How to get constructive customer feedback

By Henry Brown

Customer reviews have become part of the currency of the web. They can have significant value. Direct, constructive feedback, however, is even better. This means you should encourage it as much as you can. Here are some tips to help.

Leverage your website

The main way to leverage your website to get constructive customer feedback is to give customers very short surveys at appropriate points. It’s vital to keep these surveys as short as you possibly can. Five questions is usually an absolute maximum. Less is better. In fact, ideally, you should ask a single, clear, and simple question.

Likewise, you need to make it easy for the customer to respond to your question. The standard way to do this is to have them choose from a short range of options. Again, keep these to a minimum. Generally, you want a maximum of five options. You can make these more visually appealing by using images such as stars, face emojis, and thumb emojis.

You can also use your website to identify people who might be useful participants in more in-depth research.

Make the most of social media

Social media is another great place to get customer feedback. The basic approach is much the same as for getting feedback from your website. You will, however, need to adapt to whatever platform you’re using.

Some platforms do have options for running polls but these tend to be very limited in their options. Many online surveys work by asking people to respond using different emojis or hashtags for different options. This also helps to boost your engagement rating.

As with your website, social media can also be a great place to identify people who might be useful participants in more in-depth research.

Run surveys and/or feedback groups

Quick surveys and polls can uncover a lot of valuable information. There is, however, a limit to what these “base bones” methods can achieve. If you want to get into more detail, then you need to run more in-depth surveys and/or focus groups.

These both take a lot more effort to prepare and to run.  This immediately increases the cost. They also take more effort to complete so you will often have to offer some kind of incentive to do so. With that said, the costs of running a focus group can often be reduced by running it as a videoconference instead of a real-world event.

On the other hand, if you have an important decision to make, then it’s advisable to gather as much information as you can before you make it. Running an in-depth survey and/or a focus group is likely to be much more affordable than the cost of making the wrong decision.

Remember the importance of testing

Customer feedback is often hugely useful for helping to identify changes you need to make in your business. Remember, however, that changes can have unintended consequences. That’s why you always need to test them thoroughly before you implement them for real.

The good news is that testing tools are getting both better and more affordable all the time. For example, these days a reputable Selenium alternative can test not just your website but your other software assets too.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover