How To Collect & Use Customer Feedback

Posted by Jacob Goodwin in Insights - Last updated

Insights from customer feedback have emerged as an endless source of improvement initiatives.

Being able to collect, and use, customer feedback is allowing organisations to come to the fore as their industry’s leaders.

The simple of act of listening to those who have experienced your offering is incredibly illuminating.

This is especially true when it comes to showcasing areas ripe for upgrading or high performing aspects of your process worth emulating throughout.

“Feedback surveys appeal to customers’ desire to be appreciated.

Reinforcing positive feelings they may already have and making them more likely to buy, or recommend, their products.”

Harvard Business Review

But why is it so valuable to collect and use customer feedback?

The Value Of Feedback

Often described as your greatest source of learning, feedback enables you to unearth otherwise unknown issues to better serve your customers.

Likewise, on a more positive note, it allows you to understand what it is about your products or services your customers most like.

“Customer feedback has become one of the primary drivers of long-term growth.”

Hiver

In effect, the value of customer feedback is twofold.

Internally, you can use your findings to level up your business. Externally, the act of asking for input proves to customers that you value their opinions, generating greater positive sentiment.

How To Collect Customer Feedback

When it comes to collecting feedback, the importance of design, and consideration for delivery, cannot be underestimated.

There needs to be a regulated process to your collection, rather than an off the cuff approach.

This is vital to avoid duplication of efforts, reduce wasted time and, most significantly, eradicate customer irritation at being asked for their thoughts too often.

If that happens, you risk destroying the positive feeling you’ve built up, colouring any future feedback for the worse.

Here are four popular approaches to implement in your feedback strategy for collecting customer feedback in the most effective and efficient manner.

Customer Surveys

The most common, and often simplest, way of collecting customer feedback.

These forms, often delivered via automated email, consist of questions focussed around a particular aspect of the customer experience.

The one thing to always keep in mind here is to not get carried away and ask too many questions.

“The more questions your survey has, the less time your respondents spend, on average, answering each one.”

Survey Monkey

If you want to increase your chances of completion, and accurate feedback data being reported, keep things simple.

A good rule of thumb is to only ask questions that fulfil your end goal.

Prior to distribution, consider what you want to gain insight on and ensure that every question on the survey serves a clear purpose in achieving this goal.

If you do not intend to use the information, do not ask that question

One of the major benefits to surveys is that you don’t need to wait until the end of the customer journey to use them.

Halfway through the sales cycle is equally valuable as post purchase questionnaires; especially when that particular opportunity has failed to close.

Courtesy Calls

If you truly want to understand someone, you have to talk to them.

Where direct interactions have a significant advantage is providing an insight into true feeling.

Surveys give you all of the data but, unless emotive language is used, can sometimes feel clinical or lack the “why”.

“Finding out why your customers purchased from you is great, but finding out why they didn’t is just as, if not more, valuable”.

The Power Of Customer Experience

This is when you need to reach out to your customers via the phone. Hearing a person’s voice, and tone, is the best way to sense what they actually think.

The key with calling is that you should genuinely want to understand their problem and offer solutions.

Do not do it because you have to. Do it because you care.

A secondary bonus of speaking directly, is that it creates an opportunity for the customer to highlight an issue they were having but hadn’t got round to raising.

It is customer service in a proactive environment.

Third Party Reviews

Collecting customer feedback doesn’t always need to be manual.

Monitoring third party reviewer sites such as Yell or Google can reveal a great deal of information about you.

“We tell 10x more people about a negative experience than a positive one”.

Harvard Business Review

The difference here is that you can’t control the content to the same extent. Remember you are not the only party to see this feedback.

However, it is crucially important to respond to these reviews where possible. Either to show acknowledgment or to apologise for any mistakes.

It pays to admit to errors and showcase a desire to change rather than simply let negative feedback stew.

Social Media Engagement

Similar to third party reviews but with an opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality.

Whether through direct interactions with customers, feedback incentives or customer generated content, social channels provide an excellent insight into public perception of your organisation.

Isolated incidents need not generate too great a concern. However, when trends start to emerge, it is worth investigating the problem directly.

Social media creates a platform for organisation’s to showcase successes and engage with shortcomings in a more relaxed environment.

How To Use Customer Feedback

There’s no use collecting feedback if you aren’t going to do anything with it.

It’s time to explore precisely how to use all the invaluable insight you’ve generated.

The aim is to collect and use customer feedback in a way that promotes positive change across the company.

Below is a simple, four step process to introduce to your feedback strategy:

Identify Improvement Areas

No matter how the data has been collected, the vital first step is to review the information.

Here you can begin to identify trends and recurring topics that are most worthy of your attention.

From here, you can categorise and order them according to quick wins and or actions with the biggest impact should change be required.

Likewise, report back any positives collected in your feedback. Praise, especially from without the organisation, can act as a huge motivator.

Without taking time to investigate, any collection efforts are wasted.

Implement Change

Once you’ve worked out what your areas for improvement are, it’s time to implement positive change.

Feedback inevitably requires action. Yet it’s critically important not to rush into an alternative.

“If companies are able to incorporate customer feedback into their product range successfully, they have certainly come very close to the ideal market-fit.”

Hiver

Take the time, perhaps by engaging back with customers who left the initial feedback, to incorporate their suggestions of how to improve into your planning.

If you rush, you risk only making the problem worse and confusing your teams as to the new way of operating.

Change must be for the better. Ensure to invest the appropriate amount of time to guarantee your solution has a beneficial impact across the company.

Report Your Actions

Now change has been enacted, companies must tell the affected parties.

Starting externally, informing customers of direct change as a result of their feedback is a phenomenally empowering interaction.

It helps drive high Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and increases the likelihood of positive reviews and recommendations.

Internally, if your change affects how your team work in the day to day, you can’t leave them in the dark.

If you do, the change won’t ever take effect and staff will become frustrated at a perceived lack of communication.

Change should make their lives easier, your team will want to hear about it.

Convert Critics Into Advocates

Last but not least, use the process to convert critics into advocates.

Owning your mistakes, and promoting positive engagement stories, helps showcase your business as a brand that cares about their customer’s experience.

There are few stories more powerful than publicising how you converted a negative opinion and experience into one worth shouting about from the rooftops.

You’ve taken the time to collect and use customer feedback, make sure you reap the rewards of doing so!


Ready to explore how Anthill can enhance your customer feedback operation? Schedule a demo today.


Intrigued to learn more? Check out our Insights Hub to keep your business at the cutting edge.


Jacob Goodwin -

Tags: ,

See how Anthill will reshape your business for the better

Master your processes, improve customer service & make more money!