All businesses exist to serve their customers’ specific needs. The best businesses go beyond customer demographics and dig in deep; they gather all the information they can about their customers via focus groups, web surveys, pilot programs, product testing and other instruments. They put themselves in the shoes of the customer to get to know the actual person behind the persona. They understand what really drives an individual’s need or desire for a product, and how that individual perceives the world.

 

Customer feedback provides a window into this world that is incredibly valuable. Feedback helps businesses successfully tailor their offerings to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.

But the feedback businesses receive is useless unless organizations act upon it to improve customer experiences. Businesses must use customer feedback to figure out what is influencing experiences and making customers feel a certain way; create solutions based on that information, and then monitor the effectiveness of those solutions after implementation.

This process involves asking a few questions -- and pursuing strategies that answer those questions.

Why Did Something Happen? Conduct a Root Cause Analysis

Sometimes, companies get lucky, and customers give explicit information about a failure or defect, or about a fantastic customer service experience. In other situations, companies may need to dig into CRM or tracking systems to try to match customer feedback with touchpoints along the customer journey to see where things went wrong.

If the experience is negative, it is essential that a business finds the root cause, which can help businesses get to the true nature of the problem.

How Do We Fix The Problem? Customers Drive the Solution

The worst solution a company can implement is one created in a vacuum, without the input of a single customer. All feedback – negative and positive provides companies multiple opportunities to improve.

Customers should be at the heart of all of the solutions designed to fix the problems uncovered by negative feedback. When companies receive negative feedback, they should first implement a "quick win" solution to immediately fix what's broken and begin to repair the relationship with customers. As businesses work to get to the cause of the problem, they should consider rolling out longer-term solutions that will result in revenue gains or retention increases, such as engaging with customers proactively via Twitter accounts dedicated to customer care or through customer loyalty programs.

How Are We Doing? Creating a Culture That Welcomes Feedback

A company's reputation is built on the combination of its operations and how it is perceived by customers. When things are humming smoothly, and customers are giving positive feedback both to the company and outwardly on social media, companies can feel more secure about their reputation.

These can be used to gather data about internal and external operations and perceptions, providing a truly complete picture of how things are going.

Dashboards give businesses the ability to track customer feedback and the subsequent changes the company implements based on that feedback. Simple dashboards can track internal company metrics, such as response time to customer service questions. More complex dashboards can integrate customer feedback data gathered via post-call and web surveys.

If businesses have specific employees or teams designated to monitor and respond to customer feedback, dashboards can be a handy way to track and communicate team actions. Tracking responses to feedback is critical; companies can use the dashboard to work with data in aggregate to identify trends. They can also ensure that every piece of communication receives an answer.

Top Tips to Use

  • If you position on price, you’ll be vulnerable to other brands undercutting you. Consumers are happy to pay a little more for a brand they believe in, or for a product, which has carved out a unique selling point.
  • Reducing the price of your products can cost you money and encourage fickle consumer behavior. Knowing your customer and giving them real value is the best way to keep them coming back.
  • Compiling behavioral data on consumers can help brands understand what drives interest. Combining transactional and web-based metrics can give you a real understanding of the customer.
  • Go the extra mile to retain high-value customers. Even if it costs money, it will benefit your business in the long run.
  • Social media platforms provide the ideal environment for establishing an ongoing relationship with customers that extends beyond price.
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