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The Bottom-Line Boost of Feedback
Integrating authentic, real-time customer feedback into CRM data.
Posted Jul 29, 2010
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Any executive tasked with steering the direction of a company will tell you it's essential to know who the customers are, what they want, when they buy, and where they are. But it's only once the company knows why customers act as they do that its management can develop an effective business strategy.

For many businesses, the who, what, when, where and even the why have already been captured. CRM solutions obtain relevant data about customer behavior, and feedback analytics enable strategically minded companies to solicit the elusive why directly from customers. Once businesses take the next logical step of combining these two information sources, their ability to base mission-critical decisions on integrated quantitative and qualitative data will rapidly escalate.

What are the benefits of such integration? They are numerous, and they all lead to increases in the bottom line. By providing your business with a comprehensive customer view, you can listen to your users, respond to their needs and act on their suggestions. Harnessing this feedback enables online businesses to close sales faster and streamline customer service efforts.

Get closer to your customers

Knowing a customer - truly knowing that person and why he or she makes certain choices - requires the actual voice of the customer. The ability to listen to customers might be the greatest benefit of integrating CRM and feedback analytics. Chances are your customers want to engage with you, but on their own time.

Implementing a user-friendly feedback form lets your customers rate your site, select different categories and subcategories and provide feedback. The feedback button and window will help maximize the amount and quality of feedback from your Web site visitors and customers.

Use this feedback to understand the needs of your users and improve your Web site to increase customer loyalty.

Integrate customer feedback into CRM data

Once you master a method for extracting direct feedback from customers, your next step is to marry that feedback to your CRM data to create a central repository of sales-dependent information and frank customer input. The depth of feedback helps your sales team convert leads into customers, while your technical and support teams save time and provide better service to your customers. This combination of two vital information streams in one source offers businesses of all sizes a means to manage and know online customers in a manner not previously available.

Rich-information leads enable your sales team to close deals faster

Feedback analytics provide you with rich-information sales leads that give you more insight into your prospective customers. Not only do you receive the unique user feedback, but you also get contact information on users and their location on your Web site when they filled out the forms. This information can be easily shared with your entire company, in case other team members may need to help you meet prospective customers' needs.

Users who provide feedback can suggest, perhaps, that they want more information than you have provided, or that your products are expensive or they cannot find what they are looking for on your Web site. Once you analyze the feedback, you can speak with prospects about their specific needs. Use their feedback as an opportunity to provide more detailed product information or provide an incentive, discount or coupon to help with close the deal. Users want to be heard and heeded, so take advantage of the feedback to turn your leads into sales.

Reduce support items and easily manage cases

Drop the guessing games. Your customers are telling you what kind of problems and support issues they are experiencing, so you do not have to go through a list of questions to understand the issue. You can also use your direct and online feedback channel to help reduce impersonal and scripted calls to the help desk.

With online feedback integrated into your CRM system, you receive instant updates on support cases so you can manage and respond to your customers as needed. In addition to the feedback, you receive unique data such as browser type, operating system, screen resolution and geography, allowing you to work faster or pinpoint easy-to-fix issues. With this integrated approach, you get a comprehensive view of your customer's engagement with your company.

Human contact: the panacea of customer service challenges

Human contact is one of the best ways you can engage with your prospects and customers. Feedback forms provide instant opportunities for conversations that lead to faster sales cycles, more personal customer service and real-time human contact.

When combined with your CRM data, direct customer feedback provides your business with an opportunity to connect with a prospect directly, easily and quickly.

Businesses using integrated feedback analytics and CRM data find that the authentic voice of the consumer within CRM data has a measurable effect on how well they know their customers, how well they attract new customers and - most importantly - how successful they are in keeping those customers.

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About the Author

Eran Savir (bizdev@kampyle.com) is the cofounder and VP of Business Development at Kampyle (http://www.kampyle.com). Kampyle's easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution enables companies to customize and implement in five minutes to collect, analyze, measure, and respond to online user feedback.

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Please note that the Viewpoints listed in CRM magazine and appearing on destinationCRM.com represent the perspective of the authors, and not necessarily those of the magazine or its editors

You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" below.

If you would like to submit a Viewpoint for consideration on a topic related to customer relationship management, please email viewpoints@destinationCRM.com.

For the rest of the July 2010 issue of CRM magazine — which examines the past 15 years in the CRM industry — please click here.

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