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It may be a well-worn cliche, but “customer is king” still rings true, and there are versions in nearly every language (though we think the Japanese version: ‘okyakusama wa kamisama desu’ — the customer is a god — may be going a little too far). Placing the customer in at the center of a business is an essential part of success.
At the end of the day, it’s your customers who buy your products or services, so keeping them satisfied and ensuring they have as positive an experience as possible should be integral to your business model. Happy customers mean not only customers who return, but customers who are more likely to recommend your business to friends, family, and beyond.
That positive experience should exist at every stage of the customer journey, from how they find and use your website, right through the sales funnel, up to and including the support and service you provide after a sale has been made. How do you ensure you hear what customers are saying about you? How do you deploy a strategy that captures their feedback so that you can act on it? These are questions we have the answers for, right here.
What Is Customer Feedback and Why Is It Important?
At its most basic, customer feedback is the information you collect from your customers that informs you of how various aspects of your business are operating. It can express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with those features and may be related to one particular area, such as the checkout process, or perhaps a general impression of their overall experience.
The reason customer feedback is so important is that it gives you a view of your organization from the outside looking in. It can identify pain points where customers have experienced issues and this allows you to make improvements so that future experiences are better. On the other hand, it also highlights the areas where you do well and where customers are satisfied.
Another important reason you should both collect and act on customer feedback is that it can improve customer retention. Retaining customers costs less than acquiring new ones, and even a 5% increase in your customer retention levels can lead to 25% or more increase in your profits.
The Foundation of Your Strategy
At the heart of all your interactions with customers should lie an efficient CRM (customer relationship management) system. This will record every single interaction you have with a customer, meaning that your agents can see — at a glance — how previous calls or emails have gone, and what has made the customer unhappy (or happy).
Knowing how to implement and use a CRM should be a core part of any customer service strategy. It makes it easier to connect with customers and helps provide them with a better customer journey.
How Do You Measure Customer Satisfaction?
Before you start collecting any feedback, you have to consider how you’ll measure their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with your performance and how they see the relationship funnel. There are two primary metrics used by most organizations to gauge this. They go like this.
a. NPS (Net Promoter Score)
NPS is based on a simple 1-10 scale from a question (usually a variation of “how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”). It is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of those who would not recommend you (detractors) from the percentage who would recommend you (promoters).
It’s worth noting the perhaps obvious point that promoters will have a higher lifetime value (LTV) than detractors who may choose not to buy with you again. NPS can be based on every interaction with customers that takes place. Companies that maintain the highest NPS scores also usually outgrow their competitors.
b. CSAT(customer satisfaction score)
While NPS is more of a measurement of overall experience, CSAT more focuses on individual experiences. In most cases, it’s used at the end of a live chat interaction or in knowledge base articles on your site. While one part of the CSAT ‘survey’ looks at a quantitative measure, the important part (for you) is the qualitative part.
This segment requires more information on the customer’s experience and, perhaps more crucially, questions how the organization can improve that experience going forward. Of course, some customers may not go beyond the rating part but, when they do, it can provide useful info on where there are gaps in your current customer service.
4 Methods To Collect Accurate Customer Data
While the two metrics outlined above are useful indicators, they need information and data to define them. How do you build a strategy that collects that data from all your customers possible?
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The great thing about surveys is how adaptable they are. You can design them to be a general test of the overall experience or you can focus on particular areas of your business. They’re also a great source of info when it comes to improving the online personalization you use to engage with customers.
A survey may be presented as a pop-up on your site or it could be sent as an email to people on your mailing list. The crucial thing with any survey is to decide in advance what your goals are. For example, you may design a survey that specifically weighs how your company performs when using a HIPAA compliant phone system.
There are a few rules you should follow with most surveys:
- Make any survey goal-orientated and clearly defined.
- Have any questions open-ended and avoid closed questions.
- Never “lead” the customer to a response. You want honest opinions.
2. Qualitative interviews
Numbers are great, but data doesn’t always give you the full picture you need. Of course, it may be impossible to directly interview every one of your customers, but taking a proportional representation of your customer base can bring real insights. You may decide to segment according to your existing groups or to divide customers by other factors such as products bought.
When combined with the quantitative data you’ve collected, interviews can give you a real idea of how your organization is performing. You may choose to have interviews focused on a particular area of your business such as your sales closing technique, or you may take the opportunity to discuss multiple aspects of how you operate.
Remember these rules:
- Have a conversation rather than an interrogation.
- As with surveys, avoid closed questions.
- Develop a script that your agents can loosely follow and that helps meet your goals.
- Use active listening skills. You can ask them to repeat points you are unsure of or you feel need to be highlighted.
If holding an interview via video call, practice good etiquette.
Image Source: getfeedback.com
This is one of the simplest ways to collect feedback. In most cases, you’ll look for feedback from people already on your mailing list. However, you can also look at instant feedback when people buy something on your site, when sending a welcome or confirmation email.
You may have experienced low takeup on email feedback, so try these three strategies:
- Emphasize that you value their feedback. Where appropriate, advise you will reply to them within a certain time period.
- Personalize your emails as much as possible. A customer is more likely to respond to questions or surveys when they feel they are directed at them personally.
- Use integration of tracking apps such as Trello so that feedback is added to your CRM. This allows you to further personalize emails based on a customer’s previous history.
4. Social media
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Have you ever had that “burning ears” feeling that someone is talking about you behind your back? For a business, this is what happens on social media and can be both positive and negative. You need to see social media platforms as not only a driver of social commerce, but also somewhere that people will discuss your brand and your products.
By monitoring the various social media channels where your brand may be discussed, you obtain access to feedback that may be more honest than that given directly to you. It can also be a great way of seeking positive reviews and recommendations, something that can lead to new customers visiting your page or site.
How we do business is constantly changing, especially with the evolution of new automation tools and other tech such as using AI for sales. These changes can alter how a customer perceives your brand. What was previously positive may become negative and vice versa. That means that having a constant and ongoing feedback strategy is crucial.
A good customer feedback strategy is not just about the collection of information, but also how you use it to inform future decisions and how you store it to improve future interactions.
At the heart of your strategy, you should be placing a top-rated CRM platform such as Kustomer. This lets your staff see customer info at a glance and to improve every aspect of service.
Jenna Bunnell – Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified cloud based communications that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Here is her LinkedIn.