Creative Places to Ask for Feedback

On Wednesday we looked at tips for developing customer surveys with Theresa Maddix of Foresee Results. Today we’re going to look at other ways retailers are collecting customer feedback – asking for feedback through on-site calls-to-action, rather than inviting a visitor to participate in a survey.

While any customer with a complaint about a website can use the “Contact” link, some e-tailers offer a suggestion box or Feedback link on the site, making it more specific than a general contact. This also allows you to provide a contact form that is feedback-specific.

The “vanilla” way to ask for feedback is in site-wide in header or footer areas. For example:

Sears’ header link

Crate and Barrel’s footer link

eBags spices things up by including a box in the footer to make the call-to-action more prominent:

Others get more creative, asking for feedback on specific pages. Examples:

Site search

Buy.com

It reads:

“Every voice counts, so stand up and be heard! Your opinion is important to us. If you have spotted a typo, discovered an incorrect price, or encountered a technical issue on this page, we want to hear about it. Thanks again for your feedback, and happy shopping! Please note: we are unable to reply directly to suggestions.”

Product page

Tiger Direct

Checkout

The Food Network

404 Page

I personally checked out over 100 e-stores hoping to find an example of a 404 page that asks for customer feedback on what the customer was trying to access. I found none. But I think it would be a very good idea.

Contact form vs. survey

There are 2 approaches to collecting feedback. One is to have an open ended contact box:

The other is to launch a survey:

The benefit of launching a survey is you can capture specific information that helps you categorize feedback and direct it to the appropriate department, or collect quantitative data to get an average “rating” for your site’s usability. Open ended boxes are always qualitative and can be hard to organize or analyze in aggregate.

You must be careful with surveys, however, as they can appear to be more “difficult” and take more time to complete. They may have higher abandonment if too many fields are required or they look complicated and messy. Keep it short. Resist the temptation to ask off-topic questions or request personal information, and clearly mark required fields. The following form could be improved on all three:

If you do choose a survey, here are some popular tools you can look into:

Kampyle
Opinionlab
Survey Monkey
4Q
ForeSee Results
Vovici
Suggestion Box


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8 Responses to “Creative Places to Ask for Feedback”

  1. wow! I love the idea of putting a contact form on the 404 pages to ask what the person was looking for. I’m going to try to do that right now. Thank you for your great advice.

    Also, I originally thought that just having my email address was enough if somebody wanted to get in contact with since I run a small online business. But when I added REAL contact forms, the amount of times people had something to say suddenly increased by about 4 fold! So, if you don’t have even just a regular contact form, you are missing out on what your potential customers have to say.

  2. To get feedback I suggest to use BetaEasy – customer feedback and beta management service. It allows to add “Feedback” button on the website and gather all customers feedback in one place. Also this service can be easily integrated with any website/software/web application regardless of programming language and shopping cart type. And it’s free! Link: http://www.betaeasy.com

    To create surveys SurveyGizmo is the best one (imho).

  3. Great idea to ask for feedback on 404 pages, as Jessica also mentions.
    But if you do have a survey, doing it like the williams-sonoma.com (/opinionlab) example above with a small scrollbar within the page isn’t the best idea from a usability perspective, as user often have a hard time figuring these partial scrollbars out.

    Of cause collecting the feedback is only half of the task, listening to it and action upon it is even more important.

  4. Rick says:

    Interesting read. A few things to point out that are pretty major differences between most surveys and opt-in feedback:

    1. Invitation surveys most commonly randomly sample the invitees, or focus on specific paths. A lot of visitors never get the invite, leaving them with no opportunity to dialogue with the brand and/or site (whether or not they have a problem).

    2. As you pointed out, there’s a pretty substantial difference in the customer experience between some of the examples you show above and a 30+ question survey.

    3. Page-specific feedback maps the comments and ratings on a 1-1 basis with the actual page. That’s where it becomes actionable. I’m not anti-survey, but they can be VERY hard to use to pinpoint problems on specific pages without a bunch of additional tools (and research). Placing the feedback icon (floating/embedded/etc – however you do it) on every page lets anyone submit feedback where they had a problem.

    4. Many of the examples you showed above do not remove the user from the page where they were “doing something”, and most don’t take more than a few seconds to complete and submit. That’s a major factor when considering conversion funnels and the like.

  5. I agree that surveys allow you to organize your feedback more easily, but I feel like you’re missing out on a lot of comments if you do it that way. Like you said, people get discouraged. In the William Sonoma survey, for example, right off the bat if people don’t feel like their feedback fits into one of the categories in the ‘Choose a topic for your comment…” scroll down bar, they’re likely to give up.

  6. These are great collection of feedback forms! Although with everyone in a hurry, and unless the products/business did something terribly wrong, I wonder how many actually participates in site surveys?

  7. Talking Ava has a good point. What about offering a coupon code for those who complete the survey? That might be a good incentive.

  8. We have a page on our site asking customers to report broken links.

    http://www.window-cleaning-supply.com/fake

    No one’s reported any yet.

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