Creating loyal customers should be a priority for businesses that want to see long term success and growth. For businesses to do that successfully, they need to focus on creating a positive customer experience in addition to their traditional sales and marketing strategy.
But beyond delivering a positive experience, businesses also need to understand what customers want and expect from your brand and during their shopping experience.
Chances are, your company is already taking steps to gather customer feedback. Whether you utilize surveys, personal phone calls, focus groups or monitor online review websites, customers have an opinion. Failing to act on that opinion can not only damage your reputation, it can also cost you loyal customers and continued revenue.
Before You Do Anything Else
There is one step in collecting customer feedback that often gets overlooked. Before you begin collecting data from customers, businesses need to understand their short and long-term goals. What do you hope to learn from customers? What types of changes are you willing to implement? Are there certain areas or departments you need specifics about? Understanding goals upfront helps businesses navigate feedback without feeling overwhelmed.
How to Put Feedback to Good Use
1. Analyze and Identify
Once the feedback comes pouring in, it is time to get to work reviewing and analyzing. One of the best ways to organize data is to categorize it. Pull data about similar products, departments or experiences into their unique group. Once the data is organized, assign teams to review the findings in depth and identify specific areas that need improvement and ones that you already excel at. Areas where you excel are also important, because they can be used in future marketing campaigns as the company’s competitive advantage.
2. Add Feedback into Existing Strategies
Take the findings from step one and weave them into existing strategies. Create new ones to embrace future changes. It may be a challenging process to make changes to existing strategies, but to truly wow customers, it is necessary. For instance, if a specific product is getting negative reviews and a new version is scheduled for launch, be sure to check the feedback against the new one’s performance before release. Or, if you identify a specific department is lacking, look for ways to add new team members or restructure existing employees’ tasks to improve service and the overall experience.
3. Test Changes
After implementing changes to customer service or product strategies, test and track the changes to see if customer satisfaction improves as a result. Start by implementing changes in small batches and establish key performance indicators (KPIs. KPIs are how you can successfully measure whether the changes work. Popular indicators include sales growth, cost of customer acquisition, service response time, average call handle time and first call resolution rates.
4. Personally Reply to Negative Feedback
When customers take the time to offer feedback, it is essential that brands acknowledge their time and effort. This is especially important when a customer shares negative feedback. Pull these customers and respond with a personal phone call or email acknowledging their frustrations and sharing what steps are being taken to fix it for future interactions.
5. Look for Brand Advocates
Among the mounds of surveys and data, there are sure to be a few brand advocates that believe in your products, services and are ready to refer their family and friends your way. These individuals are crucial to continued growth. Once you identify who they are, nurture them moving forward to continue nourishing the relationship and encourage them to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
6. Re-Survey Customers
Don’t be afraid to re-survey customers that have an additional transaction with your brand. Brands can use the additional survey data to compare a second transition with the previous one. If the customer’s satisfaction increased, it is a good sign the changes implemented are moving the customer experience in a positive direction.
7. Invite Advocates to be Part of Marketing
Whether they have been advocates from day one or it took some time to make them happy, weaving real customer experiences and faces into your marketing strategy is powerful. Connect with advocates and invite them to be part of a marketing campaign that shares their story, how you solved a problem and how they feel when interacting with your brand.