Are you wondering whether you’re missing valuable customer feedback because you’re just not looking in the right places? Unconventional
Our digital landscape today offers a wide array of well-used standard methods for B2B marketers to collect customer feedback, with just a few including:
Monitoring Social Media Activity Customer Experience Surveys Feedback Forms Website Data Analysis Customer Reviews & Other User Generated Content Direct Interviews Testimonials Usability Test Data Sales & Customer Service Team Data
There are many other traditional ways as well, and each method excels in its own specific way, holding the promise of providing insightful information about customers or prospective customers.
There is also an entirely different realm of customer feedback opportunities, however — an area filled with less-explored avenues that offer a great deal of audience insight to B2B marketers willing to venture off the beaten feedback path.
B2B marketers can optimize their 2021 marketing efforts by using any or all of the five powerful unconventional sources of finding customer feedback that we’ll explore.
Let’s jump right in with five unconventional sources of valuable customer feedback.
1 — Google Question Hub & Other Tools
Getting to the heart of the questions most important to your customers and potential audience is a helpful path to learning more about your customers and gaining the information necessary to provide best-answer solutions.
We’ve looked at numerous tools for finding the questions customers are asking, such as those I explored in “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers,” and now Google has expanded on its Google Search Console offering with the recent U.S. rollout of its Question Hub, a new service for finding unanswered search question data.
Google Question Hub, previously only available in three non-U.S. nations, focuses on the unanswered questions searchers are seeking to answer — data that can then be used to create content that fills these informational gaps — a potential goldmine for B2B marketers looking to differentiate their business with best answer content.
Google Question Hub uses topic categories to organize unanswered questions searchers have submitted, and allows those using the tool to add their own answers, in the form of articles or videos on sites verified in Google Search Console, or via YouTube video.
Question Hub lets users of the utility see how well the answers they’ve submitted have performed, and although the search giant notes that providing answers in Question Hub doesn’t affect search rankings for connected sites, forthcoming updates could eventually consider this sort of content among new search ranking signals should Google choose to do so.
As a new free tool, B2B marketers looking to both learn more about customers and the questions they’re asking, and to provide answers through Google Question Hub may find it worthwhile to explore this new Google functionality.
2 — Asking In Unexpected Places
Sometimes asking for customer feedback in unexpected places — and during unexpected times — can catch a customer at just the right spot to provide extremely frank insight.
As I explored in “5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews,” Airbnb saw success by making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys. Offering brands the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews, Airbnb’s system allowed users to easily leave video by turning on their phone or computer’s camera to leave a video response.
This video review format leads some customers — especially those who like the option to leave audio or video feedback — to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn can give businesses greater insight into customers.
The richly emotional opportunities afforded through direct video feedback can help B2B firms lend a more empathetic ear, and can lead to the creation of content that addresses any concerns brought up in customer video feedback.
“If they say yes, then we’ve incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.
“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.
The technology to gather video or audio feedback — whether via survey forms or other feedback systems — has never been easier to implement, and in 2021 savvy B2B marketers looking to up their customer feedback strategy would be wise to consider such possibilities.
A key element to this approach is offering the ability to leave video or audio feedback at a point in the customer journey where it isn’t necessarily expected. This isn’t to say that feedback options shouldn’t also exist in the traditional places on company websites or social platforms, however the power of surprising a customer with the ability to share their thoughts verbally and visually — without having to type in feedback — may be underestimated among B2B organizations.
3 — Niche & Up-and-Coming Social Platforms
Where do you go in the online universe when you want to find honest thoughts from real people about topics that are new to you, whether they revolve around a local business or a global enterprise?
More people than ever have started including the search term “Reddit” in their search queries, to see what word on the digital street is regarding almost any particular subject, which may be why the social news aggregator and discussion platform is courting the half billion average monthly active user mark, and why its generated more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content.
Whether it’s gathering customer feedback in the form of ask-me-anything (AMA) events or keeping tabs on how your audiences are venting about possible frustrations relating to your brand, Reddit offers a slew of insight for B2B marketers willing to explore, as I dug into recently in “8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021.”
With its sizable growth in past years Reddit can hardly be considered either an up-and-coming social platform or a niche-only network any longer, but others in the social landscape are still in that wild west stage of finding a specialty, and B2B marketers can benefit by taking a look at these communities, such as Clubhouse, Slack Communities, and others.
4 — Social Polls
Polls offer a special two-for-one value for B2B marketers, providing quality customer and prospect feedback while also offering brands a powerful interactive social media content marketing element.
Brands that take the time to listen to what customers are saying through their answers to poll questions gain an inside glimpse into where marketing efforts may be put to the most effective use, and are also a helpful way to increase brand awareness.
While social media polls are by nature more limited in the number of responses that can be offered, brands can draw people in beyond simply selecting an existing poll choice by using the final poll choice to encourage responses in comments.
Brands can also gather social media poll data to get feedback on existing products and services, to learn customer pain points, to test interest in new product offerings, and to gauge reactions to new industry trends.
To learn more about social media polls check out my LinkedIn*-specific guide, “Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls,” helpful tactics for a variety of social platform polls in our content marketing manager Nick Nelson’s “The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices,” and take a look at what poll data can tell B2B marketers in my “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data.”
5 — New Forms of Audience Usage Information
Websites today can collect more data than ever, yet filtering out the noise to harness the truly relevant gems of helpful customer feedback information may also be at an all-time level of difficulty.
Whether in the form of real-time human support chat logs, chatbot interaction data, or website usage information, pulling out the good stuff has been an ongoing challenge faced by B2B firms.
Luckily, to combat the record volumes of data, an impressive array of powerful data extraction tools have been developed, some focused primarily on gathering customer feedback.
There are some online spots holding potentially valuable customer feedback that may often get overlooked, especially some of the chat functions in applications used alongside virtual events. Just a few in these categories, where you may find customer feedback, include:
Zoom Chat Logs Slack Channels Skype Chat Logs Google Hangouts Chats Microsoft Teams Chats Custom Event Chat Application Logs
Smart B2B Marketers Stand Out With Better Customer Feedback
In the increasingly complex business environment of 2021, B2B brands need more than ever to clearly differentiate themselves from the competition.
Thankfully, finding and using customer feedback in places your competitors may not be monitoring can prove to be a strong technique to help your business stand out. We hope the unorthodox forms of finding customer feedback we’ve looked at here, from Google Question Hub to Clubhouse and more will help with your B2B marketing efforts in 2021.
Getting closer to customers takes many forms besides feedback, and to learn more check out “How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers,” by our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite.