What are the Best Customer Feedback Questions to Ask?
I talk and write a lot about customer feedback. If you’ve read my article on Listening Assessments or downloaded our free Customer Interview Guide resource , you know I love customer feedback that tells a story and contextualizes our other data.
When I talk with folks about customer feedback, one thing I often hear is “What questions should we be asking customers?”
And the stock-consultant answer I always give is: It depends.
Of course it depends on your industry and your relationship with the customer and many other factors. But one factor that doesn’t get enough attention is the moments that we ask for feedback.
Below, we’ll look at seven key moments that might occur in your customer’s journey — and seven feedback questions to ask with each one.
Seven Moments, Seven Customer Feedback Questions for Better CX
Customer Moment #1: A customer seems satisfied, but not enthusiastic.
I often describe a “formula” for customer experience that goes a little something like this:
A key takeaway is that a customer’s perception has to be measured against their expectation. If they’re getting exactly what they expect, maybe that leads to satisfaction, but does it lead to more loyalty? More referrals?
Ask: “What should we add to our service or products?”
Sure, we measure things like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), but asking customers “what would make you satisfied?” really leads to a lot of “um” and “I don’t know” replies.
Besides, satisfaction is boring. Delivering extra value is what makes your experience stand out. When we ask “what should we add” we force our customers to share with us not only what might be missing, but how we can go beyond expectations to make a truly memorable experience.
Customer Moment #2: A customer matches the profile of one who is leaving.
We want our customer and client relationships to last forever and while the best of them may, a customer moving on is often part of their customer lifecycle.
When a customer is leaving or looks like they may be, a business might ask: “What could we do to make you stay?”
That’s… not a great question to ask. Instead…
Ask: “What could we improve today to keep you as a loyal customer?”
This is still a pretty generic question, but phrased this way, it’s a question with power.
Asking customers what you could improve today really empowers the customer to speak their mind and share specific frustrations and opportunities for improvement.
I once heard the major source of frustration was the invoicing. This can be solved easily, and in fact, we did change it THAT DAY. That is power!
Customer Moment #3: A customer leaves you for a competitor.
Those customers who leave don’t just disappear, they often go to a competitor. If you’ve got the type of relationship where it’s appropriate to follow up with them, reach out after a few weeks and…
Ask: “How is it going? Can you share what’s working better?”
Some of the most candid customers are former customers. Asking former customers how their experience with a competitor has been better can be an incredible resource to understand not only more about what competitors are doing well, but where your own organization could make improvements.
To be clear, the goal here is not to try re-secure THIS sale. Don’t make it about winning the customer back! Make it about creating a better future for everyone.
Customer Moment #4: A new customer raves about their first engagement with your organization.
A thrilled customer is always worth celebrating — but a thrilled customer does not mean the job is done.
In the moment when they’re excited and happy to be a customer of yours…
Ask: “Can you think of others who I should talk to? We build our business on referrals.”
Regardless of the degree to which your organization relies on referrals, data shows that referred customers stick around longer, are more likely to refer more additional customers, and have a greater Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) than others.
Whether you’re asking for a direct referral, a testimonial, or a product review — asking at the right moment can be as key as asking at all.
Customer Moment #5: A customer expresses frustration with how things are going.
When customers are frustrated, it’s easy to be prescriptive in suggesting solutions.
But sometimes the best thing you can do is ask the customer what they need.
Ask: “What would make it easier? Name anything.”
Help your customer remove the limitations and consider ways to help you help them.
Often, we assume certain things can’t change and accept the frustration that comes along with them. If we remove those restrictions from our thinking, we see much more potential for improvement, which is liberating and empowering.
Customer Moment #6: A client completes a specific process within their journey.
There are specific moments in our journeys that every customer will go through — whether that’s researching, purchasing, onboarding, or otherwise.
Sometimes it can be helpful to narrow down the focus and ask a customer about just that specific process.
Ask: Questions that start with “What can we do to simplify…?”
The easier we make things for customers, the better for everyone. Having a process that works is a great start, but making it simple for a customer to follow is a major difference-maker.
The word “simplify” can be substituted as well, especially in cases where a customer has given you specific feedback about a process. If a customer says that the process was too slow, confusing, difficult, etc, we can ask how we can make it faster, clearer, or easier.
The key here is to be specific in what you’re asking. Asking “what can we do to improve?” is a similar question, but too generalized to elicit many helpful responses!
Customer Moment #7: Anywhere along the journey…
No matter what moment your customer is in, it’s important that they have room to say where things could be better.
Unfortunately most customers don’t feel empowered to share when things could be better, or don’t feel like sharing would lead to any meaningful change. That’s why we have to be proactive and consistent about making it clear their feedback is valued.
Ask early and often: “Are you getting everything you need from us?”
This goes for clients and customers, but as a bonus you can apply it to employees as well.
One thing I love about this question is that it doesn’t just give you an opportunity to check in, it also allows you to say “I’m sorry” or even “I appreciate your honesty” when a complaint or frustration is fresh, before it can threaten their loyalty to your brand.
How Many of These Customer Moments do You Recognize?
And which of these questions are your teams asking in these moments?
Keep asking questions. It’s how you get the truth when you don’t necessarily know what truth you need to hear.
You’ll make astounding improvements as long as you keep listening!