Best Practices for Getting the Most Out of Customer Feedback

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Most successful businesses understand the importance of adopting a strong customer-centric approach in their company procedures. And one of the key facets of this is gathering feedback.

Marketing teams make sure that they have information from customers by way of surveys, questionnaires, reviews and suggestion comments.

And for good reason, as 55 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a satisfying experience. Indeed, consumers are expected to value customer experience more than the price and product by 2020.

Taking customer sentiments to heart means getting to the bottom of what satisfies them and what does not.

It makes sense, as your customers have exactly what you need to know about your products and services. What’s better than getting the opinions of people who are actually using them?

Customers are the lifeblood of your trade, and proper management of customer feedback brings a lot of benefits, which include:

  • Enhancing your products or services. As your clients are the ones who have firsthand experience with what you are selling, their suggestions could help you make valuable changes to make your products more efficient, attractive and user-friendly.
  • Getting a pulse on customer behavior. In an online space, it’s easy to see and observe how customers behave throughout their purchase journey. What feedback gives you is a concrete basis on what customers like, dislike and what solutions they are looking for (which your brand can offer).
  • Strengthening customer relationships. Harvard Business Review found that acquiring new customers could cost 5 to 25 times more than retaining existing customers. That means you are doing your business a disservice by neglecting current customers! Hence, it’s critical that your clients feel that their opinions are valued and given importance. This encourages them to re-purchase and stay loyal to your business. And customers who’ve had a bad experience with a business? 70% of them would still be willing to shop there again if their problems are resolved.
  • Bringing innovation to the company. Customers can come in with a request or a suggestion about adding a specific feature to your product. Again, as they are the very people who benefit from the product or service, they can give you a richer understanding of what your product can solve and how to make it even more functional. Even before you launch a new version, you can let feedback guide your product development and innovation plans.

Structuring and Analyzing Feedback

Yes, feedback is essential, but while it can create competitive advantage, merely collecting feedback is not enough. The difference comes with how you act on the information.

Unfortunately, for small and midsize businesses, it can get overwhelming to collect and sort through all of the information, let alone analyze it piece by piece.

Whitney Wood, managing partner of Phelon Group, a company that focuses on customer relations, mentions that while companies solicit customer feedback every day, only a few actually take action and translate them into meaning.

And the last thing you would want is to gather feedback and put it in a spreadsheet just to forget about it. You would be wasting time and resources without receiving a good return on your investment.

Especially when 79 percent  of customers who share complaints online are ignored, you’d want your company to stand out from the rest in terms of how you address feedback.

But how can a company manage feedback efficiently?

Here are some key case management tools you can use to get accurate insights:

Labels. Labels are useful when you are organizing hundreds of responses at any given time.

If you use management tools that allow custom labels, you won’t need to export each feedback and label the responses in Excel. The software allows you to apply labels automatically on your site functions based on specific keywords you will determine.

Another option is to use a conditional form, which lets users select a subject for their feedback response. This way, you can clearly separate feedback based on the subject.

Saved filter. A custom saved filter allows you to conveniently access specific contacts and labels according to the criteria set, based on what feedback content you need to track. You will receive email notifications if relevant feedback items arrive in your inbox.

Priority levels. When you apply priority levels in your inbox setting, you can automatically split the items according to a scale of urgency—whether an item is “critical” or not. For feedback, this can help you act faster on the more pressing matters, such as defects or bad service, and can likewise help you determine the less urgent concerns you could attend to later on.

Statuses. Setting a status is quite useful to keep you on track of where action points are. By marking items as “in progress” or “resolved,” you become aware of the steps taken regarding the feedback and whether there are further matters to take care of.

Customer service. There will be customer service requests sent via the form. You can work on these forms by filtering out the items at the same time that the customers are getting the assistance they need.

How to Use Your Customer Feedback

Once you are able to organize your feedback items into meaningful groups, the next big step is to actually use the data!

As Wood explains, “The chore is not in the listening, but in the implementation and follow-up.”

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