Fuel Cycle

Customer Feedback – Why It Can’t Be Ignored

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In a world where word-of-mouth marketing is the most influential form of marketing, customer feedback is everything. Its value is bar-none when it comes to improving your unique selling proposition and keeping a leg up on your competitors.

What is Customer Feedback?

Customer feedback is an umbrella term for any opinion, thought, or insight from those who’ve engaged with your brand, services or products about your brand, services, or products. It’s both objective and subjective data that can answer critical questions such as:

  • How are customers perceiving the brand?
  • Are they satisfied with the products or services?
  • Are there any notable attributes worth capitalizing on in marketing campaigns?
  • How likely are they to recommend the product/services?
  • How did they hear about our brand?

Customer feedback is collected by employing a number of different tools, most often through surveys, reviews, discussion boards, or by direct contact with your company representatives. What’s most notable about customer feedback is that it offers a unique opportunity to gain complete insight into a customer’s experience with your brand. This insight is critical for a variety of prominent reasons.

Why Customer Feedback is Important

There are many reasons why brands invest a prominent portion of the marketing budget for gathering customer feedback.

Customer feedback helps you re-align with your customers. The more you invest in gathering customer feedback, the more feedback you’ll get. Having a wide pool of customer feedback allows you to identify key trends in the experiences your customers are having with your product, service, or brand. This insight can be used company-wide to make changes that help you re-align with your customer’s wants and needs, which is vital in growing or maintaining your market share.

Customer feedback influences other customers. There’s a reason word-of-mouth marketing is the most influential form of marketing– because customers listen to other customers. They don’t just listen, but they use this feedback to make their purchasing decisions. In fact, 60% of consumers look at online reviews, at least weekly, and that 93% say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.

Customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is a little cost, a big pay-off way to keep revenue flowing. Why? Because it cost 5x to 25x more money to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one. Plus, a happy customer is a valuable one, as the number one most common source of new leads are referrals. Additionally, highly-engaged customers buy 90% more often and spend 60% more per transaction

Customer feedback is customer service. Gathering customer feedback shows that you genuinely care how well you’re meeting their expectations, and take a genuine interest in better serving their needs. In a time where the market comes increasingly more competitive, you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful company that isn’t customer-centric.

Different Types of Customer Feedback

There is a myriad of different ways to gather customer feedback, all of which are typically employed by market researchers, or are part of a customer referral program.

Long form-based surveys– This is easily the most common method of gathering customer feedback. It consists of employing a questionnaire with a series of questions relative to a customer’s experience with the brand. There isn’t necessarily a rule-of-thumb when it comes to survey length, but usually, you’ll want to keep it relatively brief, and it always helps to offer an incentive to garner responses. One of the best ways to employ a long-form survey is to adopt a platform that already has access to a wide audience of various customer segments and offer customers a paid opportunity to provide their feedback.

Short in-app surveys– If you’ve ever used Facebook’s calling feature, after your call you’ll receive a pop-up that asks you to rate the quality of your call. This is a form of short in-app surveys. Essentially, after a user interacts with a certain feature, a one-2 question pop-up will appear to capture quick data regarding the customer’s experience with that feature, or about their experience thus far in general.  

Phone calls– This one is self-explanatory. If you want to know how someone is doing, you pick up the phone and call. One thing to note about calling a customer to gather feedback is that it offers a whole new level of insight, as you can sense their emotional response through their voice and tone much more than you would via an online survey. 

Transactional emails– A transactional email is a method of customer feedback using an immediate-response email that has been triggered by some sort of customer action. For example, if you’ve ever been on the phone with customer support and after you receive an email asking about your experience with that support representative, then you’ve received a transactional email.

Net Promoter score surveys– A net-promoter score survey sounds more complicated than it actually is. Essentially, it involves employing a 0-10 scale, 0 being the lowest probably, 10 being the highest probability, that a customer will recommend you. It involves a formula to calculate your score:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) = Percent Promoters – Percent Detractors

Your detractors are anyone who rated you 0-6, your passives (neutral parties) are anyone who rated you seven or eight, and your promoters are those who rated you at a nine or ten. You can use this to calculate your net promoter score.

Suggestion boards– Suggestions board are insightful because they’re ideal for identifying trends in customer responses. A suggestion board is like an online public forum where customers can leave reviews, and other customers can upvote that review if they agree, or downvote if they disagree. You’ll find this feature under most Amazon products.

Feedback loop– A feedback loop is a method of gathering customer information in real-time that shows them their behavior and gives them an opportunity to change it. In doing so, you can often influence their behavior or gently persuade them to take a different course of action. One example would be employing a speed sign that shows customers their speed. A study showed that erecting a speed sign that gave customers their current speed underneath the speed limit influenced them to slow down.

Elements of Gathering Customer Feedback

Collecting the Data

Gathering customer feedback starts with choosing the best method of gathering data using the list of items covered above. It can be more formal or informal, depending on your objectives. 

Categorize and Analyze

You never know what feedback you’re going to get when you ask customers to share their opinions. Most likely, it will target all areas of your brand including products, product attributes, services, etc. After receiving information, it’s best to categorize data that targets the same areas and analyze each category for trends and key observations.

Act on Feedback

Customer feedback is valuable insight into the ways in which you can improve your business. Not putting it into play means missed opportunity, sunk resources, or risking lost revenue due to decreased customer loyalty. Using the insight from your customer feedback, brainstorm different ways you can put key observations into play, which we’ll cover more in-depth later on.

Follow-up with customers

Customers who provided their feedback took time out of their day to do so. It’s a courtesy to follow up with them and thank them for their information, as well as discuss key points with them. If they provided negative feedback, it presents a good opportunity to get the specifics about their experience and offer to remedy.

Acting on Customer Feedback

Share customer feedback.

Customer feedback can be beneficial to every department. Your product team, your customer support team, and especially sales and marketing. After categorizing and analyzing the feedback, it should be obvious which feedback is beneficial to which department.

Put customer feedback to use. 

Again, be sure to put customer feedback into play to avoid missed opportunities. There are a few ways you may find you can do this:

  • Identify product improvement areas
  • Add customer feedback to your product roadmap
  • Find your niche
  • Prevent customer churn
  • Discover potential advocates and nurture them
  • Motivate your team

Key Takeaways

  • Customer feedback is an umbrella term for any opinion, thought, or insight from those who’ve engaged with your brand, services or products about your brand, services, or products.
  • Customer feedback helps you re-align with your customers, influence other customers, increase customer loyalty, and is an example of good customer service.
  • There are many ways you can gather customer feedback. Some of the most common methods include long form-based surveys, short in-app surveys, phone calls, transactional emails, net promoter score surveys, suggestion boards, and feedback loops.
  • Key elements of customer feedback include collecting the data, categorizing and analyzing the feedback, acting on the feedback, and following up with customers.
  • Be sure to share the customer feedback within your organization where it’s relevant, and put the feedback into play where necessary. Its excellent insight into how you can better appeal to your customers, which can offer a lot of opportunities.

Now that you know how important customer feedback is, learn how to collect it.

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