Creative Places to Ask for Feedback
While any customer with a complaint about a website can use the "Contact" link, some e-tailers offer a suggestion box or Feedback link on the site, making it more specific than a general contact. This also allows you to provide a contact form that is feedback-specific.
The "vanilla" way to ask for feedback is in site-wide in header or footer areas. For example:
Sears' header link
Crate and Barrel's footer link
eBags spices things up by including a box in the footer to make the call-to-action more prominent:
Others get more creative, asking for feedback on specific pages. Examples:
"Every voice counts, so stand up and be heard! Your opinion is important to us. If you have spotted a typo, discovered an incorrect price, or encountered a technical issue on this page, we want to hear about it. Thanks again for your feedback, and happy shopping! Please note: we are unable to reply directly to suggestions."
The Food Network
I personally checked out over 100 e-stores hoping to find an example of a 404 page that asks for customer feedback on what the customer was trying to access. I found none. But I think it would be a very good idea.
Contact form vs. survey
There are 2 approaches to collecting feedback. One is to have an open ended contact box:
The other is to launch a survey:
The benefit of launching a survey is you can capture specific information that helps you categorize feedback and direct it to the appropriate department, or collect quantitative data to get an average "rating" for your site's usability. Open ended boxes are always qualitative and can be hard to organize or analyze in aggregate.
You must be careful with surveys, however, as they can appear to be more "difficult" and take more time to complete. They may have higher abandonment if too many fields are required or they look complicated and messy. Keep it short. Resist the temptation to ask off-topic questions or request personal information, and clearly mark required fields. The following form could be improved on all three:
If you do choose a survey, here are some popular tools you can look into: