You know your company, but how well do you know your customers? It’s a question business leaders are asking themselves a lot more these days.

If your business runs on a CRM like Salesforce, you already have the power to measure and improve your customer relationships. In this post, we’ll show you how to make Salesforce even more powerful with customer feedback.

Customer feedback still matters—a lot

The modern customer experience is complex. Customers don’t just interact with brands during opening hours. And thanks to our many channels, most customer interactions don’t even happen face to face. People can engage with companies online and offline, in person or from behind screens, and they expect good experiences when they do. If they have a bad experience, they don’t hesitate to leave. Zendesk found that 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service.

This shift toward multi-channel, digital customer relationships means businesses have to make more of an effort to connect meaningfully with their customers. A big part of that is asking for their feedback, and really listening to it. The latter is easier said than done though. Customer feedback often collects dust in Excel spreadsheets because companies have trouble prioritizing it.

But if you use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Salesforce and a survey tool like GetFeedback, you already have the tools you need.

What you can do with customer feedback in Salesforce

A well-designed customer survey is a great communication tool. Customers can voice their wants and needs, call your attention to problems, and find quick routes to support. When you combine the power of their feedback with the tools of your CRM, you get more value out of both. Individuals, departments, and top-level management get a clearer picture of each customer.

Here are some of the cool things you can do:

  • Trigger an email alert to the record owner when a customer shares negative feedback.
  • Automatically create follow-up tasks for record owners based on customer satisfaction ratings.
  • Open a new support case when a customer says they need extra help.
  • Distribute product feedback surveys automatically after customers make purchases.
  • Store and filter feature requests by other key factors, like customer lifetime value.
  • Redirect brand advocates to public rating sites or social media, so they can spread the word.
  • Automatically escalate cases with frustrated, high-value customers.
  • Alert the customer success or customer marketing teams when customers share positive feedback, so they can ask for referrals.
  • Measure the pipeline influence of your surveys by adding respondents to campaigns.
  • Compare customer segments to discover why some convert at higher or lower rates.

The business benefits

As you can see, automation and data-gathering appear a lot in that list. But it’s not all numbers. Customer feedback is ultimately a tool that helps businesses improve their customer experiences. That feedback is gold. In fact, it has a price tag. If you don’t act on negative feedback, it can push fed-up, unhappy customers to the edge and damage your retention rate. But if you do act, you can really impact your bottom line for the better.

Let’s dig into the primary benefits businesses gain from integrating customer feedback in Salesforce:

  1. You add depth to your standard customer records.
  2. You can cut down on duplicate data.
  3. You can ask the right questions throughout the customer lifecycle.
  4. You can correct bad customer experiences faster.
  5. You can spot new customer trends.
  6. You can create a culture of action.

#1: You add depth to your standard customer records.

Since customer records are the main source of truth in Salesforce, it makes sense that customer feedback should live there. These records house the most essential customer data you have. You use it to monitor customer health, forecast churn, develop your go-to-market strategy, and keep your happy customer base chugging along.

But contact info and case history don’t tell the full story. They often leave out the subjective info that matters most, like contact preferences, interests, customer satisfaction, and more. When you supplement those standard customer records with feedback, you get a 360-degree view of your customers. That helps you better serve existing customers and attract new business.

Plus, context is everything when it comes to customer feedback. A customer satisfaction score alone won’t tell you much. But examine it against other customer data, like purchase history, average spend, region, and more, and that CSAT score suddenly says a lot more.

#2: You can cut down on duplicate data.

Is the onboarding phase rough for customers on a specific plan? Do customers tend to disengage or complain around the same time? It’s time-consuming to answer questions like those without integrated customer data. Even if you ask standard profiling questions in your survey, like “How long have you been a customer?”, interpreting the results will require some manual work. What’s more, it forces your customer to supply info they’ve already given you.

Instead of doubling up your work and making repeat demands, you can let the technology do the lifting. Salesforce surveys—or surveys designed to integrate with Salesforce—already contain your known data. Rather than asking a customer where they’re from, the survey already knows because it’s tied to their unique customer record. That makes for cleaner data and eliminates some of the manual data entry you might be doing. In the long run, that means higher productivity and clearer customer insights.

#3: You can ask the right questions throughout the customer lifecycle.

Once you map survey data to Salesforce, your team can run reports and create dashboards that put customer feedback into context immediately. Viewing customer feedback by specific customer segments—like sign-up date, location, and more—allows you to report on the trends you see month over month or year over year. This helps you quickly identify issues and project future growth.

On top of that, integrating your survey tool with Salesforce allows you to time survey distribution perfectly. Below are some examples of the survey questions you can ask at different stages of the customer lifecycle.

  • Before a customer makes a purchase:
    • What are you looking for?
    • Has the trial been valuable?
    • Do you have any questions?
    • Does our pricing make sense?
  • After a customer makes a purchase:
    • Why did you choose this product or plan?
    • How would you rate the purchase process?
    • Where did we do well?
    • Where did we do not so well?
  • When a customer is approaching renewal:
    • How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague? (the NPS question)
    • What do you like best about our product or service?
    • How can we serve you better?
    • Which products or features would you like to see next?
  • When a customer unsubscribes, churns, or disengages:
    • Why did you decide to leave?
    • How can we win you back?
    • Did you go with a competitor?
    • Any other feedback for us?

#4: You can correct bad customer experiences faster.

According to New Voice Media, 58% of Americans say they’d never use a company again following a negative customer experience. But engage a frustrated customer quickly and effectively, and you could keep their business. Pushing customer feedback directly to Salesforce encourages more proactive customer care.

When a customer has a bad experience, they can tell you right away, and Salesforce workflows and alerts help your team rectify the situation faster. Key team members get notified of negative feedback instantly. And we know that window of time is critical. You might even prevent that experience from putting a public stain on your brand image. Zendesk reports that 45% of customers share negative customer experiences on social media.

From both a damage control and customer retention perspective, focusing on keeping customers happy is the key to success. Having customer feedback data in Salesforce helps develop automated follow-up processes, sounding the alarm before things go permanently sour.

#5: You can identify new customer trends.

Housing customer feedback in Salesforce allows management to track, measure, and identify trends in customer satisfaction, attrition, and overall customer experience. This pins down relationships between customer health and other key factors, like close rate, pipeline, and case volume.

Teams can also chart customer satisfaction and loyalty trends before and after big changes are made. For example, if your CSAT score takes a hit right after a pricing or service adjustment, that’s a telltale sign that these changes have had a negative impact on the customer base.

Business leaders can compare this month’s forecast or next month’s pipeline to past growth indicators, like overall Net Promoter Score, to predict growth as well. Tracking NPS in Salesforce is particularly valuable, because it helps establish the relationship between loyalty and revenue. It’s also easy for the entire organization to see the most common reasons for customer churn, which features are in high demand, and how all of this is affecting pipeline.

#6: You can create a culture of action.

Consider all those times you’ve been blind to customer sentiment. What you would do if you had the answers? The 360-degree view you develop with feedback in you CRM helps get you there. You can ask those questions, push the results to Salesforce, and create processes that solve the problems hindering your customer relationships.

With an additional layer of data in Salesforce, you have a whole new set of information to take action on. GetFeedback pushes customer feedback into Salesforce in near real time. You can create workflows that trigger immediate actions based on specific results, good or bad.

Wrap-up

Sharing feedback organization-wide reinforces the fact that every team has an impact on customer experience. When they’re clued in on what customers are saying, they can make better decisions, personalize customer interactions, and focus on initiatives that improve customer experience.

Building a database of customer feedback is one of the best possible ways to keep sight on your primary goal: making customers happy.

Want to learn more about our Salesforce integration? Watch the 80-second demo of GetFeedback for Salesforce.

CX Battleground - increase retention customer feedback

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016. It’s been updated for accuracy and freshness.

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