The Secrets of Creating an Effective Customer Feedback Program
| Published: September 13, 2016 | Comments
You already know your company needs a customer feedback program, but do you know how to plan for one and implement it successfully? What are specific things to consider while making a plan? Are there any potential pitfalls to avoid? What is the best way to collect feedback? What happens after feedback is collected?
These are all great questions and ones that need to be answered during the planning phase. To help you figure out the answers, here is what you need to know before you get started in order to create a successful customer feedback program.
The Point of Making a Plan
Sure, a company can just email a satisfaction survey to all of it’s customers. A few of them may even respond. However, if you want to receive real feedback that is invaluable to your company in order to improve products and services and enhance customer relations, then a proper plan for your program needs to be put into place first.
Ask yourself the following questions to get started:
- What are your objectives? What feedback are you looking to get and how will it be used? Are you more interested in measuring customer satisfaction or customer loyalty?
- Who are you targeting? Are you trying to zero in on a specific demographic or psychographic?
- How are you going to encourage customer feedback? What’s in it for the customer?
Once these questions are answered, you’ll have a clearer understanding of how to move forward.
Avoiding the Pitfalls
Avoid these potential pitfalls of asking for feedback.
Over-surveying: Keep track of which customers you’ve asked for feedback. Otherwise, you risk causing survey burnout which turns appreciated customers into annoyed customers.
Delivering results when it’s too late: If you delay too long in either fixing an issue or rewarding a behavior, your efforts will fall flat.
Missing opportunities: Build customer loyalty by rewarding them for their feedback. Build employee loyalty by rewarding them for high satisfaction rates.
Not following up: When it comes to following up, do it quickly. If there is no acknowledgement or response, customers will stop offering important feedback and might even give up on your business if they feel their opinions are falling on deaf ears.
There is no one right way to collect feedback. In fact, there are a many right ways to collect feedback. To get the broadest picture of your customers, it is best to collect via multiple channels.
Surveys are usually the first thing a company thinks about when they decide to gather feedback. These offer an easy way to ask specific questions and are a very familiar format for customers. Telephone surveys tend to receive higher response rates, allow for more control, and give a quicker turnaround time. Ticket closing surveys are an appropriate and opportune way to gain feedback after a support call.
Live Chat is a widget or popup window on a website that directly connects a customer to a tech support or customer service representative. The pluses to using this medium is that it’s convenient for your customers to use when they need it, it offers quick response times, and the user satisfaction rates are high.
Other channels for gathering feedback include focus groups (allows for more in-depth feedback in a controlled setting), review websites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, etc), community forums, and reviewing website activity.
Proper Management of Customer Feedback
Remember, your reviewers are also your paying customers who have personal feelings and sensitivities. They can also be very vocal and opinionated and want to be heard. They know they wield a lot of power when it comes to influencing their friends and online acquaintances for or against your company.
Acknowledge positive reviews and comments. A simple “Thank You” often works. Quickly address any complaints or issues that are causing negative feedback. Continue the conversation offline with a personal email or phone call. Thank everyone, regardless of their responses, for their valuable feedback.
Evaluate and Reevaluate
Once you’ve collected your customer feedback, it’s time to evaluate it. Categorize comments by subjects such as product availability, speed, reliability, location, etc. Look for positive and negative patterns. Identify who responded and through which channel. Notice your brand advocates and your at-risk customers.
Once you’ve completed the evaluation of the feedback received and have finished making adjustments to your plan, it’s imperative to reevaluate and readjust at regular intervals.
Now that you know the secrets, you can create your own effective customer feedback program that will inevitably increase customer satisfaction and their loyalty to your brand.
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