There are a lot of moving parts and steps in the customer experience (CX that businesses must be aware of when building a strategy. No matter what industry they are in, businesses must constantly adapt and evolve to meet customer needs, but it can be difficult to know exactly how to pivot without a guiding factor. One of the most direct sources for gaining insight into what customers want and how satisfied they are with the current products, services, and overall experience is customer feedback.
Customer feedback can help companies of all sizes and markets improve customer satisfaction, identify new opportunities for growth, and build customer loyalty. A clear method for gathering and acting on feedback is one of the most important steps in creating a complete customer service strategy since it shows where companies should focus their efforts to drive long-term growth. Explore more about what customer feedback is, why businesses need it, and how to collect, analyze, and turn that feedback into action.
What Is Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback can take many forms, but it is essentially any information from customers about their experience with a product or service from a specific company. This can include the customer’s opinions, complaints, suggestions, and compliments. The goal is to reveal the level of satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. Businesses can collect feedback both actively and passively, but no matter how it is collected, it should drive change and action within the company.
Customer feedback can come in the form of direct feedback through surveys or customer service departments, but it can also come from indirect feedback through customer reviews and social media. Companies are learning more and more about the impact that gathering feedback and then acting on it can have on customer loyalty and brand reputation. Asking for direct feedback and monitoring indirect feedback demonstrates to customers that a business cares about its customers’ experiences and wants to ensure positive encounters in the future. Both complaints and compliments can identify areas to focus on since businesses can do more of what is working and change other processes that act as points of friction during a customer interaction.
Why Should Businesses Collect Customer Feedback?
Businesses should collect customer feedback for several reasons, including customer satisfaction and loyalty, improving products and services, and identifying new opportunities.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
One of the most visible benefits of gathering and analyzing customer feedback is the improvement in customer satisfaction. Customer feedback can help businesses understand what customers like and dislike about their products or services. By addressing areas of dissatisfaction, businesses can improve the customer experience which increases customer satisfaction.
Improve Products, Services, and Experiences
Customer feedback allows businesses to more quickly and effectively identify problems. Once the problem has been caught, the business can improve its offerings. By listening to customer feedback, businesses can make changes to their products or services to better meet customer needs.
Identify New Opportunities
Customer feedback can also bring to light new opportunities or ideas for the business, whether that is a new product or a better way of providing customer support. The direct and indirect feedback that a business receives from customers can help identify areas for expansion or new services that customers may be interested in.
Build Customer Loyalty
Customers like knowing that the companies they frequent are interested in hearing and acting on customer feedback. By actively seeking customer feedback and making changes based on that feedback, businesses can build customer loyalty and foster long-term relationships with their returning customers.
Types of Customer Feedback
The two most common categories that customer feedback can be classified as are direct and indirect. While most customer service strategies focus on collecting direct feedback, indirect feedback can offer a more accurate picture of how customers really feel about the company as a whole.
This type of feedback is provided directly by the customer to the business. It is most often provided through surveys, customer service interactions, and focus groups. Although it shortens the process of collecting feedback, it has the risk of gathering responses that are not as honest since customers may just say what they think the business wants to hear.
Indirect feedback is provided by customers through their behavior and actions. It includes customer reviews, social media comments, and website analytics. Indirect feedback is usually an accurate depiction of how customers feel, but it does require a little more effort to gather and analyze.
Collecting Customer Feedback
Just as there are many forms that customer feedback can take, there are many methods for collecting it. Some of the most common methods include surveys, a customer service department, social media, and customer reviews.
Surveys can be a powerful tool for collecting customer feedback after the customer has made a purchase. They can gather feedback about the quality of the product purchased or the ease of the transaction, as well as check in on customer satisfaction. One of the great things about surveys is that they can be conducted online, over the phone, or in person. Most often, companies send e-mail surveys for customers to provide feedback about their experience.
Customer Service Department
The customer service department is often the first point of contact for customers who have feedback or complaints. Customer service representatives can gather feedback and relay it to the appropriate teams so that the company can adjust its approach in response to customer feedback. A positive experience with the customer service department can also improve the customer’s overall satisfaction if their concerns are addressed in a constructive and timely manner.
Social media platforms are becoming an increasingly popular and effective source of customer feedback. Customers may use social media to share their experiences, both positive and negative. Although social media can be used to gather direct feedback from surveys and polls, most often the feedback will be indirect.
Finally, customer reviews can be a valuable source of feedback. Reviews can be collected directly on a business’s website or on third-party review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor. These reviews play a significant role in how potential customers view a company, so it is important for businesses to stay active and engaged in monitoring and responding to reviews.
Analyzing Customer Feedback
It is not enough to simply gather as much customer feedback as possible. The true value comes when businesses analyze customer feedback and turn it into action. There are, of course, a few ways to analyze customer feedback. Not all methods of analysis are appropriate for each type of feedback and insight that businesses are looking for, so companies can use any combination of the following based on their needs.
This is a method of analyzing customer feedback that involves using natural language processing (NLP) to extract insights from text data. If a business sends out a survey that includes open-response questions, it may want to use text analysis to identify common themes, sentiments, and topics in customer responses.
Customer Experience Metrics
Many forms of customer feedback offer numbers and ratings that make up customer experience metrics. These metrics are measures used to track the overall satisfaction of customers. The most common customer experience metrics include the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES).
- Net Promoter Score. The NPS is one of the most straightforward metrics that measures how likely a customer is to recommend the brand to their friends and family. It is usually gathered by asking customers to rate their willingness to recommend the product or service on a scale of one to ten.
- Customer Satisfaction Score. CSAT is also relatively straightforward and measures how happy customers are with the product or service they received. Customers rate their satisfaction with the product or service on a scale of one to five.
- Customer Effort Score. A CES uses a scale from one to seven to determine how easy customers feel it is to interact with the company and use its products or services.
Turning Customer Feedback Into Action
Customer feedback is only useful if a business is willing to act on it. Here are some ways that businesses can turn customer feedback into action and demonstrate to customers that their feedback is valuable.
Prioritize Feedback and Determine the Most Important Areas of Improvement
Businesses should use their business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine where to put their resources. If customer feedback indicates an issue during the final steps of making a purchase, the company should focus on improving that part of the process. It is important to prioritize feedback and focus on the most important areas for improvement so that time and resources are used most effectively.
Communicate with Customers
Businesses should communicate with their customers to let them know that their feedback is heard and being acted upon. This can mean responding to online customer reviews or thanking customers for their response to a survey. Communicating with customers can help build trust and loyalty, which means they are more likely to be returning customers.
Part of acting on customer feedback is tracking progress to see if the changes made have had a positive impact on customer satisfaction. This can also help identify areas that still need improvement and other areas where the business has been successful in implementing change.
Best Practices for Collecting and Implementing Customer Feedback
Businesses can follow these best practices to get the most out of customer feedback.
Companies can encourage honest feedback by assuring customers that their feedback will be taken seriously and used to make improvements. When customers provide honest, specific feedback, businesses can more accurately identify weak areas in the customer experience and implement measures to improve products, services, and processes.
Respond Promptly and Respectfully
Once a customer has offered feedback, businesses should respond promptly and respectfully, even if the feedback is negative. This shows customers that the business values their feedback and is committed to improving the customer experience. A late or defensive response demonstrates to customers that their feedback is not being taken seriously or driving change.
Act on Feedback
The best response to feedback is action. Businesses should act on the feedback that they receive and make improvements to their products, services, or experiences to improve customer satisfaction. This shows customers that the business is committed to providing a high-quality customer experience.
Thank Customers for Their Feedback
Businesses should also thank customers for their feedback and express appreciation. This can help build customer loyalty and foster long-term relationships with customers. Additionally, repeat customers are more likely to provide honest feedback in the future if they feel that their responses are valued and used to make improvements.
Collect Customer Feedback and Boost Customer Satisfaction with InMoment
Customer feedback is a valuable tool for businesses that want to improve what they offer to customers, including both products and services. By collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback, businesses can improve customer satisfaction, identify new opportunities, and build customer loyalty. However, there are many different methods for collecting and analyzing customer feedback that businesses must choose from when creating a customer feedback strategy. That’s where InMoment comes in.
InMoment offers a platform that helps businesses gather and analyze customer feedback in whatever way will work best for your specific needs. Working with InMoment offers a variety of benefits, including:
- Gathering and analyzing customer feedback. Choose from various channels for collecting customer feedback, including surveys, social media, and chatbots. With advanced tools that turn this feedback into actionable insights, you can improve your services in no time.
- Identifying customer pain points. InMoment’s platform can identify customer pain points by analyzing feedback from different points in the customer journey. This makes it easier to determine which areas you need to focus on when making improvements.
- Personalizing customer experience. You can gather and analyze feedback about customer preferences, behaviors, and expectations to provide a personalized customer experience that meets the needs of each customer.
- Engaging with customers. Engage with customers by responding to their feedback, addressing their concerns, and acknowledging their positive experiences. This allows you to build stronger relationships with your customers and foster customer loyalty.
- Measuring and improving customer satisfaction. InMoment’s platform provides businesses with specific metrics to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. It can also track changes in customer sentiment over time, allowing your business to see the impact of your efforts to improve the customer experience.
Tools like InMoment’s platform help businesses collect and analyze customer feedback in real-time. This enables your business to stay ahead of the competition and deliver exceptional customer experiences every time, so be sure to implement some of the best practices discussed to see the results. Get started today and experience the benefits for yourself.