Want to know what your members, donors, or other constituents think about you? Ask!

Collecting and acting upon constituent feedback is important for associations and nonprofits, because it can provide insight into improving members’ and donors’ experiences, thus increasing satisfaction, engagement, and retention. And, besides being a great way to measure satisfaction, collecting feedback can also help you improve your product offerings and services and make better business decisions.

Here are some effective ways businesses collect customer feedback that could be easily adopted by associations and nonprofits:

  • Email: Most company websites contain a link that, when clicked, automatically opens a new email with the “To” box pre-populated with a customer feedback email address to easily collect comments.
  • Surveys: Many companies use follow-up phone calls and online surveys to get immediate feedback about recent customer experiences.
  • Usability Tests: Although more work on the planning side, walking a customer through a product scenario in a controlled environment can yield a plethora of ideas for product improvements.
  • Message Boards: Forum and Community message boards can provide a great means for customers to interact and share best practices and other information about the company and its offerings. It’s important to closely monitor these boards, though, to address any less-than-constructive feedback.
  • On-Site Visits and Interviews: Besides providing the opportunity to gather information directly from product users, on-site visits to directly interview customers also creates an image that the company genuinely cares about its customers.
  • Comment Boxes: Popular in Wiki and other Web pages, comment boxes can also provide direct customer feedback and facilitate customer inquiries.

Once you have compiled and digested all your feedback, it’s time to use your constituents’ insights to enact product and service improvements. Here are two suggestions on where to begin:

  • Product Roadmap: A product roadmap is typically a documented plan containing the Product Owner’s vision for the short-term and long-term development of a product. When used as part of Agile Methodology, frequent changes based on regular customer feedback can lead to a cycle of continuous, incremental improvements. This low-cost method to implement customer feedback can help ensure your product development is heading in the correct direction.
  • Usability Improvements: Much of the feedback you receive may be in the area of your customers’ perception of the ease-of-use of your product. This qualified feedback can be quantified by determining how many customers provided similar feedback on a specific feature of your product. This feedback can then be forwarded to your designers and developers who can then work to implement this usability improvement.

An overriding marketing driver is to retain an existing constituent base while simultaneously growing that base. The hardest member to win is the one you lost due to poor member experience. Using different methods to elicit feedback on a regular basis will help you retain your existing constituents by continuously improving their experience with your products or services.