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Wowing clients and remaining ahead of the competition is a perpetual process. Staying on top of your game means constantly asking questions – of yourself and of your clients – and finding ways to be better.
Enter customer feedback. It’s crucial.
What are you doing right? How can you improve? What do your clients appreciate most about your product or service?
Until you tap your customer base for feedback and get answers to questions like these, your insight into the customer experience is relegated to data and internal opinions.
Move beyond internal resources by using customer feedback to improve customer service.
When it comes to customer service and brand loyalty, Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report found that 96% of respondents said superior service is an important factor in their decision making. So how can you use customer feedback to keep customers coming back?
When evaluating the following ways to improve, keep in mind the urgency of the feedback and how often you receive the same type of comments. Prioritize feedback that can make the most impact on the most customers.
Although customers want to feel their voices are heard, Microsoft’s report shows nearly half of them feel companies dismiss the feedback they receive.
That’s a fail easy enough to rectify. Show customers you care by acting on the input you’re given.
What’s more, when you receive negative feedback and respond to it in a positive manner, it shows that you’re listening to your customers. Apologizing for a mishap or offering a polite, personalized response in reply to criticism you receive can go a long way toward redemption.
Head ’em off at the pass: Use your website as a platform to engage users and provide information before they realize they need it. They can refer to this content before and after a purchase.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
If your customers have easy access to the answers they seek, they’re less likely to reach out with issues.
If you begin to see a pattern of feedback about a certain product or service offering, it might be time for an update. Are there common issues that users are experiencing? Are there certain suggestions that seem to be repeated among your clientele?
Thank customers for their feedback and use it to improve your offerings. After you’ve made updates, be sure to make customers aware that you’re making improvements as a result of their input.
Not only can you look to improve your product line, but you can consider alleviating the problem with helpful resources.
For example, following a purchase, you might enroll a client in a series of welcome emails or send an email blast notifying them of educational materials available to help them make the most out of their purchase. In contrast, if an overwhelming number of customers indicate they’re having difficulty using a product, post a video tutorial or an infographic on your website and email them about it.
When your customers speak, it’s important to listen not only for how you can improve your product or service, but how your employees can be better equipped to handle interactions with customers in the future.
For instance, a common problem experienced by customers is a lack of communication among staff. Think about the last time you called a customer support department and had an unpleasant experience. Did you have to repeat your issue to multiple agents? Were you transferred multiple times?
In such cases, you could respond by instructing employees to leave more detailed notes in your customer relationship management (CRM) system after every customer interaction, including the date, issue, action completed and agent’s name.
If transferring a call, the employee should make the next agent aware of the customer’s concerns and what actions have been taken thus far. You also might consider implementing an omnichannel CRM to create a seamless, consistent customer experience across channels, whether phone call, text email or social media.
Along the same lines, you want to ensure your customers have the best user experience (UX) you can offer. They may give you feedback about their experience with your website. When this happens, you have a unique opportunity to respond by delivering a better UX.
Did they have difficulty finding a Contact button or your contact information? Did they have trouble viewing your website on a mobile device? Could loading times have been shorter? Make note of what changes you can make to improve UX and better satisfy your users.
When you receive feedback that pertains to a specific department, share it with that team. Receiving feedback is only beneficial if the individuals responsible for implementing changes are aware of what’s working and what isn’t.
With our UX example, for instance, you’d want to notify your development staff and other key stakeholders. At that point, simple comments and notes are in the hands of people who can turn those words into action.
Customers may be calling or emailing you with feedback on their own, but how can you take the initiative and proactively gather insightful comments? Request their input or observe feedback in virtual or in-person public forums.
Here are some ways to get customer feedback for process improvements, product enhancements and more:
Don’t get defensive when it comes to customer service. Stay on the offensive and actively seek insights that can benefit your customers and your brand.
If customer feedback is lagging, consider offering an incentive for client opinions. For instance, you could extend a special discount or promotion to those who complete a survey. You also could center customer feedback for process improvement around a contest or giveaway or offer a free trial subscription to your services.
When you’re determining the best incentive, take into account the size of the audience you’re targeting for responses. Then consider if the incentive is cost-effective and fits within your budget.
Customer feedback is vital to your brand and important to your client base. There can be little doubt that a connection exists between customer satisfaction and business performance. According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, respondents actually have a more favorable view of brands that request and accept customer feedback, 77% specifically.
Here are a few reasons why requesting and accepting customer feedback is important:
It’s been said that online reviews offer credibility on par with personal recommendations. Good reviews are a form of marketing in their own right with minimal effort on your part. They can be used as testimonials on your website and in your marketing creatives.
What’s more, by focusing on providing the best customer service, you can nip bad reviews in the bud. This is particularly important when you consider that it can take 40 positive reviews to counteract the effects of a negative one, according to Inc.com.
Positive customer reviews have the ability to increase sales. According to Marketing Donut, research shows businesses could see more than 10% rise in sales if they have a solid customer feedback system in place. Think about it: How many times have you made a purchase based on the positive reviews you’ve read?
Regularly reviewing customer feedback will help you stay abreast of what your customers are asking for and what they feel is lacking. Find out what your customers want and need that you aren’t providing. Once you know about the issues, you can address them.
On a microlevel, for instance, if you can address one customer’s complaint and resolve the issue, you can spin a negative into a positive. Learn what it takes to turn a would-be cancellation into a repeat client.
Customer feedback makes you aware of exactly what your clientele is looking for from your brand. This type of input can help companies innovate and shape certain business decisions, from new products and services, existing product design changes, revisions to processes and even promotional efforts. According to Salesforce, 52% of marketers adapt their strategy and marketing methods based on customer feedback and interactions.
To quote fictional sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise): “Help me help you.” That’s the essence of getting customer feedback: Reach out to customers to find out what’s working — and get their input on how your service, online platforms and products can be enhanced.
Use customer feedback to improve the customer experience. Your clients will be happy and your bottom line likely will too.