As a tool for understanding the customer experience, feedback should be integral to your marketing strategy. But making sure that feedback leads to organizational change isn’t easy.
According to “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner, your business only hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers . Of the other 96% who say nothing, 91% will never come back.
Collecting feedback is an essential step towards understanding your customers. For small businesses, this is as easy as calling customers and having one-to-one conversations. But for larger enterprises, this approach simply isn’t feasible.
So, what types of technological solutions can help you to effectively collect, interpret and action customer feedback on a large scale?
Website analytics are a useful tool to see how much traffic pages are garnering, and to identify irregularities that require attention (pages with a high bounce rates, low time-on-page). Analytics give you an objective view of your whole site, but relying on metrics like pageviews and bounce rate can often be too opaque to draw real insight from.
Online reviews provide richer data, and are a broad gauge of customer sentiment towards your brand, but they tend towards the extremes – either positive or negative – and miss a large segment of customers that might be partially dissatisfied or simply unwilling to provide detailed feedback.
What’s more, customers are busy, and any that do take the initiative to leave a review often don’t provide an accompanying description.
An alternative is to ask customers what they think directly. Surveys are an effective tool for this. A pop-up with one or two simple questions can easily be added to a webpage, asking users to comment on either the page itself, or the user’s experience with the website as a whole.
An ecommerce businesses, for example, might implement a small popup on a checkout page to give users a chance to voice any issues at the point where they occur.
Social media channels are another source of data. By using social listening tools – polls conducted on channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – businesses can access an active audience and have an added benefit of driving engagement from the community. Positive, easy-to-answer questions work best here. For example, an ice cream brand might ask: “What’s your favorite flavor?”
For more in-depth responses, customers can be sent a full-length survey with multiple questions and space to elaborate. For these types of survey, form provider SurveyMonkey  recommends you keep your questions brief, objective, simple and specific – and to offer an incentive to increase response rates. Remember to thank customers for taking the time to leave feedback!
There are other, more innovative ways to engage customers too. UK-based, app-only bank Monzo  use a public Trello board  to give customers a space to weigh in with improvements, feature requests and general feedback.
This has helped create an engaged community, with users regularly interacting with employees and moderators to let Monzo know how they can improve their service.
After gathering the data, the next step is to interpret it. Text analysis software can help you draw insight from several sources at the same time. Typically integrating with an existing CRM system, the software draws data from a wide range of sources including surveys, reviews, customer panels, emails, sales call transcriptions and even social media posts – highlighting common themes, words used to describe your business and typical sentiment.
This gives you a sense of how customers perceive your product or service, visibility over common customer issues, and concrete evidence to justify potential changes.
The last step in the process is the most important: implementation.
When planning how to action changes, project management tools can help track progress, manage workflows and allocate work by providing a central hub for teams to gather around.
Segmenting actions based on time is a good rule of thumb. For example, actions could be split into:
- Short-term quick wins that can be easily accomplished
- Improvements that require a bit of work before they can be executed
- Long-term goals and structural changes
Above all: remember to close the loop – get back to the customer and let them know their feedback has been taken into account, and changes are being made. Research by a customer experience group  found that 43% of customers surveyed said they don’t complain or leave feedback because they don’t think the business cares.
Of those same customers, 81% said they would be willing to leave feedback if they knew they would get a fast response.
One alternative is to opt for a platform that covers the whole feedback experience.
Voice of the Customer (VOC) platforms allow businesses to collect, interpret and action customer feedback from a single interface – incorporating most of the features listed above into a single product, which in turn integrates into your CRM.
Top-end VOC platforms will be able to run surveys, parse unstructured data like customer care emails and voice calls, and offer detailed trend analysis, as well as integrating with your existing CRM.
A user-friendly dashboard that can be used by several different teams is another key concern, although vendors will typically offer some level of customization.
Ultimately, the needs of your business will determine the type of tool that you implement for gathering and responding to customer feedback.
Hopefully the above will have given you some ideas about what’s out there, and how technological solutions can help you action customer feedback at scale.
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