Solid customer experience is the lifeblood of local businesses. It’s much easier to hold onto customers when they are happy with your products and services.
Gathering customer feedback is a vital part of understanding how customers feel about your business.
For many businesses, the absence of negative feedback is a sign of customer satisfaction. But, only 1 in 26 unhappy customers actually complain, the rest often say nothing and may even leave your business for a competitor.
Proactively asking customers for feedback gives you an excellent foundation for understanding and meeting their needs. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it will boost your customer experience and help your local business grow.
To collect the most meaningful customer feedback, it’s important to carefully consider which communication channel to use and when to ask customers for feedback during the customer journey.
When is the Best Time to Ask Customers for Feedback?
When you ask for customer feedback will largely depend on your industry and business model.
For instance, you may choose to ask customers for feedback following a purchase, after they’ve signed up to your gym, bought a house, or had their dog groomed.
Consider your business’s offering and when are the best moments to request customer feedback. Remember, you can ask customers for feedback at multiple points during the customer journey.
The main points to ask for feedback during the customer journey are:
- Following an interaction
- Post-purchase or post-service
- When a customer cancels their service
When to ask customers for feedback depends on employee training, collecting customer info, and putting requests in front of customers at the right moment. Giving customers a couple of brief reminders will also help increase responses since people are not always in the right mindset to leave feedback in the moment.
Following an Interaction
It’s best to catch customers when their experience with your business is fresh in their minds. Make it a habit to follow up after any interaction a customer has with your business, whether that’s a conversation with your bookings manager or a treatment at your beauty salon.
Asking for feedback right away usually means you’ll get a more honest and open opinion. If you receive negative feedback, it’s much easier to rectify it and provide your customers with a satisfactory solution too.
It’s important to train your staff on how to ask customers for feedback in a natural and personal way. Team members should regularly ask customers for feedback and think about how they can best approach customers. They can then supplement feedback requests with software like GatherUp to help them follow-up, gather, and manage feedback types.
For instance, car dealerships could ask prospects for feedback following an interaction between a sales rep and a prospect. You could ask the prospect about whether their questions were answered and if their overall experience was useful.
Here are some examples of how you could ask for feedback following a customer interaction depending on your business type:
- Doctor’s Office (dentists, therapists, and other healthcare providers) – Following an initial consultation, you could ask the prospect about whether their questions were answered and if the experience was useful.
- Real Estate – Buyers and sellers have different needs so it’s important to tailor your feedback request to each segment. Ask buyers following property visits if it matched their preferences as well as when the deal is closed or the search is off. Ask sellers for feedback once they have sold their property or called off the sale.
- Home Services (plumbers, landscapers, and HVAC) – Service businesses should ask customers for feedback right after a service is completed to check that customers are happy with the result.
- Insurance Agency – Brokers should check in with customers after they’ve confirmed their plan or after they’ve made a claim to check that they’re happy with the outcome.
- Law firm – Lawyers could ask for feedback following an initial consultation, once a case is resolved or when a client leaves their service.
- Assisted living facility – Receptionists and caseworkers should ask for feedback from both patients and relatives. They could ask for feedback once a person has moved into the facility, a few months after, every couple of months, and if someone leaves their service.
- Storage facility – Salespeople and receptionists should request feedback when a new customer joins the service, a few months into a subscription, and if someone leaves the facility for a competitor.
- Salon – Beauticians or receptionists should ask customers for feedback right after treatment.
Post Purchase or Post Service Completion
Another key moment for asking for customer feedback is following a purchase of a product or service from your business.
Local grocery stores could send out a quick customer feedback request following a customer’s weekly shop. A quick “how did we do today?” could go a long way. You could also ask customers more specific questions about wait times, the quality of customer service, and if they found everything they were looking for.
Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way of getting that specific feedback from customers.
Check out our guide to creating an effective customer satisfaction survey and try out our 20 recommended survey questions.
Real estate agents should ask customers for feedback once the deal is complete or the search is over. It would feel a little premature to ask for feedback midway through the process.
Read more about the untapped value of real estate agent reviews.
When a Customer Cancels Their Service
While we mentioned that unhappy customers are more likely to leave quietly than provide negative feedback, proactively asking them for feedback may help you understand where your business may be falling short of expectations.
If you’re able to quickly identify solutions, you may even be able to prevent those initially unhappy customers from going elsewhere.
Understanding why customers dropped your business can help you implement better customer experience strategies so that you retain more future customers.
For example, gyms should always ask for feedback via an exit survey if a usually regular visitor drops off or cancels their subscription. Law firms and doctors’ offices who may have a set of regular visitors should remember to ask for feedback if a customer suddenly leaves the service.
Exit surveys can be easily tagged within GatherUp to help identify the type of customer feedback you’re dealing with.
How Can You Ask for Customer Feedback?
Now you know when to ask for feedback, let’s look at how you can ask for feedback through different communication channels.
Each method is better suited to certain business types. For instance, a doctor’s office may be best suited to requesting feedback on flyers while a reservation-only restaurant may prefer to text customers feedback requests using the number that was used to make the reservation.
It’s important to test out different communication methods to see what your target audience prefers.
Generally speaking, though there are some methods that work best for certain business types:
- Law Firms – Email
- Restaurants – TextBack, text
- Real Estate – Text, Email
- Home Services – Text, Email, TextBack
- Doctors’ Offices – Face to face, TextBack, email
- Gyms – Face to face, text, email
- Salon – Text
- Assisted Living Facilities – Face to face, email
If your business is customer-facing you could ask customers directly how they feel about your business or provide them with a paper questionnaire.
At a local grocery store, the cashier could ask if the customer found everything they were looking for. Simple exchanges like this can be valuable for understanding how customers generally feel about your business.
You can also use face-to-face exchanges as an opportunity to remind customers that they will receive a text on an email later requesting feedback from them.
Some businesses like home health services or doctor’s offices may deal with older customers who are less familiar with technology. For customers like these, it can be a nice touch to ask them to share their thoughts via a paper questionnaire.
Requesting Feedback Via Email
When you send out feedback by email, make sure to personalize it to your individual customer or a segmented customer group. Address it to the customer’s first name and sign the email off with a team member’s name. Always send your customer feedback request from a real person and not from a generic email like email@example.com.
If you have an email subscriber list of loyal customers, consider sending out feedback requests at regular intervals.
10 Email templates for requesting feedback
1. Post-sale email template
Strike while the iron is hot and send a customer this request for feedback immediately following a purchase:
Thank you for purchasing a Toyota Corolla at Smith’s Car Dealership – we hope you’re happy with your new car!
We’d love to know how you found the experience of purchasing a car with us, so would like to invite you to take our customer satisfaction survey – it will only take 2 minutes and will be invaluable for helping us improve our service!
Thank you so much,
Founder of Smith’s Car Dealership
2. General feedback email template
After someone has been a customer of your business for a while, send out this email to encourage them to share their valuable insights. Include an incentive to increase the chance of them completing the customer satisfaction survey:
We’re always looking to make ABC Insurance exactly what you need for your insurance needs. As a valued customer, your feedback helps us decide which services to improve and which new features to add to our insurance policies.
To help us make ABC Insurance the best it can be, we would love some feedback. Take our survey before March 15th and we’ll enter you into a giveaway for 3 months of free home insurance (terms and conditions apply).
Director of ABC Insurance
3. Post hotel stay email template
Send out a quick request for feedback no later than a few days after a guest’s stay in your hotel. Personalized details help your message stand out and may encourage guests to complete the survey:
Thanks for staying at Swan Lodge. We appreciate you choosing us for your Thanksgiving Holiday plans.
To help us improve, we’d love to ask you a few questions about your stay. It’ll only take 5 minutes and it will help us make Swan Lodge even better for you and future guests.
Bookings Manager at Swan Lodge
4. Review request email template
Local reviews are a great way of making your customer feedback public and boosting your business’s credibility in the local area. Request an online review with this template:
It’s been great doing business with you. Thank you for being a loyal customer for the past 2 years!
As you may know, lots of people like you rely on online reviews to find great local doctors. With that said, we would love it if you could leave us a quick review on Google.
You can find the page by clicking on this link to leave your review and help other people like you find a doctor who really cares about their wellbeing.
Thank you again! We appreciate it.
Dr. Matthew Smart
5. Lost customer feedback request email template
Customers often leave businesses in silence but catching them before they go to a competitor is key to accessing some valuable insights. It can be tough to write to customers who have left your business, so try this simple template:
We’re sorry to see you cancel your subscription with us at CrossFit Xtreme. As a small locally-owned gym chain, I care deeply about our gym goers’ experience and wanted to take the chance to see if there’s anything we could do to improve our classes.
If you have 2 minutes to spare, I’d love for you to complete our survey. If you have any other details to share that aren’t on the survey I’d love to schedule a call with you.
We hope to see you at CrossFit Xtreme again soon!
Founder and Owner of CrossFit Xtreme
6. Post-service completion email template
As soon as your business completes a service for a customer, make it a habit to send out a quick personalized survey requesting some quick feedback:
Thanks for trusting Boston Air Conditioning Services once again to install your brand new unit. Your business means a lot to us and as a loyal customer, we’d love to know your thoughts when it comes to what we could do to improve our services.
We’d appreciate it if you could answer a few questions about our quality of service and your overall satisfaction with the job. Here’s a link to our survey – don’t worry it won’t take more than 5 minutes.
Have a great rest of your day!
7. New business feedback request email template
If your business is new and welcoming its first few customers, it’s a great moment to reach out for a few lines of customer feedback about your initial offering:
Thanks for giving Jake’s Juice Bar a try! We’re new to the area and would love to know your thoughts on our bar. Let us know anything from our juice menu to our music choice.
Complete this quick survey and be in with a chance of winning a three-month supply of daily juice!
Founder of Jake’s Juice Bar
8. New customer feedback request email template
New customers can provide a fresh perspective on your business and help you understand why customers are choosing you instead of the competition:
Welcome to May Law and Partners. We’re always interested to learn what new clients were looking for when they chose us to represent them. If you’re open to sharing I’d love to know what initially brought you to our site. When you have a moment to spare, I’d appreciate it if you could take our survey.
Anything that you’d like to share would be much appreciated!
Partner of May Law
9. Post-meal customer feedback request email template
Following a restaurant reservation, send out a simple feedback request that may include a survey asking customers if they’d recommend your restaurant to a friend and how they rated the meal:
It was great to see you in Jones Grill & Bar this evening. We hope you had an awesome time and that we’ll see you again soon.
It’d be great to hear you felt we did and what could be improved for next time. If you have a moment to fill in our survey we’ll enter you into a prize draw for a three-course dinner for two.
Jones Grill & Bar Restaurant Manager
10. Regular customer feedback request email template
If you have a subscription-based business, you should check in with your customers every few months to see how they feel about their subscription and its value:
We’re curious to find out how you feel about your gym membership you started three months ago. Do you think it’s helping you reach your fitness goals?
Take a moment to fill in our survey and we’ll give you a personal training session on us to say thanks!
Keep up the great work!
FitnessOne Gym Manager
Requesting Feedback Via Text
Customers want to be able to communicate via text and SMS from their phones. One study shows 71% of 30- to 44-year-olds and 65% of 18- to 29-year-olds said they would text a business more frequently if they had the opportunity.
SMS customer feedback requests are great for appointment-based businesses that request a mobile phone number at the time of booking.
Once the booking is finalized and the customer has received the service, send out a personalized note requesting a quick line of feedback.
While text messages are harder to ignore than email, they should be kept brief to ensure they keep customers’ attention.
10 Text templates for requesting feedback
1. Post-treatment feedback request text template
After a beauty treatment or similar, send your customer a simple note asking for some quick feedback:
Great to see you at Stella’s Nail Bar today!
Would you take 30 seconds to leave your feedback and a quick review?
2. Post-reservation feedback request text template
Within 24 hours of a customer dining in your restaurant, send them a quick request for a review:
Thank you for choosing Smoky Grill for your Valentine’s Day date night, please let us know how your visit was!
Click here to write us a review.
3. Reminder feedback request text template
Customers don’t always fill in feedback requests right away and may need a quick reminder to encourage them to get back to you:
This is a quick reminder to fill in our survey to be in with a chance of winning a $500 Amazon voucher before responses close tomorrow at 5 PM EST.
4. Regular customer feedback request text template
When someone has been a regular customer of your business for a while or has a membership, send them a text that values them as a customer and encourages them to leave some feedback:
Thanks for being a BuzzGym member for the past month! We’re always looking to improve our classes and gym facilities to help you achieve your fitness goals and we really appreciate any member feedback. If you have a moment could you complete our survey?
5. Post-event feedback request text template
If your customers attend events operated by your business, send them a text to see what they thought:
Hi Elena, Did you like 141 Melrose Street today? Let us know if you enjoyed the open house event and we’ll find some more homes that match your preferences.
6. Post-appointment feedback request text template
If you run an appointment-based business like a healthcare provider, ask your customers about specific details like wait times:
Thanks for dropping in today! How did you find our wait times today?
7. Post-service feedback request text template
Following a completed service, check in to see if your customers were satisfied with the service or if they ran into any issues:
Thanks for choosing us to deliver your organic grocery goods!
We value your feedback, please take a moment to answer a few questions about your experience.
8. Rate on a scale feedback request text template
If you want to gather some simple data and insights from recent customers, it can be a good idea to ask customers to simply rate your service on a scale. You can then follow up with any highly negative or positive ratings:
We hope you’re enjoying hot water in time for the winter! Please rate your experience of the service provided by our technician today, from 10 (excellent) to 0 (poor).
9. Following a meeting feedback request text template
If your business provides consultations and meetings with prospects, you should always check-in and see if it was helpful for them:
Did we answer all your questions today? Let us know if Laura helped make your membership decision easier.
10. Notification and a feedback request text template
When you notify customers that a service has been completed, it’s also a good time to ask them for a quick piece of feedback:
This is Eric at the mechanics. Your car is now ready for pickup. Let us know how we did today!
Using TextBack and Signage to Request Customer Feedback
You may prefer to invite customers to provide feedback by using receipts, flyers, or signage to advertise a number that customers can text.
A GatherUp TextBack integration makes it easy for customers to leave your business feedback by using a keyword and mobile number provided by your business.
Customers can then take action by sending a text containing the keyword to the specified number. GatherUp then sends an auto-reply with a text message giving your customer access to the customer feedback process.
As a bonus, you can also use this process to capture reviews on 1st party and 3rd party review sites like Facebook, Google, and TripAdvisor.
You don’t have to just use TextBack for signage reviews either. TextBack is great for automatically sending out feedback requests following a service, purchase, or stay.
5 TextBack templates for requesting feedback
1. Requesting a 3rd-party review TextBack template
3rd-party reviews are important for building up your local reputation and for understanding customers’ insights. Try this simple template for requesting a Facebook review:
I hope you were able to find what you were looking for today. If you have 2 minutes and wouldn’t mind leaving a review on Facebook we would really appreciate it!
2. Requesting a survey using TextBack template
Following a stay at a hotel or a beauty treatment, have TextBack automatically send out a survey request:
We hope you’re feeling relaxed and rejuvenated! If you have 5 minutes we’d love it if you could fill out this survey and let us know how we did!
3. Request questions and insights from customers using TextBack
Instead of completing a survey, customers could also send their questions and insights directly as a text:
Take a virtual tour of 313 Westgrove St. here: http://txt.tl
Are you still interested in 313 Westgrove St.? Feel free to reply to this text with any questions you might have!
4. Create polls using TextBack
Polls are a fun and informal way to collect quick feedback from customers:
What’s the next cake flavor you want to see at Rosie’s Patisserie?
- Strawberry and cream
- Peanut butter brownie
- Salted spiced caramel
5. Say thank you and request a review using TextBack
When you thank customers and make them feel valued, they’ll be more likely to do you a favor by leaving a review:
Thanks for staying with us, Will. We hope to see you again soon! Could you leave us a quick review on TripAdvisor?
Thanks for staying with us, Will. We hope to see you again soon! Could you leave us a quick review on TripAdvisor?
Tips for Getting Meaningful Customer Feedback
Knowing how to approach customers in the right way makes all the difference when it comes to gathering meaningful customer feedback.
First, you need to understand why customers don’t automatically leave customer feedback. People are busy and don’t always want to spend 5 or 10 minutes providing your business with free insights. Help customers to see the value in their response and that their input means a lot to your business and you’ll receive more feedback.
Step 1: Personalize Your Approach
If you’re relying on text messages or emails to request feedback, always personally address them to customers and make them relevant to each individual.
Instead of asking open-ended questions like ‘how do you feel about our business’, make them specific to the service or product the customer bought. Ask questions along the lines of ‘what would you like to change about our product?’ or ‘how could we improve our in-store customer service?’
Step 2: Explain Why Customer Feedback Is Valuable
Everybody likes to feel helpful. Try to highlight how feedback is invaluable for improving your business’s offering. You could say that you’re planning to launch a new line of products or want to add new features to your services.
When customers feel that their feedback has a purpose, and will help improve your business, they’ll be much more likely to share their thoughts with you.
Step 3: Keep it Brief
Most people don’t relish the idea of completing 20 question long customer satisfaction surveys. To ensure higher completion rates and lower drop-off rates, keep your survey to around 4 or 5 questions.
Include an option at the end for providing more feedback if customers would like to, but don’t make it obligatory.
Step 4: Provide an Incentive
Providing customers with an incentive like a discount, entrance into a prize giveaway or similar, can be a great way of encouraging them to provide meaningful feedback.
Rewarding customers will help encourage them to invest some time into completing your survey.
Remember that you can only offer incentives for internal feedback. You cannot incentivize a 3rd party review as this goes against the regulations set out by most review sites. So if you’re using GatherUp and asking for feedback with an incentive, turn off the review request links.
Step 5: Say Thank You and Follow-Up
Always thank your customers for taking the time to provide their valuable insights and opinions.
You should follow-up with any critical feedback so you can clarify any details and get any further insights.
Who Should Ask for Customer Feedback?
Depending on your business’s structure and industry, certain people will be best placed to ask customers for feedback.
Generally, team members in a customer-facing role are those that should ask for customer feedback.
Here are some examples of who that person could be depending on your business type:
- Real Estate – Agent or receptionist
- Doctor’s Office – Receptionist or doctor
- Home Services – Technician or doctor
- Car Dealership – Salesperson, receptionist, or customer support agent
- Insurance Brokers – Salesperson or receptionist
- Restaurant – Waitstaff, restaurant manager, or booking manager
Once customer feedback is collected, it’s then important that it’s properly logged and reported to the right person.
GatherUp can help you store all of your customer feedback, data, reviews, and surveys in one place. Get a full picture of your business through the eyes of your customers and begin to implement customer feedback and better manage customer experience.
Asking for customer feedback in the right way is vital for ensuring surveys have high completion rates and you receive more meaningful insights.
When customers feel valued and that their insights will help improve your business, they’ll be more likely to share their honest thoughts.
Make it a habit to regularly ask for feedback at different points in the customer journey and give a few of our templates a go too.