The Future of Customer Feedback

How do you close the loop and stay ahead of your customers’ needs?

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Acknowledging customer feedback isn’t the same as acting on it. Just ask your customers. When service issues crop up or products fail, it’s the follow-through that counts. How do you close the loop and stay ahead of your customers’ needs?

Why Some Customer Feedback Programs Fail

Companies can do all the right things—send transactional surveys, conduct customer interviews, host focus groups—and still fail to hear the “voice of the customer.”

In most cases, antiquated tools and broken processes are to blame. They lead to bad data, poor visibility, and costly mistakes. If different departments use different technology to engage and manage customers, the situation gets even messier. Employees end up drudging through data to find answers.

The “Hidden Data Factory”

Bad data is a big piece of the infamous “customer experience gap” that plagues so many companies. Messy, outdated, and incomplete customer data makes everyone’s jobs harder. In fact, IBM estimated that poor data quality cost $3 trillion in the U.S. alone in 2016.

When you count on manual data entry, you’re bound to end up with human error.

Companies, government agencies, and other organizations are rife with hidden data factories. Salespeople waste time dealing with erred prospect data; service delivery people waste time correcting flawed customer orders received from sales. Data scientists spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning data; IT expends enormous effort lining up systems that “don’t talk.” Senior executives hedge their plans because they don’t trust the numbers from finance. 

― Thomas C. Redman, Harvard Business Review

Customer interactions fall through the cracks

When teams aren’t armed with proper resources—like clean data—the customer experience is bound to suffer. Service quality may decline or become inconsistent, making customers question the business altogether.

When customers are frustrated, engaging with them quickly is critical. It’s an opportunity to restore their faith in your brand. But this follow-through is where so many companies miss the mark because they haven’t built a closed-loop process for customer feedback.

6 Key Customer Experience (CX) Considerations

Enterprises need to create a frictionless environment for their front-line employees and put the right fundamental practices in place to close the loop for their customers. This starts with the key considerations below, which create the closed-loop customer feedback foundation.

1. Reduce friction at key customer touchpoints

In thinking about your closed-loop process development, consider multi-channel customer experiences. Knock down all barriers and make it easy for customers to interact with your company through their preferred channel.

Today’s companies aren’t moving fast enough. Multichannel experiences are still high-effort, low-reward, which takes a toll on customers. So as you move forward, make sure to evaluate and refine touchpoints through the customer journey.

There’s a new obligation and a new opportunity for companies to engage people differently.

― Paul Daugh, Accenture CTIO

2. Minimize customer effort

We’ve all had those poor customer experiences where it seems like a company is going out of its way to make things hard. It’s obvious when customer-centricity is just paid lip service.

Companies with the best reputations are the ones that take time to think through how they can make life easier for their customers and employees. When customers complain, putting the right information in front of the right people in your company can be extremely powerful.

 Keyword sentiment through text analytics can surface trends and help you identify critical feedback quickly. This provides a rapid conduit of data for employees at all levels of the organization to appropriately act on the feedback and draw upon the data to make process and policy changes.

3. Always be on brand

Your customer experience is a direct reflection of your brand. You want to be as innovative with your customer interactions as you are with your products and services.

Eargo is an example of a company that does both. The modern hearing aid company was on the hunt for a survey tool that could better engage their customers. They wanted something simple, powerful, and innovative, just like their product.

When they began sending branded surveys at key moments in, they saw a significant increase in survey response rates, Net Promoter Score, and 5-star reviews. As important, the modifications they made to their customer experience made a marked difference in customer sentiment.

Today, Eargo can hear how happy their products make people every day.

GetFeedback is highly innovative. We now can spot trends among our customer’s feedback and take immediate action to improve customer happiness.

― Ardalan Zandian, Sr. Online Marketing Manager, Eargo

4. Get up to speed with mobile

At this point, mobile-optimized customer experiences are a must. If you can provide a seamless experience through customers’ preferred channels, you’ll better engage them everywhere.

Ticketfly uses mobile to deliver top-notch customer support. Immediately after a client signs up, they get a welcome email with a personalized GetFeedback survey, which asks about their Event Terms and Policies. Their responses are then pushed directly into their customer record in Salesforce.

Ticketfly has seen incredible results since implementing this closed-loop workflow. With convenient access to customer information, support agent could do their jobs better and agent productivity increased by 250%.

5. Personalize the feedback experience

Loyalty and personalization are inherently linked. Customized experiences keep people coming back, so brands that know their customers deeply tend to succeed.

Personalization means saying the right things in the right way at the right time. It requires a comprehensive evaluation of all customer touchpoints, from email marketing to customer communications and beyond.

Personalized surveys are a great way to help brands collect better data at the customer interaction point to make smarter decisions. Surveys have received a bad rap historically because they’ve been misused. Companies put them in set-it-and-forget-it mode and the results become irrelevant.

Creating personalized surveys and a seamless process to capture and act on feedback doesn’t have to be daunting.

Take some time upfront to think through the following regarding personalized surveys:

Tips on personalizing surveys

  • Send surveys during or right after a customer has an experience with your brand. Transactional surveys increase engagement and feedback quality.

  • Use survey logic and personalization to reference specific details about the customer’s experience.

  • Only ask relevant questions.

  • Only ask new questions (or questions that need new answers).

  • Make sure questions sound like a human wrote them.

  • Weave in company messaging and branding when appropriate.

6. Integrate customer feedback with Salesforce to see it through a sharper lens

Storing all of your customer data in one place gives you a holistic picture of your customer experience. With rapid set-up, CRM systems like Salesforce integrate with all of your customer data can significantly cut down manual data entry and mitigate human error

Even more important, how you set up your process flow can help your workforce close the loop with customers even faster. With GetFeedback for Salesforce, surveys and notifications can be triggered based on customer activity, then the responses get pushed to Salesforce in real time.

All in all, this gives stakeholders visibility and minimizes manual work, making your employees’ lives easier.

The Closed-Loop Process

Step 1: Create a Customer Journey Map to identify all customer touch pointsStep 2: Gather feedback at all of your critical customer touch pointsStep 3: Create a voice of the customer, one central place or dashboard to prove ROIStep 4: Take action on the feedbackStep 5: Change your CX based on the feedbackStep 6: Continue to gather feedback and take action.Step 7: Keep iterating as you to continue to learn

Bringing It All Together

If you have the right foundation and visibility tied to your broader, you won’t need to build each time. You can focus on learning more about your customers instead. Then, success becomes about tiering and prioritizing the feedback in your CRM alongside customer lifetime value and other key factors.

The results? You get a clear picture of how much revenue is on the line. This helps you prioritize business improvements and add value where customers want it most.

Every interaction is an opportunity to win or lose a customer relationship. We want our customers to provide feedback on every single experience, so we know what we’re doing well and what we need to fix.

― Karen Wlasichuk, Global Process Improvement Leader, Operational Excellence, BigCommerce

Don’t wait to close the loop with your customers. Customer interactions are happening right now. Improving feedback processes ultimately improves your entire customer relationship management program by adding visibility company-wide.

The strongest feedback loops do more than just connect customers, the front line, and a few decision-makers in management. They keep the customer in the spotlight throughout the entire organization.

Build the right foundation and you’ll reap the rewards quickly. Companies who harness their customer data will innovate, compete and win.

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