customer’s full attention for 30 minutes or more is amazing.

You can talk to a specific subset of customers, such as those who just tried out your new feature or those that churned - the quality of the interaction, the depth and the fact you can go deeper and deeper with good questioning and listening, make interviews invaluable.

As for the downsides of customer interviews, the biggest one is the size of the sample. Sure, getting feedback from one customer is valuable, but at the end of the day, it’s just one customer.

Moreover, they’re time-consuming. Preparing and conducting a customer interview takes hours at a time. And it’s not just your time - the customer has to have a really strong reason to participate.

Let’s also not forget the work that happens after the interview. You have to record it, write down notes, extract useful information and write it down somewhere. And there is the major challenge of what to do with the information since most of the info you get is qualitative - rather than quantitative.

When done right, customer interviews can be a powerful method to collect feedback. The problem is, there are even more variables than with surveys and getting them right takes a lot of work and preparation.

Customer satisfaction scores

CSAT scores are one of the most common ways to measure how satisfied a customer is with your product or service. You can run CSAT surveys through a variety of platforms, including your website, within your app, through emails, or more.

One huge benefit of CSAT is that it allows you to quickly get an opinion on something about your product or service. If you need to put a number on your customers’ opinions, this is the quickest way to go about it.

On the flip side, CSAT scores can be very misleading. As mentioned above, they rarely show the outliers and statistics don’t always tell the truth. Instead of hearing the voices of all of your customers, the truth will be lost somewhere in the average value of the score.

net csat

Source

The biggest value of a CSAT score is also its biggest downside. While getting quick numbers as feedback is great, it only shows the quantitative feedback from your customers. For any qualitative feedback, you’ll have to dig much deeper beyond a CSAT score.

Net Promoter Scores

When doing customer research, NPS can be one of your biggest assets. Whether you like the results or not, NPS tells you the complete story on what you can do to make your customers happier.

On a scale from 1 to 10, customers rate how likely they are to recommend your product to people they know. That’s as simple as it gets. 

nps meme

An NPS survey is different from a CSAT in that it is more emotionally charged. You’re not just asking for someone’s opinion on a feature or a product update - you’re asking them if they would promote it and recommend it to a friend.

This makes it more likely for customers to leave both overwhelmingly positive and negative reviews. It fills the gaps that CSAT has and it’s fairly easy to measure and track.

However, it’s also just a form of quantitative feedback that rarely paints the full picture.

Brand mentions

What better way to get feedback from customers than taking a look at what they say about you? When you look at the entire internet, there are probably countless places where people talk about your brand and give you reviews, praises, and criticisms.

In the past, finding out what everyone talked about you all the time was a lot of work. You would have to manually search the web for your brand name and hope you capture everything in one go. Then rinse and repeat daily - or set up reminder emails when someone mentions you.

Nowadays, there are plenty of tools like Brandmentions or Brand24 that send you instant notifications every time someone mentions your brand online. Just enter your brand name (or even your competitor’s) and watch the mentions coming in.

Convenience is the name of the game here and it really is easy to collect feedback. The only problem is - remember that stat from the beginning of this article?

Only one in 26 people will complain when they have a bad experience with your brand. The remaining 25 are silent. So, if you use brand mentions, don’t rely on this method alone.

Social media monitoring

If you think catching up with websites that mention you is hard, try following your mentions on social media. With millions of people on different platforms, finding out what others say about you can be impossible.

Similar to brand mentions, there are tools such as Mediatoolkit that allow you to track social media mentions in real-time. Whether good or bad, you get to see instantly when someone talks about you.

The upside is that you can spot crises easily this way. If your website is down, you’re guaranteed to hear about it when notifications start flooding you from various sources. You’ll also be able to spot praises/criticism more easily.

On the downside, there is the same complaint as above. You’ll only hear a fraction of what your users really think. Unless they’re specifically asked to share feedback about your product, they won’t be too compelled to leave it on their own using social media.

Following customers’ reviews

Depending on what you sell and who you sell it to, there are various platforms where customers can leave reviews for your business. Starting from the obvious, Google reviews is one place to look at first. Not only will these reviews give you precious feedback, but they also may influence how you rank in search engine results.

In the SaaS industry, there are websites such as G2 and Capterra which publish reviews by your customers for the world to see. These websites also have an interest in publishing them, since they make a percentage of the sales from your review pages, usually.

The downside is the same as above - you’ll only hear a portion of the real opinions of your customer base. At the same time, you can follow these reviews using a brand mention tool as discussed above.

Conclusion

Feedback surveys are a great way to measure what your customers think about you. As you’ve seen, they have their pros and cons and they are far from the ideal method of capturing feedback.

At the same time, each of the alternatives mentioned above has its pros and cons as well. Depending on the goal you’re trying to achieve and the audience you’re working with, one or more of these alternatives may do a better job for you than running a simple survey.

If you’re interested in obtaining quantitative and qualitative feedback in a way that makes your customers participate, consider trying out FeedBear! It allows you to quickly get all the feedback you need to make your customers’ voices heard. Try out the free trial today!

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