Measuring customer feedback and incorporating it into business planning.
Did you know that 27% of Americans say unhelpful service is their number one customer service woe?
A customer’s opinion of a business is priceless. It provides a business with a roadmap for improvement and the management team insight from the most important perspective.
Customers see things from a perspective outside the company that you may not see. Continually refining your customers’ experience is a path to business longevity and an effort that is sure to pay dividends.
In this guide, we share the benefits of measuring customer feedback and why taking a planned approach to analyzing customer responses is essential.
As a CEO, manager, or other company decision-maker, you must ensure everything works as smoothly as possible to meet or even exceed your customers’ expectations. Without direct customer feedback, it becomes nearly impossible to determine if your customers are happy and satisfied with the way things are. It’s hard to improve if there is no roadmap for improvement. Measuring customer feedback allows you, as a company decision-maker, to determine if your clients are truly satisfied with the business.
Customers’ expectations are a product of their unique perspectives and life experiences. There is no way to compile an accurate matrix of their feelings without some organized method of inquiry. With this new information, you can make product and operational decisions which ensure that you are meeting the varied and ever-changing expectations of your customers.
You can adopt various methods for collecting customer experience (CX) data. In terms of which one(s) to use, you should choose the method or methods that best fit your company's unique needs.
Here are a few options:
The easiest initial step in instituting a customer feedback loop, is analyzing the data that you already have on-hand. Which products and/or services are the most popular? Which price points are the most successful? What preferences are customers demonstrating through the marketing messages that they are responding to most often? What are the most common complaints registered with your customer service department and sales team? All of this information is typically readily available for no expense. Companies just need to create an organized approach to collecting, analyzing and reacting to the data.
According to SurveyMonkey, over 80% of customers want to complete a survey after a purchase, regardless of whether their experience was good or bad.
Your preferred survey will depend on what fits your company and your overall budget. Online surveys cost less than in-person surveys, which entail screening and interviewing each person face-to-face, but provide a deeper level of feedback.
When creating a survey to gather customer feedback, there is a fine balance in designing easy to complete surveys that encourage participation and the inclusion of open-ended questions which require more effort, but provide the most detail.
Email can be a great place to start gathering customer feedback, as most companies already have a customer email list to work from. Including personalized responses and possible incentives could help increase your customer feedback rate through email.
Peer to peer text messaging has become a preferred method of engagement between people. Business messaging software such as Aim Messaging from Aizan Inc., has now evolved to provide companies with the ability to incorporate this popular messaging tool into their customer service and marketing initiatives. When incorporated properly, this conduit is used at key points in the customer journey to simplify their experience so that it more expediently provides them with the information that they require, such as appointment reminders and delivery updates, at the time they need it.
Social media channels provide another opportunity to gather customer opinions. The public nature of the forum however, offers unique challenges to depending on this channel as a primary source of customer intelligence.
Online opinions have a significant influence on customer decisions. It is a double-edged sword which cuts both ways. A negative review can be damaging to a brand or company. Acknowledging and addressing concerns in the public forum is a good strategy for minimizing the negative impact, but demonstrating concern and empathy.
Surveys, email, and social media are just three options you can adopt to gather customer feedback. Researching and analyzing your choices can help your business choose the one(s) that will best meet your needs.
It can be easier said than done to gather helpful customer feedback. Although customers often want to share their opinions, they don't always have the time to fill out long, drawn-out surveys unless they have a compelling reason to do so.
However, there are a few ways your company could make sharing opinions more desirable to your customers.
One great way to increase the odds of your customers providing feedback is to offer them an incentive after they are done.
An incentive is a great way to encourage customer feedback, whether it be a discount on your products or services, a gift card to a popular store, or a free coffee from Starbucks. Customers tend to help a company if it is willing to help them—a win-win situation.
A common mistake many companies make is creating surveys and emails focusing on their company.
Best practice includes wording like “How do you feel our company can be better?” instead of “How can we improve?” Although the change in vocabulary is subtle, the first choice shows the customer that their specific opinion about the company is valued.
The last thing you want to do is to create a bad or challenging experience for your customers. Remember, feedback is for your benefit, not theirs. In addition to more personalized vocabulary, you’ll get better results focusing on open-ended and rating/scalability questions.
By including open-ended questions that allow customers to share their opinions without feeling restricted to multiple choice or yes/no questions, you will often receive feedback that wasn’t anticipated during the development of the survey. Customer feedback monitoring aims to get as much valuable information as possible, which is why open-ended questions work best.
Rating questions are another great way to gather specifics about your company. Some customers might rate your customer service as "Very Good" over the phone but "Very Poor" over email. This gives you a clear next step of fixing the customer service via email but leaving the customer service on the phone as is. Rating questions can give you a clear answer to how customers feel about specific aspects of the business.
A planned approach to customer feedback can help businesses to overcome the challenges of gathering customer feedback and reap the many benefits of this valuable data.
Here are six key advantages of taking a planned approach to customer feedback:
A systematic approach to customer feedback means you're more likely to get accurate information about your products and services. You can target specific questions to specific customers, and you can also follow up with customers if they don't respond to your initial questions.
This information can be valuable for spotting new trends and making decisions about changes to your products and services. Companies that trend data, often become aware of shifting opinions before they impact a business, which stabilizes a company’s performance.
This information can be used to improve your products, services, and overall customer experience, in addition to fulfilling areas of customer need that may otherwise be unknown to the company.
This can help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. You can turn a negative customer experience into a neutral or positive one by addressing the issues directly with the customer.
Analytics generated from these campaigns will help you to make better decisions about your products, services, and marketing messages. Qualitative data is valuable for gaining personal customer insights, but quantitative data will help you measure customer feedback on a larger scale.
Customers appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback. However it needs to be acknowledged. It is a conduit to building trust and confidence in your business.
Measuring customer feedback can be a valuable asset for your business. However, it needs to be part of your ongoing business review and decision making. Some feedback may be negative, so it is important to analyze it with an open mind. This new information offers your company room to grow.
The most significant benefit of measuring customer feedback is gathering valuable information and insight you didn't have before. However, monitoring customer feedback and experience offers many additional benefits.
Customer feedback can help improve your products and services. Any changes that customers believe could better your products/services will ultimately help you in the end, as it will leave future customers satisfied from the start. It can also help you sell more and even bring in new customers as your products/services rise to a higher level.
At a minimum, simply tracking whether or not your customers are satisfied with your business can protect or improve market share and revenue. Companies that work in the dark, are susceptible to otherwise unforeseen business losses when clients find competitors who are more in tune with their needs.
Allowing your customers to share feedback makes them feel important to the company. A customer base that feels like their opinions are valued creates stronger and more loyal connections to the business. Customers also like a company that offers a human touch.
Customer feedback can give you clear insight into what decisions should be made now and in the future. Customer feedback is a tool that allows companies to continue improving throughout the years as more feedback is collected.
Showing your customers how much your business cares about improving is a great practice, as it shows them their feedback will likely be used to create positive change.
We also recommend leveraging cloud-based software to ensure your customer feedback is shared across the entire organization. That way, your whole team will be on the same page about the feedback and how to use it.
There's no point in putting in all the effort required by choosing/creating an effective feedback method if you don't do anything with it. Whether the feedback is negative or positive, use it to grow. Take advantage of this new, valuable information to transform your business into something even better.
A planned approach to customer feedback offers your business many advantages and benefits that can help you improve your products, services, and operations.
Customer feedback can also help you build better relationships with your customers by giving them a forum to express their concerns and suggestions.
Finally, a planned approach to customer feedback can help you identify systemic problems within your organization and address them before they cause significant damage.
By taking advantage of the benefits of gathering customer feedback, you can ensure that your business is always moving forward and improving.