It would be a business superpower if you could know what your customers and employees think about your products and services, your workplace, and your company as a whole.
But you don’t need to wait around for those powers to appear - you can just ask your customers and employees what they think, and analyze and act on their feedback.
Feedback allows you to refine and elevate your customer experience, your employee experience, and your business as a whole.
But approaching it can be intimidating - how do you ask for feedback the right way, and act on it effectively? This guide will cover all of that and more.
What is feedback?
Feedback in the workplace is information provided by customers, employees, or managers and leaders about their experiences with your business and the people in it.
If that sounds like a broad definition, that’s because feedback is a vast topic. It can help to look at the various types of feedback in the workplace to get a clearer picture.
Different types of feedback
Employee feedback is provided from employees to the business overall, or to leaders or managers.
Employees can offer feedback on the workplace culture at your business, their experience in their role, and how they perceive their managers and leaders, for example. This type of feedback allows you to measure and improve the employee experience.
For customers, feedback can mean providing opinions about your products, your customer service, and your brand perception.
They offer insights about their experiences with some aspects of your business along their customer journey, and those insights can help you improve the customer experience.
Peer feedback is offered from one employee to another about their performance in a task or their role. Since employees on the same level often understand each other’s roles deeply, this kind of feedback is meaningful.
Peer feedback can be between two front-line employees, between mid-level managers, or go all the way up to senior leadership peers.
One of the key roles of a manager is providing regular feedback to direct reports, whether that’s an informal check-in about a task or formalized annual performance reviews.
Managers might offer feedback about project progress, soft skills, career development, or a wide range of things that will help their teams succeed.
Importance of feedback
There are many reasons why feedback is important to businesses. At their essence, all those reasons have one main thing in common - you can’t measure and improve what you don’t know.
Constructive criticism is essential to making improvements, whether that’s in your overall customer journey or in an employee’s daily tasks.
Without feedback, you would probably not know with certainty how your products are performing against customer expectations. And employees wouldn’t know if they’re meeting performance expectations in their role.
Increased customer satisfaction
Why is collecting feedback from customers important? Because when you know what customers think of your products or services and make improvements to more closely match their expectations, your customers are happier and more loyal.
Soliciting and acting on customer feedback allows you to increase satisfaction by tailoring your new products, customer service, and brand to match your ideal customers’ needs and desires. And satisfied customers mean increased customer loyalty.
Increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by 25-95%, according to a Harvard Business School study.
Asking for, and taking action on, customer feedback increases retention because customers feel valued and heard - and of course, their pain points and issues are addressed.
Improved employee engagement
Employee engagement means how enthusiastic and involved employees are in their roles, their teams, and your workplace.
People want a sense of meaning and mission in their work - that applies to front-line staff just as much as C-suite executives.
More employee engagement, according to Gallup, means 23% higher profits and 10% higher customer loyalty, among many other benefits. And employees who receive daily feedback from their managers are three times more likely to be engaged than those who get feedback once a year or less.
Improved working relationships
Peer-to-peer feedback allows for open communication between colleagues, allowing them to resolve tension or conflicts smoothly. Offering and receiving feedback helps to get any issues out into the open, where they can be discussed and solved.
Without feedback, small issues can quickly spiral into something much larger. Relationships in the workplace thrive when there is regular, open communication and feedback on all levels.
Employees tend to be more motivated when they’ve received feedback, as long as it’s constructive. They will know where they need to make improvements, and have the support to make changes.
If they don’t receive clear and actionable feedback, they won’t know what needs to change - and so the motivation to improve can wane.
Employees can also feel more motivated when they’re asked to offer feedback about the organization because they feel heard and valued. Treating them like the important part of the business that they are motivates them to do their best for the organization.
Personal and professional growth
Employee feedback promotes growth as well, though it’s partly of the personal kind. By providing constructive criticism and feedback, employees can become aware of their strengths to harness them, and their weaknesses to improve them.
A company full of self-aware employees who are striving to improve and grow, and given the feedback necessary to do so? That’s a powerful engine for business growth.
How to gather feedback
Now that you understand the importance of feedback for your business, you’re probably wondering how to gather that feedback effectively, including the three major customer loyalty metrics. Here’s everything you need to know.
Gathering customer feedback
When you’re considering how to gather customer feedback, you must decide on your business goals first before you determine the method you’ll use to solicit customer feedback. That’s because every feedback mechanism has different benefits and considerations.
Customer satisfaction surveys
These are one of the most popular customer feedback surveys. The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey is the gold standard of satisfaction surveys. It asks customers how satisfied a recent purchase or interaction with your business made them.
While customer satisfaction isn’t everything, it’s still an important metric. You may want to check on satisfaction levels after a purchase experience to ensure customers are happy with the check-out process and quality of the product - this is their most important moment as a new customer, and you want to ensure you’re getting it right.
If your business has a mobile application, it’s critical to make sure it’s functioning smoothly at all times and providing what customers are looking for.
In-app surveys provide a way to gather feedback about the performance of your app while customers are using it, making the feedback timely and accurate.
You can collect information about any bugs that have popped up before they become larger issues, and ensure your app resources are meeting customer expectations.
Your website is often the gateway to welcome new customers to your business - so what do your users really think about it?
By using website surveys, you can ask customers if they have found what they were looking for, why they’re leaving your site without making a purchase, and if there are features or products they’d like to see in the future.
Transactional emails are sent immediately after a customer makes a purchase, upgrades a plan, or cancels a service. They have a high open-rate because they contain information that is valuable and timely to a customer.
These emails are an opportunity to ask for feedback from the customer about the purchase or upgrade experience - how they would rate the check-out process or product delivery, for example.
If a customer has canceled, your transactional email can include a one-question survey along with the cancellation confirmation asking what led to the decision to leave. This can provide insights into why customers stop doing business with you.
Net Promoter Score surveys
The Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) system asks customers one question - how likely are they to recommend your business or products to their friends and colleagues?
While it’s a simple question, it is an excellent way to determine customer loyalty levels. You can send quarterly or annual NPS surveys to check-in with customers about their overall loyalty levels and feelings about your business.
You can also send transactional NPS surveys immediately after a customer has an interaction with your business to see if that experience raised - or lowered - their loyalty levels. For example, how did their recent call with a customer service agent go?
Customer Effort Score
Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys measure how easy you make it for customers to do business with your company. If it’s difficult for customers to complete tasks like making a purchase or solving an issue, they’re likely getting frustrated and dissatisfied.
CES surveys are often sent after a customer service interaction asking how easy the rep made it for them to solve their problem.
You can also send this survey, or use a website pop-up, if a customer accesses self-serve resources on your website to measure their effectiveness.
Gathering employee feedback
Determining how to gather employee feedback in your organization depends on your goals for gathering feedback. Are you looking to measure and increase engagement rates, decrease turnover, or look for ways to improve your hiring effectiveness?
No matter what your goal, there’s a feedback mechanism that will serve your needs.
Employee engagement surveys
The most common form of gathering employee feedback is through employee engagement surveys.
Typically performed annually, these surveys check in on key indicators of employee engagement such as employee happiness and dedication to the mission and values of your company.
Employee engagement surveys ask about elements of the employee experience such as workplace culture, job satisfaction, recognition and rewards, and organizational leadership. They offer a window into the experience of employees and how different factors impact their levels of engagement at work.
Checking in with your top performers can yield valuable insights into what they like most and least about their jobs, why they stay at your company, and what would make them consider other opportunities.
Retaining your top performers is essential to your company’s success. You can use the results of stay interviews to create a “stay plan” - outlining career development and training opportunities, policies that increase retention, or personal perks that matter to the employee.
For example, if one top performer says that a flexible working schedule is important to them, you can offer it to that employee. And if stay interviews turn that up as a source of retention risk among many high performers, you can institute a new flexible working policy for most or all employees.
An employee feedback survey doesn’t always need to be a massive, in-depth undertaking. There’s also a lot of value in short, frequent surveys to take the pulse of your employee population.
Employee NPS surveys are an excellent way to use a pulse survey. You can check in monthly or quarterly to determine how improvements you’ve made to the employee experience are working - or not working.
Pulse surveys are a good complement to the big annual engagement survey so you can track trends in real-time.
When employees are headed out the door, this is a valuable opportunity to gather honest feedback about the workplace, manager, or leadership shortcomings.
Exit interviews can surface pain points in the employee experience that increase retention, such as a lack of training and development opportunities.
While there might be one main reason an employee leaves, like an offer with a higher salary, there are typically multiple factors that contribute to that decision as well. Ask employees about their compensation, benefits, manager, team dynamics, growth opportunities, and anything else you’re curious about.
What to do once you’ve gathered feedback
Having a clear strategy in place to collect, analyze, and act on feedback is essential because otherwise, you’re simply putting valuable data into a folder somewhere and likely forgetting about it.
Once you’ve gathered your feedback, it’s time to take action.
Identify areas for improvement
While negative feedback can be difficult to hear, it is incredibly valuable - it offers your business insight into needed improvements in the employee or customer experience.
Where are the biggest pain points occurring right now in your customer journey? If you can improve those, you will see happier customers who stay with your business longer. And improving issues in the employee experience can reduce turnover there as well.
Pinpointing the areas for improvement that matter most to customers and employees ensures you’re focused on fixing the right issues, instead of wasting resources on areas that don’t matter as much.
Prevent customer churn
Customer churn happens when customers are unhappy with something about your product or company, so they cancel their subscription or plan. Churn is expensive for businesses when it happens frequently.
Customer feedback offers a way to reduce churn by knowing what makes customers dissatisfied. And if you put a closed-loop feedback system in place as well, you can reach out to customers after a negative experience to resolve the problem and repair the relationship.
Motivate the team
Positive feedback motivates your employees to do their best every day.
When a customer sends in praise about an employee who helped them fix an issue and offered compassionate, effective service, share that with the employee - and the team as a whole.
By sharing positive feedback with the team, you’re recognizing the hard work of the employee as well as showing the team what great customer service looks like. And that encourages all of them to commit to offering excellent service to every customer.
Improved customer and employee experiences
Creating better experiences for both your customers and your employees is essential for the health and success of your business.
When the customer experience is above and beyond what your competitors offer, customers will stay loyal to your business for the long-term. They know you will consistently meet or exceed their expectations, and that they can count on your business.
When the employee experience is excellent, employees are more engaged and motivated in their work, leading to higher productivity and profits for you. And happy, engaged employees are less likely to look for work elsewhere, saving you the work and expense of constantly hiring new staff.
Gathering feedback from your customers and your employees offers valuable insights into the experiences you provide. And feedback can be a powerful path to improvements that lead to higher customer and employee loyalty - as long as you act on that feedback.
GetFeedback makes collecting, analyzing, and acting on feedback simple and effective, no matter how large your organization is or where you are in your CX journey. Develop a deeper understanding of your customers and employees with the power of GetFeedback - and it integrates with the systems your teams are already using for a seamless experience.