When people have a bad interaction with a company, we vent. We look for an outlet for our frustration, and we like to tell our friends. In fact, when a customer has a bad interaction, twice as many people are likely to hear about that interaction then if it were a good one.

This expectation of vocalization has never been more daunting for business. We live in a world with a limitless number of options for communication. Yet, it has also never been more exciting as a time to capture feedback. With a smartphone alone, there are multiple apps with which a person can make their voices heard.

As a company, it would be to our advantage to be able to capture that feedback to correct bad interactions. Yet, we have moved beyond the time of a single phone number, or customer service department.

These are some of the key ways a customer might be trying to reach your brand:

1) Phone

Most companies also have a publicly available phone number. And this makes sense, as more than 95% of Americans use some kind of mobile phone. Whether this number is for a front desk, support department, or sales department, a phone number is the most direct way for a customer or potential customer to communicate with your business, and customers will use it to make their voices heard.

Beyond your public dial-in numbers, there are also several other departments that may be having phone conversations with your customers, including customer support, customer success, sales, implementation. Through these conversations, there is much opportunity to collect feedback on what a customer is saying directly, or what they are asking about in the phone conversations.

2) Online Chat

When a consumer is on your website and wants to ask a question about your company, they will often look for some form of online chat.

Online chat has become more popular in the last couple of years – as the second most immediate form of feedback, online chat allow customers to get connected directly to an individual at a company to request an answer to a question. 74% of customers are satisfied with online chat, making it the most preferred method of interaction with your department.

Previously used as a method for customer feedback, chats are also used for sales, inbound marketing leads, and customers looking to provide general opinions on company products or services.

3) Email

Across the internet, more than 270 billion emails are sent each day according to the Radicati Group. Email is a simple, effective way for a customer to communicate with your company. Most companies have some publicly available email address that customers or potential customers can use to communicate. This is an easy way for customers to be able to provide feedback before, during, or after a transaction with your company.

4) Social Media

One of the newest forms of company feedback, social media has become a popular method for communication with brands. 33% of people now prefer to use social media over communicating directly with a customer support department according to a report by Nielsen.

Social media provides both a way to address your own network publicly, while also trying to a brand directly. Social Media also poses a challenge to brands to respond in real time to customers. 72% of people expect a response from a brand on Twitter in under an hour, and 14% expect the response immediately according to Search Engine Watch. And ways to communicate on social media have reached beyond Twitter. People can now communicate with brands through multiple networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and more, and they can communicate both publically through posts, as well as privately in messages.

Some companies now have entire teams dedicated to providing customer care on social media.

5) Review Sites

When a customer feels they cannot get the survey they want, they may want to tell several friends, or worse yet, they may want to make their feedback as visible as possible. Depending on your industry, there are specialized sites where customers may be flocking to leave feedback for other potential consumers. Sites like G2 Crowd, TrustRadius, Yelp, Consumer Reports, and Amazon are the most popular.

This is important for a company for two reasons. It first provides a piece of feedback for companies to incorporate as they are building the customer experience, and it also affects the reputation of a company to prospective customers. 85% of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, according to BrightLocal.

6) Phoning A Friend

When a customer feels they have no better option for feedback, they may decide to get creative. In this case, a customer may look for a direct employee of the organization. Whether or not that person is related to the affected area of business. The customer may ask the employee, whether they are a C-level, or an entry level employee if that person knows the way to get feedback to the affected team directly.

7) Post-interaction survey

The most ideal method of customer feedback, a post-interaction survey allows you to control the type of feedback you are receiving from a customer. When done right, it allows both the company to ask questions in such a way that they get specific feedback, and it allows the customer to provide feedback such that they are able to feel they are being heard.

Get 5 Customer Satisfaction Survey Templates You Can Use Today

8) Purchase Behavior

Perhaps the worst communication method, a bad interaction could cost you a customer’s business altogether. In this case, the customer is clearly communicating by moving business elsewhere, yet, you lose the benefit of learning at what point the customer decided to part ways.

9) Product Usage

Similar to purchase behavior, a customer may be intentionally (or unintentionally) trying to communicate with you via product usage. If a product is great, they may adopt it fully, across many situations. If a product is confusing, difficult, or unhelpful, a customer may decrease usage of the product, which may signal a greater risk of churn.

There is a feedback method for every consumer. Whether the customer feels ready to vocalize directly, or simply with purchase behavior, and whether they leverage a phone, internet, or word of mouth, there is something to be learned from each interaction. In order to continuously improve our business, we need to continue to seek this feedback and to create clear avenues for the customer to provide it. They key is to provide the right architecture to capture it.

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