So, by now we know that one of the keys to a successful business is to constantly offer customer support and service. But have you ever wondered how customers could help you? Of course you have. You’ve probably already introduced a customer feedback survey or such, right? If not, it’s time you should. Why is customer feedback important and can it help you grow your business? We’ll discuss about this today.
How can customer feedback help your company grow?
I know it can be pretty scary at first, accepting negative comments and feedback, but on the long term, you’ll realise that all of your customer’s suggestions will help your business perform better.
That’s what we did at Nexus and it’s come to work for us really well and we’re not looking back on it. It’s tough to hear complaints but it’s also productive.
Thinking that if your products and services are resonating well with your customers it means that you could run the entire thing on autopilot is totally wrong. In order to constantly perform better, you must be willing to make changes and adapt to the market and to customer’s requests (the reasonable one, of course).
What is customer feedback and how so you get it?
Customer feedback is information provided by clients about whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with a product or service and about general experience they had with a company. Their opinion is a resource for improving customer experience and adjusting your actions to their needs. This information can be collected with different kinds of surveys (prompted feedback), but you can also find opinions and reviews your clients post online (unprompted feedback) and collect them using Internet monitoring tools. Both sources are important to get a full picture of how your clients perceive your brand.
Top performing companies understand an important role that customer feedback plays in business. They consistently listen to the voice of their clients.
Before you start getting customer feedback...
Before collecting customer feedback, clearly define what you’re looking for. If you skip the step of setting some objectives, you’ll just be blindly asking for feedback, which may make it more difficult to analyze the results and to understand your customers.
Consider the parts of the user experience you want to improve, what you’ll do with the data once you collect it, and the channels that work best for your goals.
We’ve already talked about how you can gather customer feedback, the short list including:
There are a number of ways to gather customer feedback, including:
- Emails and contact forms
- Usability testing
- Social listening
- Website analytics (you can look at the amount of time people spend on a certain website page and the bounce rate)
- Comment boxes
- Monitor online reviews
Gather feedback at several points throughout the sales process. Website analytics and social listening can be used throughout the whole sales cycle to see how customers respond from first moment your sales rep contacted them all the way through the follow-up stage.
As of recently we’re also trying to hold regular webinars so we send out a feedback survey right after it’s taken place.
So the moment you ask for feedback from clients depends on what type of data you’re looking to collect. I don’t recommend that you stuff a lot of questions in the questionnaire considering that people usually don’t have time or any pleasure in filling out these types of things.
How to manage customer feedback
It’s pretty clear that gathering all sorts of information from your customers can get overwhelming at some point, so managing them the right way is going to make the difference between chaos and real results.
This is where a customer relationship management software, or CRM, comes into play.
Your CRM can help you keep track of what customers are doing and determine which ones need your attention the most. You can also use CRM data to help identify trends and patterns in customer behavior.
Customer service issues can automatically be sent out to the customer service department, usability issues can be routed to the IT/development team and sales questions can be assigned to the sales department.
Automating tasks keeps all employees up to date with what’s going on with any particular customer at any given time, so the necessary team members can work together to keep the customer happy. You can track response times to gain insight into which employees are the most productive and to further reward them for their hard work.
What are the benefits of asking your customers for feedback?
So let’s dig into the subject of the benefits driven by customer feedback a bit more.
1. Customer feedback helps improve products and services
When you initially introduce a new product, brand or service to market you probably have even a vague idea about potential customer needs. Market research that you conduct before introduction gives you an idea if potential customers would be willing to buy it and also they can give you some tips on how you could improve it. However, only after your customers use your product or service you can learn about all the advantages, flaws, issues of use and their actual experience. On top of everything, their needs and expectations change and evolve in time.
Basically, customer feedback works as an insight tool into what is working well about your product or service and what should be done to make experience better.
You might have the best expertise in the industry in which your company operates, but your professional knowledge will never be more valuable to business performance than customer insights. Their opinions help you ensure that the end product will actually meet their expectations, solve their problems and fulfill their needs.
2. Customer feedback helps you measure customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty represent a crucial factor that determines company’s financial performance. It is directly linked to many benefits, such as increased market share, lower costs, or higher revenue.
Several studies have already confirmed that there is a close tie between customer satisfaction and business performance. So there’s no doubt that you want to make sure your clients are happy with your products and services.
3. Collecting customer feedback shows that you value their opinions
By asking your clients for feedback you basically communicate that their opinion is important to you. You involve them in how you shape and develop your business so they feel more attached to your company. Listening to their voice helps you create stronger relations with them.
This is actually the best way to gain valuable brand ambassadors who will spread the good word for your company. And I am sure you are aware that their recommendations is probably the most effective and, at the same time, the cheapest way to acquire new customers and become more trustworthy in the eyes of your current and potential clients.
This is going to make your clients feel that your primary business goal is to solve their problems and fulfill their needs, not to get their money. It puts a customer in the central position of your company and this is the right way to run a business.
4. Customer feedback helps you create the best customer experience
Isn’t this what marketing is all about? Making people have a great experience with your products, services and brands? People aren’t buying a products necessarily because they’re of sensational value, but due to how they make them feel and the person that they become when using them.
Take Apple products. The people who choose these gadgets want to demonstrate their status and affiliation to a particular group. Also look at the Nike buyers. They don’t buy their products because they’re so durable. They buy courage to extend their boundaries. Therefore, if you focus on providing the best customer experience at every touchpoint clients will stay loyal to your brand.
And naturally, the most effective way to give them amazing experience is asking them what they like about your service and what should be improved.
5. Customer feedback helps to improve customer retention
Satisfied customer will stay with you. Unhappy customer will eventually find a better alternative to your business and leave. Customer feedback helps you determine if your clients are satisfied with your service and detect areas where you should improve. Thanks to asking for opinions regularly you can always keep a finger on the pulse. Each time a dissatisfied customer express his disappointment you can immediately react and find a solution to fix an issue.
6. Customer feedback is a reliable source for information to other consumers
We live in a time when social media and online communities guide the way we lead our lives and choices.
Consumers do not trust commercials or expert advice so much anymore.
Opinions provided by other customers who have already used a product or service seem to be a more reliable source for information these days.
Just think when you’re looking for a place to stay during a trip, when you want to find a nice place to eat or when you’re looking for some running shoes. You’re most likely going to read some online reviews about those types of things.
Many companies today incorporate a review system in their services and products or add the review tab to their Facebook page.
Uber or AirBnb do their best to offer exactly that: high quality services based on user reviews.
7. Customer feedback gives you data that helps taking business decisions
There is no place for business decisions based on some inaccurate guesses on a such highly competitive markets. Successful business owners gather and manage distinct kind of data that helps them develop future strategies.
Only in this way they are able to adjust their products and services to perfectly fit customer needs.
8. Analyze the current market trends
Customer feedback is also important in detecting certain technological trends among consumers. You could learn about what features and technologies your competition is using and is vital to the people that you’re selling and offering to.
Customer feedback is one of the most reliable sources for tangible data that further can be used in taking business decisions. Customer insights will help you understand clients and their needs in a better way. Take their suggestions in consideration, learn how to listen to them fully and how to translate them into actionable takeaways that will actually help grow your business.