By now it is pretty clear that your customers are the core of driving your experience strategy. Given that using customer feedback and insights is a critical part of the CX agenda, at EffectUX we often find ourselves getting asked about how to create a cohesive customer feedback strategy--from both a client perspective and an employee perspective. So here are 6 considerations and some great articles providing insights for when thinking about using feedback as a part of your customer experience strategy.
1. Asking for feedback can help show you care, however, even better is following up on the feedback.
Asking your customers for feedback can show them that their opinions matter to you. It gives them an avenue to express how they feel, what they may want to see improved, and can highlight valuable trends as to why your customers may not be returning.
Gathering the feedback is a commendable step in your strategy, however, often times businesses forget to follow up on the feedback loop. Depending on your situation, this can be in the form of a very simple thank you and letting them know their feedback has gone to the team or person responsible for the experience, or, a gift or incentive that shows you value the time they spent giving you the feedback. Even more powerful, you may want to consider how you let them know what happened to the feedback. Here, you will want to consider at least 3 points to address:
- What feedback was acted on and how.
- What feedback you acknowledge as being worked on, or planned for the future.
- What feedback could not be actioned and why.
This can be designed straight into your customer feedback strategy. For example, on a monthly basis you can email everyone that left feedback and let them know from the collective feedback what is happening with it. Adding this into your feedback loop not only shows them you care, but can increase their feeling of value as they’re aware their voices went somewhere, not just to a system or some ancient pile of unaddressed feedback left to collect dust.
2. Feedback that looks at preferences can show you where competitors may be outdoing your product or experience.
When capturing your customer feedback, you can learn how your product is perceived against competitors. You can look at potential competitors that you know about, or, maybe even find out about competitors that you didn’t know existed. For example, if your product lacks a critical feature that customers look for in a competitor, it could help drive your product roadmap.
To amplify the value further, you can use the trends that you see in your feedback, and, then look closely at the competitor products to understand the evidence behind the data. It is a wise idea to understand the experience of your competitors first-hand. For example, if you have a seafood restaurant, and you see that in your feedback people are commenting on your food, and your competitors have positive feedback about the food, go to the restaurant, understand why their food is perceived better – what feelings does eating their food evoke? Let’s be clear, this is not to say that you do what they do. It means, understand what people are resonating with, what is important to their experience within your domain and industry, and use the insight to create a compelling experience that differentiates you.
3. Feedback can go beyond ratings for generic areas, it can be used to understand potential.
Often businesses confuse trending data points for quality, or satisfaction, with a feedback strategy. While trending and understanding is important, they often do not tell you what you need to do. Sometimes you need to be clear and more focused on the feedback you are obtaining. Once you know what you want to know and the purpose of the feedback, you can determine who you need to talk to, how is best to obtain it, and when is best to capture it.
Feedback is most powerful when you link your feedback-and feed-forward loops. For example, speaking to some users of an existing feature to learn how they are using it could highlight new use cases that you can incorporate into your value proposition. It can not only lead to a value pivot, but can guide you in development of the use case, so that the customer need is met as required. You can find out how they use it, how it could better meet their needs, and what works well for them currently.
4. Obtaining feedback is an opportunity to understand true needs, it is your job to create the right solution that truly meets these needs.
As we often explain to our clients – be careful not to look at “wants,” as another want tends to arise once the other has been satisfied. This can lead to a confused strategy with no real direction, ultimately leading to wasted development efforts. The truth is, often times, people do not understand what the right solution is until they experience it.
There are so many ways to obtain feedback, depending on what you are trying to understand, but the key is to not listen to feedback with the intent to respond, or react. If you use feedback mechanisms as opportunities to understand, you can then use these insights to really see the root cause of the feedback, and determine what solution is a genuine, successful, response to the need.
5. Businesses often focus on negative feedback; positive feedback is also valuable.
Of course, negative feedback shows you where you can improve and gives you the opportunity to respond in a way that has positive results for your brand. However, positive feedback also has its place in your feedback strategy.
When you receive positive feedback, sharing it with the company, organization, and team can help give morale a boost, as well as increase “team-esteem”. You can also share the positive feedback to help increase your competitive advantage as they can serve as independent reviews that demonstrate that you deliver customer satisfaction to potential partners, potential customers, and even your existing ones.
Also, speaking to customers that give the experience positive feedback, can help identify innovation opportunities. These customers will not be as focused on improving existing experiences, so you can use feedback opportunities with them to understand where else you could support their needs, opening the doors of growth potential. For example, isn’t it great when a customer says “I love brand [blank], I wish they’d done [blank]” or “I wish I could use them for [blank]”. Not to mention, a customer that is happy with your experience is more likely to want to do more business with you!
6. Consider sources of feedback that are available to you, and use them as opportunities to convert negative moments into positive interactions.
There exists a plethora of feedback sources from review sites, to customer service moments. Social media channels can provide an ample data source and today there are several tools to help you “listen to and monitor” these channels.
You can use these sources to look at trends, and provide valuable insights into what you could be doing to improve your experience. However, you can also use these moments to convert a lost customer, or turn around the experience for them.
Negative experiences are more often shared than positive experiences. Typically, positive experiences have to be really amazing, standout, strike a positive emotional cord or be very meaningful or appreciated to the customer for them to be shared. However, those frustrations and dissatisfied moments get repeated time and time again in conversations, in posts, and in reviews, with studies showing that each dissatisfied customer typically shares the unsatisfactory experience with 8 to 10 (sometimes even 20) others.
When someone expresses their dissatisfaction, it can be helpful to have a strategy in place to respond. You need to make sure you respond quickly, and in the right way to make the customer feel positive about your brand again. Here, enabling your customer service representatives with the guidance and trust to deliver the customer experience is critical.
Customer feedback is an important part of creating and delivering experiences that matter – to your customers, to the marketplace, and, to your business. While you think through and define your customer feedback strategy here are some things to consider:
- Close the feedback loop so that customers do not only feel you cared because you asked, but feel valued because they know what you done with the feedback they provided.
- Understand what your customers perceive of your experience, as well as what they perceive of your competitors to elevate your understanding of what is important to them, and their needs.
- Use feedback to understand how customers use your products and services as you may uncover new use cases that you never thought of that addresses the needs of your audience.
- Understand the true needs (not wants), and then provide an accurate, meaningful solution that is a genuine better way of doing something, or achieving the customer needs.
- Use positive feedback to boost morale, team-esteem, and provide independent evidence that you have satisfied customers.
- Monitor where your customers are talking about their experience with you, and ensure you have built in the necessary procedures and support to respond in a way that will turn the negative moment around.