Udesh Jadnanansing
Udesh Jadnanansing 20 December 2016

3 Powerful Ways to Harness ROI of Online Customer Feedback

A few weeks ago I was invited by the eAcademy, a private course for marketing professionals organisation by the Dutch association for online shopping, to give a lecture on increasing conversion using online customer feedback.

It was an interesting event with marketers from leading online retailers organisations such as, G-star and Wehkamp. One of the things that surprised me is that these companies had already experimented with online feedback tools. And some were even honest enough to admit that it was no more than a vanity tool for them. They had gone so far as to collect feedback, but due to the lack of time and attention, this never became more than just a button on the website. This is a missed opportunity, because with the proper scope and application, online feedback can benefit you in so many ways.

In this article, I will discuss three examples of the Return on Investment (ROI) of online customer feedback. In short, what you can achieve when you give your feedback tool just a little more attention.

Reduce shopping cart abandonment

On average, 68% of the visitors abandon their shopping cart without ordering (Baymard, 2016). Think about what it might mean if you could manage to retain just 1% of these visitors. Determining why these 68% drop off is highly valuable information and it’s not something that can be extracted from regular tools used for online conversion. These are tools like web analytics, A/B testing and heat mapping to understand the behavior. Do you want an actual answer? Then you need to ask some questions.

For these kinds of specific measurements, the use of an exit feedback form is ideal. Using an exit feedback form, you can trigger a specific question the moment your visitor is leaving. Based on personal research with customers, we see that 60% of visitors leave their feedback in exit forms. The reason this generates such a high response all comes down timing and relevance. You ask a question that is aligned with what the customer is doing at a time when it matters.

Start by asking the degree to which the visitor’s goal has been reached: completely, partially or not reached at all. Depending on the answer to that question, you can direct visitors to a follow-up question. This question zooms in on the reason for the visit (for example, the intent to make a purchase) and then provides the visitor with the opportunity to give an open explanation. About 20% of feedback received revolves around the inability to place an order. The culprit? This is often information that is not recognised, such as postal codes, or even missing information. These insights are only retrieved by directly asking the visitors. This allows you to make specific adjustments, which lead directly to a lower shopping cart abandonment rate.


Reduce the pressure on your telephonic customer service team

There are plenty of discussions about what drives customer loyalty. One swears by exceeding the expectations of the customer. The other clings to simply doing and delivering what you’ve promised. Bringing in a new customer costs the same as retaining five existing customers. Pursuing customer loyalty pays off, but that’s certainly nothing new. If you as a reader would ask me: “Which factors affect customer loyalty”? I would send you an invoice first, because such knowledge is in fact priceless. Which drivers are important for you depends on your business. However, in my opinion, there is a common denominator regardless of the industry: make it easy for your customers. Unfortunately, that is often “easier” said than done.

Identifying the root of the cause

Over the last few years, “customer experience teams” have tried more and more to put themselves in the shoes of the customer. The goal is to experience the journey of the customer and the pain moments where the frustration really kicks in. At the sessions I was able to attend, I noticed that customer service was a subject that kept coming up. Topics such as waiting time or expertise all have an impact and influence important KPIs such as “first time fix” or customer satisfaction. What happened next was what was most fascinating: a solution was sought out for the problem, but not for the cause.

Especially in a customer service department, you notice that too many organisations still operate in different silos. When management indicates that the NPS or customer satisfaction needs to go up, all kinds of solutions are implemented. Sure, a shorter waiting period or a friendlier agent contribute to the customer experience, but why the customer contacted the company in the first place is almost never looked into. So where does the problem start? This is where online customer feedback plays an important role.

If you have a feedback tool in place, I advise you to work with metrics such as Goal Completion Rate (GCR) and Customer Effort Score (CES). These are a good way of measuring your ROI. The first metric determines whether visitors have achieved their goal, or in other words: how successful your customers are across your digital channels. Customer Effort shows how easy it was for your visitors to reach their goals. The combination of these two is a good way of seeing why visitors are coming to your website and how simple the processes are. What we saw with a customer that uses these metrics was that 30% of the customers that weren’t able to reach their goal had chosen “missing information” as the reason. In a follow-up question, they were asked which information they were looking for. More than half of this group said that they would contact customer service afterwards. Meanwhile, customers that had found the information they were looking for said that this was relatively difficult. In short, even if the information was found, searching for it resulted in frustration.


The measurement above was placed on different types of online feedback forms. Customers who stayed on a content page for a long time or switched back and forth between different pages were proactively asked if they were able to find the information they were looking for. Because the feedback form was tuned to respond to behavior in terms of questioning and triggers, the response rate was 60% higher than the passive form. Even customers who had clicked on the contact page and then wanted to leave were asked for feedback. The next step in the feedback program was to ask for customer feedback on all content pages. In this case, an embedded feedback form would appear if visitors scrolled all the way to the end of an article. By asking whether the information was complete, it quickly became clear which content needed improvement.

By asking customers and visitors on your website if they have reached their goal and which information is missing, you can easily avoid unnecessary calls. Be aware that you are using a platform that can analyse large volumes of customer feedback. Otherwise it will only cost you more time to extract insights. In the example above, not only was the GCR up, but visitors also found it easier to find the right information. This resulted in a decrease of over 20% of telephone inquiries regarding these topics.

Leverage online customer feedback to generate real-time leads

Within the context of online customer feedback, a lead is a visitor in your ordering funnel that is experiencing a technical error and provides feedback about this. What qualifies this person as a lead is that the fact that they have provided their email address and have asked to be contacted. The important thing here is that apparently the visitor has a buying intention whilst far along in the ordering process.

Remember that these visitors can switch to the competitor or consider another alternative at any minute. Either way, you’ve lost the visitor. Online customer feedback not only ensures that you can fix bugs in real-time but also create a moment of contact. Whether you do this really depends on your own resources, but customers that do not directly aim for your customer service is definitely considered a missed opportunity. How do you make sure you bring leads in and what are the results?

Essentially what matters is that you know how to capture why a visitor leaves the ordering process early. In my opinion, the process doesn’t start at “step one” in the ordering funnel, but on all product content pages with call-to-actions for your ordering funnel. Capture how visitors experience your product and if everything was clear. Should something not be clear, ask for their contact information. It’s all about offering the right content to your visitors so that they can make their purchase decision. A more detailed article on this topic can be found here.

In your actual funnel, you ask for feedback on two occasions. When visitors leave the page and/or when they navigate away from the flow but still remain on your website. Find out why visitors do not proceed with the order and let them choose from a number of categories including “technical issue” or “bug”. The moment your visitors click on one of these categories, ask them what has gone wrong and if they will provide you with their email address. Question routing is important because that is how you join in on what your visitors are doing on the page. Previously, you read that nearly 20% of feedback received is about technical issues during the ordering process. Of this group, around 40% provide their contact details for a follow-up. Just think how many potential leads you can get through your own digital channels and how that can increase your ROI!


Attention provides for growth

For many digital teams, online customer feedback is not imperative. Strangely enough they agree that the voice of the customer is important. One of the reasons for this is that it is not always clear what can be yielded from online feedback. I admit, it is easier to determine the ROI of an Adwords campaign. Online feedback is perhaps less tangible in terms of “invest this” and “earn that”. However, it is primarily the insights that you receive that ensure more growth in revenue (ROI). Imagine what it could mean for your website, your products, your service, and even your team and organisation.

So be sure to pay attention to the feedback from your customers, the feedback tools you use and know how to prioritise.

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