Feedback from customers is the valuable information, opinions, and comments they share about their interactions with your company, products, or services. This feedback is important in enhancing the customer experience and can drive positive changes in any business, even when it’s negative.
Having a strong customer feedback loop is essential for the success of your business. Your customer service strategy cannot be complete without it. Not only does it help you identify areas for improvement, but it also helps your customers feel heard. And when customers feel valued, they’re more likely to remain loyal and continue using your products or services in the long term.
Table of Contents
What is Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback refers to the information given by customers regarding their experience with a particular product or service. It aims to indicate their satisfaction level and assist the product, customer success, and marketing teams in identifying areas for enhancement.
To gather customer feedback, companies have the option to actively reach out to customers through polls, surveys, interviews, or asking for reviews. Customers can share feedback by using a platform provided within the product. This includes commenting, making complaints, or giving compliments.
Why is Customer Feedback Important?
Customer feedback is important because it plays a vital role in future planning for businesses, even though some information is gathered before product introduction. The majority of customer data is acquired after products are introduced. Some of the reasons why paying heed to customer feedback is crucial for any business are-
1) Helps Identify Customer Preferences
Gathering customer feedback is crucial to understand their preferences and requirements, especially when a business launches new products. Focus groups, in-person research, and phone surveys are some of the tools used to collect customer feedback, which helps determine the desired product features, flavors, or styles.
2) Allows Comparisons to the Competition
Customer feedback helps companies understand how customers are using and rating their products compared to competitors. This is important for identifying areas where a company’s products and services outperform or underperform other options available.
3) It Can Improve Customer Service
Customer feedback is one of the most important sources for understanding customer service performance. Companies use customer feedback to see how satisfied customers are with their transactions, interactions, and responses when they have a problem or complaint. This helps them identify problems in customer support processes and provide better service in the future.
4) Promotes Loyalty and Retention
By understanding customer feedback and responding appropriately, companies can show customers that their opinions are valued. This in turn helps build loyalty and encourages customers to come back for more products or services.
As you can see, customer feedback is essential for any company’s success. It helps identify areas of improvement, gives valuable insights into the customer’s needs and preferences, allows detailed comparisons to competitors, and helps build customer loyalty. By responding appropriately, companies can ensure that customers feel valued and appreciated.
5) Helps Identify Necessary Changes
When a company surveys its lost customers to find out why they stopped buying its products, customer feedback becomes particularly significant. The objective of the survey is to determine if the company can do something to regain the customers’ business.
Types of Customer Feedback
1) Customer loyalty metrics
You can measure your customers’ loyalty to your brand and their likelihood to promote and advocate for it by using customer loyalty metrics such as Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) surveys, Customer Satisfaction Score, and similar measures.
2) Customer satisfaction feedback
Customer satisfaction feedback evaluates how content your customers are with your brand’s products, services, and overall experience. This feedback considers both practical and emotional measures. To gather this kind of feedback, utilize comment boxes, pop-up forms, and post-purchase forms.
3) Sales feedback
Customers can provide sales feedback about their experience with your sales team and throughout your sales process. This feedback is crucial for improving your sales reps, training, and leadership and for better connecting with your leads and prospects. You can gather feedback, conduct phone or email surveys with customers who have made a purchase, and follow up with potential customers who did not finalize a purchase. These surveys should be conducted directly.
4) Customer service or support feedback
Feedback on customer service or support evaluates a customer’s interaction with a service or support representative. This feedback is important for enhancing the customer experience, and it can also provide valuable insights for your product teams regarding design, functionality, and use cases. You can gather this feedback by conducting phone or email surveys after resolving customer support issues.
5) Customer preference feedback
Customer preference feedback provides insights into the products or services your customers prefer. This knowledge can assist in improving your product positioning and refining your customer targeting. To gather this kind of feedback, you can go through online forums, organize focus groups, and keep an eye on purchase activity and trends.
6) Demographic information
While you may not think of demographic information like the location as feedback, it’s actually really helpful for enhancing your sales and customer service, and for developing better marketing strategies. Demographic information can cover things like gender, education, and marital status. To gather this information, utilize pop-up forms on your website and conduct surveys after a purchase or service has been completed.
7) Customer interviews
To gain insight into customers’ behaviors, emotions, and needs, businesses conduct customer interviews. During the interview, the goal is to identify customers’ issues so that their concerns can be addressed with an appropriate solution. These interviews can be planned or ad hoc interviews, and you may implement them as per your requirement.
8) Customer feedback surveys
Completing customer surveys is both convenient for customers and provides critical insights for the company. Customer surveys are easy and fast for customers to provide feedback. Businesses can utilize these surveys to analyze customer retention levels and purchasing trends.
9) Social listening
You can collect customer feedback through social listening. This involves reviewing customer comments and mentions of your company on social media. You can also use polling tools that are available on many apps.
How to Collect Customer Feedback?
1) Feedback forms
This is the age-old method and can be employed by any company for almost any product or service. The forms are printed with predetermined questions designed to address or understand specifics related to the rendered product or service.
These feedback forms are collected and analyzed and the reports are provided to the customer management teams. Then an action plan is drafted in order to address issues if any, and it is reported to the management.
Continuous improvement in customer service is only possible through regular feedback. The advantage of this method is that drafting it is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of technical expertise unlike other methods while the disadvantage is if the forms get too long, then customers may find it irksome to fill it. Many times, satisfied customers tend to give a mediocre response or no response at all.
2) Online Community
Setting up an online community is very economic and unlike other methods, all the responses stay in one place for a long time and can be highlighted and reused to answer Frequently Asked Questions.
These are chatting robots that keep the customers engaged till a dedicated customer care representative can take them up. Regular responses like Hello Customer, how can I help you? Please wait and our support executive will be with you shortly.
Such messages can help to keep the customers engaged. The advantage of this method is it’s cost-effective while the shortcoming is it can be used only for businesses having a presence online. Offline businesses cannot use this method. The customer care executive then prepares reports on the issue that has been addressed and submits them to the customer care team.
4) Email Surveys
Once a purchase has been done, the customers are then sent an email after a few days to know their responses. This email is pre-drafted with a response sheet that asks a few basic questions about the product.
The primary aim is to know if the customers liked the product and what went well. If the customer is not satisfied then what went wrong? As soon as the customer submits the mail, a thank you mail is sent and the response is recorded. Customers who respond are selected for surveys next time while those who do not respond are not.
5) Website feedback
On the bottom of the bill is a code that says Fill in the feedback on the website (link provided) and writes the generated code and gets an X% discount on your next purchase. The advantage of this type of feedback is a repeat purchase. The customer is going to return at least once to claim the discount.
6) Social Media
The biggest data collection center – Social media – is also the capital for feedback collection. Companies have made their Facebook and Twitter pages. Customers can tag the companies or service providers with any issue or complaint and within 30-40 mins (working hours) the customer can expect a response. The feedbacks are not anonymous and it is viewed publicly by everyone – including potential customers and competitors.
The companies have to respond to the complaint and cannot leave it unattended since it is on a public platform. Competitors can track such requests, complaints, and issues and tap the customers to convert them to competition. The presence of government bodies makes things even more clear and more transparent.
For example, if a customer receives a wrong order from Amazon, the process is to escalate it via a call to customer care. But going through automated responses can be time-consuming and overwhelming at times. The customer can instead put up a complaint with the order number and will get a call back within an hour.
7) One-on-one interview
Usually, pharmaceuticals use this approach when testing or launching a new drug in the market. Although people voluntarily sign up for test drugs, there could always be side effects or reactions which the company has not anticipated.
Such things cannot be presented on paper and the questions vary based on responses. In such cases, a one-on-one interview is the best alternative. The interviews can be conducted by seeking an appointment with the customer or patient and he or she is asked about the product, its feel, and his reaction and liking to the product.
A poll is taken to determine the liking of the customer towards a particular product or service. Polls are usually quick and let know about consumer likings in a very short period of time. Setting up polls and designing the questions are easy.
However, if the analysis of polls is to be done offline or manually, then it can be a very lengthy process. Instead, setting up online polls is easier, and free, and results are calculated in minutes. Questions such as ‘Do you prefer Veg or Non-Veg?’, ‘How would you rate our service on a scale of 100?’ etc can be formulated.
9) Usability tests
Conducting usability tests is a highly effective method of identifying problem areas in the customer experience and receiving design feedback.
To obtain meaningful insights from usability testing, it is important to invest time in planning. Through a well-defined strategy, you can identify issues that customers may not even realize they are encountering, and derive practical insights that can enhance their overall experience.
In addition to these, you can also use a few other methods like customer feedback surveys, email, and customer contact forms, exploratory customer interviews, in-app surveys, polls, etc sorts of methods for collecting customer feedback and optimizing your customer feedback strategy.
A Template Example of Customer Feedback Questions
Following is a sample template for Customer Feedback Collection for a restaurant –
XYZ Hotels Pvt. Ltd.
Dear Valued Customer,
Thank you for visiting us. To serve you better please respond to the questions below.
- How would you rate the ambiance of our restaurant?a. Great Good b. Okay c. Bad d. Terrible
- Did you like today’s theme of our restaurant?a. Yes b. No c. Reason_________
- Was the Music interesting?a. Yes b. No c. Could have been better
- Did you try today’s special from our Menu?a. Yes b. No
- If yes, did you like it?a. Yes b. No
- How did you like the food that you ordered today?a. Great Good b. Okay c. Bad d. Terrible
- Have you been to our restaurant before?a. Yes, I’m a frequent visitor b. No. This is my first time
- If you are a frequent visitor, then how often do you visit us?a. Once a week b. Once a month c. Twice a month
- Is there any particular food item that is your favorite and you have had it more than once?a. If Yes, please write the name b. If no, proceed
- If you have visited for the first time, how did you hear about our restaurant?a. Friend Internet b. Social Media c. Others – Specify
Contact Details –
- Age group – a. 0-18 18-25 c. 25-40 d. 40 and above
- Gender – Male Female Prefer not to disclose
- Phone number –
- Mobile Number –
- Birthday – Anniversary –
What is a customer feedback loop?
The A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop is a strategic system designed for collecting and utilizing customer feedback. Businesses can use the customer feedback loop to gather feedback from customers and use it to enhance their experience with the company. Its working revolves around the following four steps –
- Asking for customer feedback
- Categorizing the feedback
- Acting on the feedback
- Following up with customers’ feedback
What is the Voice of the Customer (VoC) program?
A Voice of the Customer program, also known as a VoC program, collects all customer feedback about a business and helps to continuously improve. Having a VoC program in place can make managing customer feedback more efficient. There are different sources from which feedback can be obtained. These include customer surveys, CSAT scores, Net Promoter Score® (NPS), customer effort score, community forums, advocacy teams, advisory boards, etc.
How to use Customer Feedback?
Once you collect feedback, it should be used in following ways –
1) Share it company-wide
For quantitative and qualitative feedback to be effective, it must be directed to the relevant teams: product development, sales, marketing, customer support, etc, so they can resolve issues of unhappy customers, plus keep on personalizing services for loyal customers.
2) Identify opportunities for improvement
Collecting feedback from customers can be helpful in identifying areas of improvement for your products or services, as well as recognizing potential opportunities for innovation based on emerging customer needs. These insights can then be used to inform long-term business strategies.
3) Learn which relationships to nurture
Gathering customer feedback is not just about resolving issues. It can also aid you in identifying which industries or individuals are most compatible with your product or service. Moreover, it can assist you in detecting your most contented customers and potential brand ambassadors.
4) Celebrate successes
Make sure to acknowledge and forward any positive customer feedback to the specific team member who deserves credit for it, whether it is the support agent who resolved the ticket or the engineer who developed a particular feature. This will ensure that the wider team is aware of the positive feedback.
How can I improve my customer feedback strategy?
To leverage customer feedback strategy more effectively, you can use following practices –
- Make it timely – Timeliness is key when it comes to responding to customer feedback. Responding promptly lets customers know that you value their input, and also helps to prevent potential escalations.
- Make it personal – Personalizing customer feedback is essential to build meaningful relationships with customers. This can be done by using their name, providing personalized responses to feedback, and making sure that an individual customer is never left in the dark.
- Make it actionable – Customer feedback should always be actionable. Use the feedback to make improvements and enable customers to easily follow up on issues that need further attention.
- Make it easy – To clarify, companies should make it easy and convenient for customers to give feedback. If it’s difficult to find a way to contact the company, then customers may not bother giving feedback. Also, simply doing occasional surveys may not be sufficient for the product and marketing teams.
- Close the loop – Companies should establish a clear vision and process for collecting, prioritizing, and managing feedback before soliciting it. This will ensure that feedback is not forgotten or ignored like it often is, becoming trapped in a void with no action or synthesis.
Some of the customer feedback benefits that you can expect are-
- The customer feedback survey is an important tool to understand your customers better and make decisions about improving their experience with your product or services.
- Developing an effective customer feedback strategy can provide valuable insights to make informed decisions based on customer insights.
- Using customer feedback tools for gathering feedback makes the whole process of using a customer feedback program automated and conversion-driven
Liked this post? Check out the complete series on Customer Management