I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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How to get your customers to speak up

Here’s an interesting fact: Customers are much more likely to contact you when they don’t like your product than when they do. “Praise” emails are not that common nowadays.

And this has nothing to do with your product being of not such good quality. It’s just the way humans are set up. When we enjoy something, most of the time we like to enjoy it in silence. But when we don’t enjoy something, we want everyone to know.

So how to encourage your customers to speak up, and not only when they have a problem? Here are 5 tips you can use today.

1. Templates for testimonials

Testimonials are great for generating some proof that your products or services work, and that people enjoy using them.

However, most customers will find it hard to write a testimonial on their own. It always requires a while, and everyone wants their testimonial to sound smart, so they need to find a couple of minutes to craft a proper one.

You can make it a lot easier by creating a template and sending it to your customers. Start by writing your own testimonial, and then remove all the facts from it, leaving just the surrounding words, so everyone can fill it with whatever they want to say.

2. Feedback apps

website feedback icon

Sample icon requesting feedback

These are quite popular these days. Some sites have chosen to display a small icon on the left or right-hand side of their sites (see image – User Voice). The icon usually says something like “Send us your opinion,” or “Suggest a ______,” or whatever else feels suitable for the site.

This is run by an external app so you – the website owner – don’t have to focus on managing all the suggestions, you can simply use the provided interface and be done with it in no time.

3. Feedback section on your forum

If you have a forum that goes along with your site, consider creating a feedback section there.

Create some main threads asking some questions that seem the most important to you. Like for example: “What do you enjoy the most about our products?” Of course, I’m sure you can come up with something more creative.

People are really used to forums online, and they understand the way they work. That’s why your customers are very likely to take part in any discussion you start.

4. Email support reminders

Support via email is one of the most common ways of handling customer support. So here’s an idea. Whenever you solve a support ticket send another email asking your customer about their experience. Make the questions concrete, preferably in a form of a survey, so they can easily (and quickly) respond.

Plus, if you also include an open question, you might just be able to receive some great testimonials that way.

5. Incentives

Here’s the main question: Why would anyone even want to contact you? When customers don’t like something about your product they are contacting you to get the thing fixed. But when it’s already working, then there’s really no reason…

This is why you should consider offering some form of an incentive just for submitting some feedback (not just for positive feedback).

Things that work great are bonuses, discount codes, extra features for no charge, some additional content … it all depends on the kind of product or service you’re offering.

No matter which of these ideas you end up implementing you should remember that customer feedback is essential to every business’s development. How else would you be able to provide your customers with exactly what they want if you never asked?


Guest blogger details: Karol K. is a writer, and online businessman. You can connect with him at ThemeFuse.com where he publishes weekly articles – also a great place to go for top-notch WordPress themes.

Negative feedback in your newsletter?

If you write a newsletter, or even a blog or magazine, and you include a feedback or testimonials section, do you censor them? You have more control over newsletter content and testimonials than over comments posted in your blog, but how do you best use that control?

If you get a lot of feedback, then it is likely you will only add some of it to your newsletter each time or it would be overwhelming for your readers.

However, if you generally add all feedback into your newsletter or present it in your blog, what do you do with negative feedback?

Negative feedback responses

feedback may be negative

Choosing how to deal with negative feedback

If the feedback is inappropriate, nasty or irrelevant (e.g. feedback from someone who isn’t even a customer or newsletter subscriber), delete it and forget it.

On the other hand, if it is constructive criticism (or at least true information, even if it isn’t presented constructively!) include it in your newsletter with your response – making sure your response shows how you are improving your service/product.

Including and responding to negative feedback (assuming it isn’t the majority of the feedback you publish!) builds trust in your readers as you are being honest – they will trust the positive feedback more, too. It also gives a balanced view to your newsletter.

You may find that the negative comments you include will be small issues that people can happily accept, so you can gain the above advantages without damaging your name at all.

Regardless of the content of the feedback, remember to thank people in your newsletter to encourage further comments and feedback – the more feedback you get, the more opportunity you have for improvement in your business. Feedback can also build a feeling of community and belonging amongst your readers.

How can you pick a good writer?

Once you have decided that you will outsource the content writing for a project, how can you select a good writer to help you? Yesterday, I sparked a discussion on writers being professional and skilled so I thought it best to help you recognise good writers!

Especially if you are outsourcing the writing because you don’t feel comfortable with grammar and sentence construction, it isn’t easy to pick a ‘good’ writer from a poor writer.

So how can you tell?Women reading and considering

Read some samples of their work, not just their marketing brochure/website, and preferably samples of the same type of writing – writing for websites, children, media and manuals all require different writing techniques.

As you read these samples, take note of the following:

  • do you notice a lot of spelling or other errors?
  • did you read the content easily (without really noticing the writing itself) or did you have to reread sections to understand them? (Assuming the content was ok, rereading complex ideas is a different thing altogether!)
  • look at the entire text – are paragraphs all the same or in different lengths? How many start with the same word?
  • was it a struggle (content matter aside!) to finish reading the work? Were you loosing interest during the first paragraph?
  • did you notice any jumps in tense (present/past/future) or style (casual, formal, personal, etc)?
  • did the language seem appropriate to the audience?

Look and ask for testimonials and referrals. Don’t just rely on those the writer provides in marketing materials – ask to speak to previous clients or talk to other business owners who may know of the writer. A writer with poor results or who is otherwise unprofessional will struggle to maintain a good name.

Research the actual writer. Read articles they have on their site, their newsletter, their blog and their articles on other sites. As well as judging their writing skills, such articles should give you an idea of their knowledge and expertise. A newsletter and blog may also give you an insight into the writer’s personality so you can determine if they are professional and trustworthy. You can also decide if you can work with that writer – an effective relationship will produce better content than one where you and the writer don’t ‘get’ each other.

You can also do some formal checks, such as checking if they have a registered business name and number.

Have you had any experiences with picking the wrong writer?