4.1 Describe the importance of obtaining customer feedback
4.2 Identify ways to record and report customer feedback
4.3 Explain the importance of managing feedback in line with an organisation’s procedures
Customer feedback is the information provided by the customer to the organisation relating to the customer’s experience of the products or services (good or bad) used in the organisation. Its purpose is to gauge the level of satisfaction (good or bad) customers have, allowing organisations to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their services or products. Organisations that act on the feedback can improve areas of weakness or poor service, resulting in a greater level of customer satisfaction, meaning customer retention and business growth.
When creating an excellent experience for your customers, try asking them the following:
Asking for customer feedback ensures that the customer’s voice is heard and their experience and custom matters. In turn, this creates loyalty, and loyalty boosts profitability.
It takes a long time to build a brand reputation but only a moment to destroy it. When mapping out the customer experience, one key area is to consider the customer feedback and how you would like customers to talk about you, others, and the organisations to their colleagues. In that way, feedback is likely to be positive.
The customer’s experience with a service should be mapped beforehand to ensure all touch and pain points have been identified and solutions sought as customers talk and talk spreads. It’s straightforward; if customers feel that they have had a good experience, it naturally increases customer satisfaction resulting in repeat business and even referral. On the other hand, failure to consider the customer’s journey, including their expectations, will follow, which is terrible for an organisation’s reputation and brand.
To enhance the customer’s experience/satisfaction and exceed their expectations, consider the following:
Organisations and business owners don’t need to wait for customers to give their feedback to action. Proactive organisations constantly seek and encourage all customers to participate and respond. However, use multiple methods and systems to record feedback because not everyone wants to communicate in the same way.
To reduce the number of unhappy customers, organisations should measure customer satisfaction do the following:
Online customer satisfaction surveys or questionnaires are a great tool to engage with your customers and gather insightful data.
Email is a simple method of reaching customers for feedback. As most people have an email address they use and regularly check, customers are easily reached. However, one word of caution is that email correspondence must be brief if a response is to be actioned quickly. Long-winded text and survey questions are challenging to read on-screen, so they won’t keep people’s attention, resulting in lost action.
Survey type questions work well and need to be well thought out beforehand. Also, make sure you don’t ask too many questions either, as people quickly lose interest. Programmes such as Mailchimp and SurveyMonkey make designing emails and surveys easy.
SMS stands for Short Messaging Service. SMS is a low cost (although there is a network charge) method offering plenty of reach due to most if not all members or customers using a SMARTphone. It’s perfect when just a few questions are needing a response.
One in three consumers opts for sharing their concerns on social media channels instead of using traditional support channels such as the phone and email. Businesses now spend a vast amount of time actively engaging with customers on social media as it’s the perfect medium for responding quickly to feedback.
Social media is an incredible medium for collecting customer feedback, not just in with the number of responses but also in data analytics. Data analytics includes engagements, hashtags, likes and shares, which provides business with information on the brand reach that is further afield than direct members.
Channels such as Facebook and Twitter have features to create short surveys which are very user friendly.
Most companies and organisations, if not all, have a web page. The feedback tab, link or dedicated page should be visible and easily accessible. As with recommendations on other channels, use short surveys to keep interested.
With most adults using a smartphone, companies can use app technology to gain feedback and send notifications.
When you need in-depth, qualitative feedback from customers, one-on-one interviews with a researcher are valuable. Interviews help validate a hypothesis and observation(s) made from data. Along with other methods, they help improve the customer’s experience.
A focus group is a selected group of people who participate in a facilitated discussion to obtain feedback on consumer research services. The schedule needs to be set beforehand for Focus groups to accomplish their aims.
Panel research is similar to a focus group whereby a group of pre-selected people give their responses. Groups can vary in size but should be a cross-section of people such as age and social status, and lifestyles. Panels include employees and customers who can discuss what they think of the company.
The organisations’ CRM or Customer Relationship Management is the technology used to store, retrieve and manage interactions with customers and potential customers. Stored data includes email correspondence, website interactions, telephone conversations and social media profiles. The CRM will do other tasks as well, including recent company activity.
With the CRM’s help and feedback loop theory, services improve, and profitability increases. There are three stages to the feedback loop:
Each state’s information should flow from each other whereby information from the previous stage is used in the next stage. Like many processes, it needs to be constantly applied as a company needs change.
Feedback loops come in two types:
Digital channels such as website and social media pages provide an ideal medium to gain feedback from its audience and customers. Feedback channels include:
A company’s social media pages are the ultimate feedback (negative) loop. There is no better medium for getting closer to an audience than direct engagement through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, social media is a double-edged sword as customers will vent fury if dissatisfied with a product or service. Social channels revolve around instant messaging and response, so it’s best to have a designated person actively monitoring the sites ready to respond, especially when dealing with dissatisfied customers.
Companies should consider their employees’ feedback (positive) too, as they have direct contact with customers and services. Given the opportunity, staff want to feel they are a valued member of an organisation. Companies must implement multiple channels to gather employee feedback to service those employees who want to remain anonymous or are more self-conscious about their responses.
Feedback loop steps:
Step 1 – Gather information from requested feedback making sure feedback comes from multiple channels. Popular methods include surveys, live chats, social listening and direct email marketing.
Surveys are prevalent as they target specificity within a service or product. They can also target selected user groups.
Step 2 – Once data is collected, analyse it. Look for trends or recurring comments and make a note of their frequency. The next step is to position comments in. level of importance or user groups affected. Are there any pain points needing immediate attention, and can the causes be identified? Often issues arise due to miscommunication. Finally, what is the solution?
Apply conclusions into the product – When all information is gathered on services or product, it’s necessary to plan and implement changes and aim to implement the most important or critical changes that need to affect the running of a service. Remember that members need to be informed of the changes in good time to plan alternative services or activities and ask questions. Otherwise, the feedback loop starts again for the same reasons the changes implemented were there to stop.