Product demos: a golden opportunity to collect customer feedback

Product demos - a golden opportunity to collect customer feedback

How often do you get to ask your customers face-to-face what they think about your brand? This kind of direct interaction seldom happens. That’s why a product demonstration is a golden opportunity to:

  • Speak to your customers one-on-one
  • Ask customers what they like and dislike about your products
  • Ask customers how your products could be improved
  • Help your customers feel like they have a say in product development
  • Get feedback on new products prior to launch

With such an opportunity, it’s important to make the most of the limited time you have with customers at a product demonstration. 

Here are some simple but often overlooked ways that we use to encourage customers to offer feedback.

How to gather customer feedback at product demonstrations

Asking open-ended questions

Questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer don’t give your customers much opportunity to express their opinions, so you don’t get very much information in return. Instead, we try to ask open-ended questions that allow your customers to answer in whatever manner they choose. Of course, the quality of the answer received is influenced by the quality of the question…

Asking simple questions

In their early days, fledgling smoothie company Innocent wanted to know whether they should give up their day jobs and focus on their new brand. So, the founders decided to ask their customers. 

They hung a sign asking customers whether they should make smoothies full time. And underneath the sign, they left a bin marked ‘yes’ and a bin marked ‘no’. Customers could then vote by placing their empty smoothie cup in the relevant bin. By the end of the weekend, the ‘yes’ bin was full. 

This story is instructive for two reasons:

  1. Innocent asked for customer feedback for a specific purpose. And when they received that feedback, they acted on it. It wasn’t just a box-ticking exercise. They actually wanted their customers to help them make the decision.
  2. Innocent made it simple for customers to give feedback. They could have handed out questionnaires and asked people to fill it in. Instead, they took a task their customers already had to complete–placing their empty cups in a bin–and turned it into an easy, fast and fun way to express their opinion.

Similarly, at product demonstrations, we make it easy for customers to give you feedback by asking simple questions which are easy to understand and answer.

Timing questions well

Jumping on a customer and asking them what they think of your product the moment they look in your direction is unlikely to yield positive results. Instead, we’re conscious of timing. We give customers a chance to explore your product before we approach them. And we build the relationship slowly. Customers are more forthcoming with their feedback if they are able to explore products in their own time.

Giving customers time to respond -and listen

We’ve all met someone, who, after asking a question, immediately asks another question or continues talking. For customers to give you their feedback, they need an opportunity to respond to questions in their own time. So, here’s a very simple way to make the most of your time with customers: Whenever you ask a question, be sure to listen to the answer. Our brand ambassadors learn a lot by listening to customers in direct conversation. And, they can learn a lot by listening in on customer-to-customer conversations.

Here’s a case in point…

During a demo for Lindt in the run-up to Christmas, customers kept mentioning how the mint flavour chocolates they’d heard about were NOT available on the stand. They wanted to try it, but couldn’t!

It would have been easy to breeze over this and focus on getting feedback on the products that were available during the demo. Instead, we passed the feedback on to Lindt so they could consider including the mint chocolates in future demos and/or make changes to their marketing initiatives.

Customer insight – as good as gold dust

It’s not often that brands have a chance to interact directly with customers and hear, firsthand, what customers think about products and, crucially, why people make the decision to buy, or not buy. 

At WDS, we realise that a product demonstration is a golden opportunity to gather this valuable anecdotal feedback. By asking your customers good questions, listening to their answers, and relaying the feedback, a product demo can help you further understand your customers. And this customer insight is tantamount to gold dust, helping you to shape your brand offering to the marketplace.

To talk to us about running a product demonstration, head over to our contact page.