There’s no better way to learn about your customers and their thoughts about your company than by asking them questions. Online feedback forms help you do just that.
The process of gathering feedback is straightforward:
- You reverse-engineer the questions you want to ask based on what you need to know about your customers or website visitors
- You create a feedback form with the questions you’ve defined
- You present the feedback form to gather as much of your customer's voice as possible
We’ve covered the first two steps on our blog extensively. So today, we’ll cover six effective methods to gather customer feedback.
Before the end, we’ll also give you three quick tips for creating and running your online feedback forms – whether you have a website or not.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
6 Types of online feedback forms you can use
We’ll start this roundup with the forms you can use directly on your website, and then review the methods you can use if you don’t have a website yet.
1. Pop-up feedback forms
Among the different feedback forms you have at your disposal, popups are the first ones we must mention. Unlike the other options on this list, popups have several advantages:
- Visibility: Popups appear directly in front of your visitors’ eyes, making them hard to ignore
- Ease and speed of implementation: With the right tools, even non-technical marketers can create popups with customizable designs and display options, and integrate them with a site or store in minutes
- Effectiveness: Pop-up forms allow visitors to provide their feedback without leaving the page they are on, reducing the risk of abandonment or distraction
Consider Hello Fresh, a meal kit subscription brand that surveys its customers using a pop-up feedback form:
A crucial advantage of using pop-up feedback forms is timing control. You can control when you present your popups based on specific behaviors and demographic attributes, such as:
- Scrolling depth
- Time on site
- Clicks on page elements
It’s important that you use these attributes to trigger your feedback popups correctly. For example, instead of showing your survey on every page, you could use targeting rules to target your feedback to specific content on your site, or specific behavior – such as visitor’s intention to exit the shopping cart without completing the purchase:
You could also use your visitor’s scroll depth (i.e., the percentage they scroll down within a page) or time on the page to show your popups.
2. Inline/Embedded forms
Inline feedback forms are a more passive alternative to popups. These forms are statically embedded into a page, like a contact form.
Inline forms make a great option if you’re looking to engage with people who visit a specific page rather than gather sitewide feedback. You can also use them to learn about your visitor’s opinion on specific features or aspects of a website or store, such as in the image above.
However, inline forms come with a few issues:
- Reduced visibility: Because they aren’t as noticeable as pop-ups, they often generate fewer responses
- Limited space: Inline feedback forms may have limited space for visitors to provide detailed feedback, compared to pop-up forms
Inline feedback forms can be useful for gathering feedback, but only when used in conjunction with some of the other options mentioned in this article.
3. Email surveys
Email is a more personal channel to gather feedback that’s particularly useful when you want to:
- Reach out to your entire customer base
- Target specific segments, such as your highest-spending customers
Email feedback forms are relatively common and easy to use, and this is why they can perform well. If you choose this route, you can add a link to your survey, or you can add a part of the survey in the email itself, as Target does:
If you want to take the more indirect route, consider online form builders like Getform. Getform helps you create online feedback forms quickly and share them via direct links. You can send those links via email or publish them on your social media channels (as you’ll see later).
4. Live chat surveys
Live chat is an ideal channel to learn how your audience feels about your customer support or sales reps.
Most feedback forms of this kind work by asking for feedback after the chat. Sometimes they ask a few multiple-choice questions to learn more about the respondent and then ask for feedback.
Some companies leverage chatbots to make the feedback-gathering process more conversational.
In these cases, the company asks for feedback directly, and based on the response, it asks more questions to understand the reasons behind the visitor’s reaction.
5. Sidebar feedback forms
A sidebar is a floating survey button on the side of the screen (hence its name) that visitors can click to fill out the feedback form.
Because sidebars are “hidden” on the side, they are less intrusive. As a result, only motivated customers often fill out the form — usually, people who have had an extreme experience — either great or awful.
Some feedback buttons aren’t hidden like in the example above but appear after the visitor has scrolled most of the page. They take little screen space and aren’t intrusive, as you can see below:
In either case, their unobtrusiveness will likely mean fewer visitors will see the form, leading to lower response rates. But for content quality feedback purposes, they can work well.
6. Social media polls
Most social media sites currently offer built-in polling and survey features for gathering feedback.
Because of the public nature of these polls and the fact that you can only ask a single question, you shouldn’t rely on them for in-depth customer feedback. But for engaging your follower base, they can work wonders.
For example, if you have a blog or a YouTube channel, you could ask your fans what piece of content they’d like to see next. That way, you can “pre-test” your content ideas before investing in them.
For more in-depth research, you can link to your survey form from your social media posts, stories, and bio.
3 Quick tips for properly implementing online feedback forms
1. Know why you’re asking for feedback
Getting feedback is not a goal in and of itself. Instead, it’s a way to learn about your audience. Put more elegantly, it’s a qualitative research method.
You can use this research to discover almost anything about your customers, including:
- Their satisfaction with their purchases and your service
- Their motivations, pains, and desires (i.e., the “psychographics”)
- Their demographics
Before you implement an online feedback form, ask yourself: “what do I need to know about my audience?“
Based on your answer, you’ll know whether it’s a good idea to gather feedback and what methods you could use to do so.
2. Pay attention to the questions you ask
The questions you ask play a crucial role in the responses you get. Ask good questions, and you’ll get good responses — and vice-versa.
There are no bad questions; there are irrelevant questions, and there are biased questions.
A biased question is when you ask in a way that skews people towards a specific answer.
For example, if you ask, “wouldn’t you like to get a discount?” most people would say, “yes.” But that doesn’t mean everyone wants one; some may want something else.
Instead, if you asked, “what would make you want to purchase from us?” and gave a list of options, you’d get a better view of what your audience wants.
When writing your questions, make sure to avoid using biased questions. Let the respondent tell you what you want to know instead of cornering them with your own answers.
3. Tell people how long it will take (and ease them in for long surveys)
It’s not easy to convince someone to fill out an online feedback form. Once you get someone to do so, you must still reduce friction as much as possible.
One of the biggest concerns most people have is losing time. It’s why you always want to let people know how long they can expect to spend on filling them out.
By properly setting expectations, you increase the chance that people will be willing to take the time to share their feedback.
For example, Airbnb specifically tells recipients that it will only take around three minutes:
For longer surveys, start with some easy, simple questions. As Giuseppe Larossi recommends in his book, The Power of Survey Design, you should start simple to “build up confidence in the survey’s objective.”
Additionally, you can also use survey incentives, such as coupons and gift cards, to increase survey response rates. Make sure to mention the incentive when inviting visitors to participate and deliver it at the end of the form or via email.
Get started with online feedback forms today
Now that you know what techniques you can use to gather online feedback, you need to get started. Pick one of the six methods — popups, inline forms, email, live chat, sidebars, and social media — and create your form.
Remember to define what you want to learn about your audience first, so you ask the right amount of questions. Also, avoid skewing people with biased questions.
Finally, make it easier for your audience to fill out your online feedback forms by telling them how long it’ll take them to do it.
If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be able to learn much more about your audience and refine your marketing in ways you never thought possible.
Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer for hire who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Getsitecontrol, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.
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