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Actionable Customer Feedback that Delivers an ROI

Rules for getting actionable customer feedback are straightforward and vital to follow. Actionable customer feedback is essential to a successful business. It is the business’ responsibility to ensure that know how they are performing and what the customer thinks. Failure to do so means defecting customers and dwindling revenue. More importantly, the feedback has to drive action – leading to an improvement operational standards and connection with the unhappy customer. Specifically, there are 12 golden rules to follow  – these are our rules for getting actionable customer feedback.

1) Never Call it A Survey

Never call the list of questions a “survey.” This is an immediate turn-off to most people, and it is likely to leave you without adequate customer participation. When people hear the word “survey,” they tend to disengage from the conversation because surveys are typically associated with the following traits:

  • They take too much time and effort.
  • And driven by illegitimate intentions.
  • Often conducted with little or no context.
  • Always requesting sensitive information – with little value.


2) Ask for the Customers Help Instead

Instead of asking your customer’s to participate in a survey, ask them:

  • “Can I pick your brain?”
  • “Can I get your opinion on ____?”
  • “How might we think about?”


3) Carefully Time the Request for Feedback

Ask for feedback at the moment your customer is consuming the service. This “the point of their experience” and is the best time. There are two main reasons:

  1. Waiting too long will reduce the response accuracy and quantity of responses.
  2. But worst of all, a delay will mean the business cannot deliver an on the spot fix – before it is too late.

4) Request Feedback by Invitation Only

Invite (not force) customers to give their opinion – and let them answer on their terms:

  • Do not make it an obligation.
  • Do not push out requests to them when they have not consented.
  • Make it clear that sharing their opinion is optional.
  • That the data will never be used for any other purpose than business improvement

5) Give an Anonymous Option

Customers become anxious when asked to share their personal info. This means fewer responses so less data. The solution is to enable customer feedback with an anonymous option. You will get more responses and still have the data to take action.

6) Feedback Any Which Way

Always allow your customer to feel in control of their feedback experience. Give them the agency to fulfill your request on their terms. Specifically this means:

  • On a device they are familiar with – usually their own cell phone.
  • Using their preferred language.
  • With their most convenient input method like SMS, Web, Phone call

7) Only Ask for the Information you Really Need

Only ask your customers for the information you need. Otherwise, you risk low response rates and irritation. This also means you can be brief. In more detail:

  • Keep feedback time to 2 minutes max – about 7-9 questions. If you need more data, rotate the questions over time.
  • Think about what you do not know and of this, what is the most important.

8) Survey Smart – Use Dynamic Questions

A dynamic question set shows their responses genuinely matter. These questions change based on a previous answer. Eg. If your customer delivers a low rating – then the dynamic follow up is to ask ‘what was the reason?’

This delivers greater insight for the business so immediate, specific and actionable feedback is delivered. Moreover, these requests are only applied to the segment that gave the low score

9) Only ONE Open-Ended Question

Single-choice and numerical questions can be analyzed and tracked, They are also easier to convert to business action. Remember that open ended questions cannot – so need to be limited to one per survey.

This also improves survey completion time and puts less thinking burden on the customer – which means less survey fatigue.

10) TWO Minutes – Max

Do not fatigue your customers with a lengthy survey. Out of home feedback should never be over 2 minutes otherwise the incomplete rate will increase.

This means 7-9 questions – to be changed every few months.

11) No Incentive Required

Begin the program without any incentive. If you need more responses, add in a modest one eg. a monthly drawing for a $50 gift or Starbucks card.

A  short, easy, convenient survey on their terms will deliver responses without a prize.

12) Take Action

There is no point collecting 12 feedback data unless the business acts. It would also be disingenuous to your customers. Make it clear their responses will lead to improvement. For example, if their answers score low, your staff will be alerted, and the problem will be addressed promptly – and the business can connect with the customer.

There are many documented reasons to get customer feedback, but these articles fail to emphasize the importance of action. Specifically that the only reason to collect feedback is that it results in the business doing something with the data.

Feedback Resources to Deliver a Return

Get ahead of customer feedback and understand how to improve operations, lower HSE risk and deliver greater customer loyalty.