Integrating Feedback: Putting the “Action” in “Satisfaction”
As it stands right now, about 60-70% of your business growth will come from people that are already using your product. That’s a pretty large percentage—no wonder you’re trying to retain it.
The Harvard Business Review found that just the act of asking your customers what they are thinking and feeling is, in and of itself, enough to keep customers from churning and to keep them coming back for more—even when they do not actually respond to the surveys you’re sending. That’s right: even if your customers don’t reach back out to you, just the act of asking makes customers more loyal.
Loyalty is huge. It’s the number one differentiator between you and the several other companies that do something similar to you. It takes little to no effort to send out a survey or give your customers an opportunity to share how they’re feeling. That being said, as valuable as the reach out itself is, there’s something that’s even better: doing something with those insights.
Let’s take a look at some of the awesome stuff that you should be taking action on to make the most out of the responses to your customer feedback surveys.
1. Make it accessible to everyone
There is not a single team at your company that doesn’t benefit from being able to view the responses to your customer feedback surveys:
- Marketing can make use of customer stories and feedback to improve their customer persona definitions. They can also use customer stories as direct sources for blogs and other promotional content. Consider that 74% of consumers believe word-of-mouth marketing to be the strongest influencer in their purchasing decision.
- Your product team can utilize customer feedback surveys to find customers to speak to directly before and after they develop specific features. Insights will be much more valuable if they come right from the horse’s mouth.
- Data teams can use customer insights to categorize specific types of responses (like NPS or sentiment) into cohorts and find trends in their analyses. These trends once identified, should also be made available wherever these other customers’ insights are.
- Sales teams can use the good word of customers, just like your marketing team, to know exactly what type of information to present to prospects.
Wherever you’re displaying this information doesn’t have to be fancy, either. While you could funnel it all into a CRM or a visualization tool, you could just as easily use something like a Zapier integration to send each bit of feedback into a spreadsheet or Google form. Surface your survey data somewhere where everyone can see it, and you’ll end up strengthening your whole company ecosystem.
2. Monitor your decisions
After you make a change in your product or processes, customer insights are one of the best ways to know if your users are reacting favorably or negatively to your changes. A customer feedback cycle is like your own version of the water cycle, but you’re making it rain great product features:
As you receive additional survey responses, use them to help your product team make informed decisions on where to move forward. Then, after you’ve implemented new changes, use that data to monitor how the changes you’ve made affect your customers and your bottom line. Then, you can shift, reprioritize and adjust your features as you move forward. The cycle is one, long, never-ending process of perpetual product improvement.
This process also allows your company to understand how consistently your customers view your product. Benchmarking things like customer satisfaction and sentiment before and after a product release, as well as over a longer period of time, helps to see if the perception of your product changes positively or negatively along a timeline. Ultimately, the goal is to either remain the same or get better.
3. Customize your experience
As you gain deeper insights into how your customers are feeling, you’ll also be able to understand what each of your customer personas wants and needs most. What type of documentation do they respond to best? Are they visual learners? Do they appreciate in-app experiences, or do they seem to do better with ongoing email campaigns?
Your support team can use this to provide excellent proactive support. Your marketing team will know exactly what kind of content performs and drives users towards your sign up page. Your product team will know what type of design and UI your users appreciate best.
You’ll know exactly what kind of experience everyone within your product is looking for, and you’ll be able to give it to them.
4. Use it to make your product better
Many companies try to ignore the feature request process as much as they can. After all: your customers probably don’t know what is best for your product, or what you have coming down the pipeline.
That being said, if you have enough customers that are willing to reach out with feature requests, you have a never-ending supply of potentially-decent product feature ideas. Take LEGO Ideas, for example. It’s one of the best examples of how customer insight responses can be used to power product development.
People that feel passionate about LEGO products can easily submit their own designs for upvoting. Once the projects gather more than 10,000 votes from the community, LEGO reviews them with the potential to create new sets!
This is the ultimate vote of confidence in your customers: you give them the opportunity to share the things that they are passionate about, give your product team a bunch of free ideas that people are already proven to care about, and then use those ideas to better your product. Awesome!
5. Reduce churn
It might seem like once you’ve received a negative review, you’ve lost that customer forever. But actually, you are more primed to gain higher loyalty from that customer than you are from someone who has had every possible great experience with your company.
This is called the service recovery paradox. It means that if you are able to recover and save a bad experience, you’re more likely to regain loyalty and then some. It’s a paradox because you might expect that if someone had a good experience, they’d feel more invested than if they’d had a bad one.
“Every day, companies solicit feedback from customers, yet only a few translate that feedback into meaning. An even smaller fraction of companies actually take action or close the loop with the customer, to let them know their voice was heard,” says Whitney Wood, managing partner of Phelon Group. “If you handle it right, the dialog between you and your customers can become the lifeline of your business. To establish and maintain a healthy flow, customer feedback must result in change your customers can see. Change is the most powerful currency to reward vocal and consultative customers.”
By putting in a bit of effort after a customer has rated you poorly, you open up your team to get positive ratings for as long as your customer continues to use the service.
You’re right in thinking that just asking for customer feedback is a great first step in promoting customer loyalty. However, there’s so much more that you can do outside of just sending out a survey.
When you send out surveys, be sure to collect that feedback and surface it to other teams within your company. Allowing others to use the data to grow the functions within their own team contributes positively to both your company and your customers. You’ll be able to make strategy changes that are grounded in data, and your customers will be super happy that you went above and beyond for them.
Let everyone get a piece of the pie: customer insight isn’t just for customer support or success agents any more. Every single team can make use of deeper customer knowledge in creating a more customized, customer-focused insights-driven business.