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When you run an affiliate program, receiving feedback is crucial to your success. However, it’s not enough to solicit feedback. You need to know how to interpret and respond to customers’ complaints, as well as to their compliments.
The good news is that evaluating customer feedback doesn't have to take up all your time. With just a few best practices under your belt, you'll be able to effectively handle the feedback you receive, both the positive and negative varieties. This should enable you to grow your program and create strong relationships with your affiliates.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common types of customer feedback, and discuss how to respond appropriately. Let’s get to it!
Why Feedback Is Necessary to Your Affiliate Program
Your affiliate business lives or dies based on how its members feel about it. If affiliates are dissatisfied, it’s better to know what they’re thinking before they decide to leave your platform. On the other hand, when you’re doing well, positive feedback can help you focus on keeping (and improving upon) the features that are proving successful.
Feedback can include everything from thoughts about how your company is doing, to information about whether they know how to find what they’re looking for on your website. Some of the best ways to solicit feedback include:
- Customer surveys: Surveys are a way of driving user feedback by asking targeted questions.
- Contact forms: A contact form enables users to reach out to you when they have an issue or question.
- Social media: Users may write to your social media accounts with complaints or feedback, and you can also use these platforms to solicit engagement directly.
- Usability testing: This is a way of discovering whether visitors understand how your website functions, by asking them to complete targeted tasks while explaining their thought processes.
Of course, gathering feedback is only the first step. Once you have your affiliates' responses in hand, you also need to know what to do with them.
5 Ways to Handle Positive and Negative Feedback About Your Affiliate Program
It’s crucial that you have a structured way to handle both positive and negative feedback. That way you won't waste any opportunities, and can avoid letting emotions cloud your judgment. Let's look at five of the best ways to deal with feedback from your affiliates.
1. Always Say Thank You
Whether feedback about your affiliate program is positive or negative, you should always show gratitude for receiving it. Feedback is valuable, and you want to reward your affiliates for taking the time to communicate with you.
You might show your thanks in the form of a discount code or freebie for completing a survey, for example. Or you can simply reach out personally if an affiliate has gone out of their way to give advice.
2. Take Note of the Feedback
Some feedback isn't immediately actionable, but you'll still want to make note of it. If a customer names a specific feature or type of content that they like or dislike about your affiliate program, it's important to save that information for future use.
The next time you are thinking about changing your site or altering a service, you can revisit your feedback notes. You may think twice about removing a feature that affiliates have made it clear they value, for example, unless the criticisms start to outweigh the positive feedback.
3. Ask for More Details
When you receive a piece of feedback, it can often be very general, such as “I think you’re doing a great job!” or “I don’t like how your website looks.” If one of your affiliates says something like this, you may want to try probing for more details.
For example, you can thank the affiliate and then ask if there is anything specific about your program that they’re enjoying or don’t like. You don't want to push them into saying more, of course, but if you provide the opportunity, you'll find that many will be happy to share their thoughts.
4. Perform Usability Testing and User Research
As we mentioned previously, some customers may share negative feedback without saying exactly what they think is wrong. If you're hearing a lot of generally negative comments, but aren't sure what the exact problem is, you may want to perform a thorough review of your affiliate site.
This can include user research or usability testing, and should be guided by the feedback you’ve received. For example, if a few of your affiliates have mentioned that your site is hard to use, usability testing can help uncover gaps in its design. On the other hand, if your content isn't having the effect you'd like, user research can help you find out what your target audience really wants.
Depending on what you discover, you may decide to make changes to your website, or shift your content's focus. You may also find that the initial complaints were outliers, and that your program is functioning smoothly. This can be fine – you’re never going to satisfy every single user!
5. Offer to Make Things Right
Finally, let’s talk about how to handle extremely negative feedback. It can be upsetting to receive unhappy comments about the program you've worked so hard to develop. However, negative feedback can be valuable too. It’s good to know when someone is unhappy, so that you have a chance to resolve the issue.
If you can't fix the specific problem the affiliate has had, other ways to make things right can include offering a small bonus or freebie to the affiliate in question. A simple apology can also go a long way. An affiliate who knows that you've listened to and respected their feedback is more likely to stick around, despite their bad experience.
When you run an affiliate site, you depend on feedback to address user concerns and keep your site running smoothly. Positive and negative comments enable you to keep what’s working well, and revise what isn’t. This process can also help you demonstrate that you care about your affiliates.
Five ways to address affiliate feedback include:
- Always thanking the affiliate
- Making note of the feedback for future use
- Asking for more specific details
- Performing usability testing and/or user research
- Offering to make things right
Do you have any questions about responding to feedback about your affiliate program? Let us know in the comments section below!