9 Ways to Run an Efficient Customer Feedback Program
Updated for 2023
Before you launch your customer feedback program, it’s important to understand how to run a smooth operation, and get the most bang for your buck. Whether you’re using customer feedback software or another tool, this will ensure you create a program that is efficient and creates the most impact for your team and your customers. Customer feedback programs incur costs from setting up, gathering the information, analyzing the data and then creating actions to improve the customer experience. So before you begin, you want to make sure you are investing in something that will ultimately provide valuable, actionable feedback to your business.
Why is it important to run a customer feedback program?
It’s simple: If you’re in business, you need to know what your customers think of you. But how to get customer feedback? You can gather anecdotal stories from customers and frontline staff. But if you’re serious about growing your business, you want to set up an efficient and effective customer feedback program that's scalable, and continuously working to improve the customer experience.
Some of the benefits of running a feedback program are:
- Gaining insights that can help you improve products, services and processes.
- Measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Making your customers feel valued and important.
- Finding and fixing the pain points of your customers.
- Being able to retain customers by solving the issues they are facing.
- Gathering testimonials to share.
Running a feedback program allows you to gather data to compare over time or between locations. By gathering the same data in various instances, you can see if you’re improving or find key learnings from certain locations that you can implement across your business.
What is the customer feedback process?
A customer feedback process doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Using a system like NPS allows you to easily gather data from a broad selection of your customers over time.
Step 1: Collect Feedback: Ask your customers at the right moment in their customer journey to provide feedback.
Step 2: Share Feedback: Make sure everyone in your organization can access customer feedback. From product teams to frontline associates, feedback should be baked into your company culture.
Step 3: Act on Feedback: Empower your team to act on both positive and negative feedback, and turn them into brand advocates.
Step 4: Analyze Feedback: Look for trends in your customer data to draw conclusions around what’s working and what’s not.
9 ways to run a customer feedback program
Now that you understand more about the process, let’s dive into the different ways to run a customer feedback program.
1. Have a customer feedback strategy in place
Before you begin firing off surveys, you want to ensure you’ve set your customer satisfaction goal. You may create a goal to improve from previous results, beat your competitors or achieve a certain level of overall satisfaction if you’ve never surveyed your customers before.
Once you’ve done this, you can create a customer feedback strategy to help you achieve this goal. You want to make sure that you have ways to analyze the data you collect, a method of reporting on the feedback and the resources in place to action any changes. This strategy will help you move towards your customer satisfaction goal.
2. Analyze what drives customer loyalty
Because you’re surveying your existing customers, one of the key factors you want to understand is how you can encourage customer loyalty. These people are already purchasing from you, so you want to ensure that they remain happy, continue to buy from you and refer their friends and family.
One of the main factors that drive customer loyalty is customer service. The experience that your frontline staff create, whether that’s digitally through chat functions, on the phone or in person, helps make customers feel connected to your business and maintains ongoing relationships. This high level of service needs to exist all throughout the customer life-cycle, from pre-purchase interactions to support and maintenance.
3. Include a customer loyalty indicator
When you’re running a customer feedback program, understanding loyalty will help you monitor customer service and satisfaction. If a customer is impressed by the service they have received, they are more likely to stay loyal. By using a tool such as NPS, you can see how many loyal customers you have.
The most loyal customers you have are not only more likely to become repeat purchasers, they are also likely to encourage their friends and family members to shop with you as well. No matter how savvy a marketer, a recommendation from a trusted source is always more powerful than traditional advertising. Gathering this data through NPS allows you to work towards increasing the number of promoters you have.
4. Analyze your customer lifecycle
Gathering NPS data throughout your customers’ lifecycles allows you to see where improvements are needed. You will most likely see a pattern emerge that shows you a stage in the life cycle that you can improve customer service. How do your customers feel when they’re browsing your site, just after purchase or three months later?
Often the decrease in customer satisfaction is towards the end of the life cycle. Many organizations focus their energy on gaining attention and acquiring customers. But what happens after purchase? All the time and money spent turning someone into a customer should be leveraged by keeping them engaged and encouraging them to be a repeat customer.
5. Build personalized customer surveys based on objectives
You’ll want to tailor your customer feedback survey to achieve your objectives. If you want to turn single purchase customers into subscribers, you can ask them what’s stopping them from subscribing. Maybe it’s not clear how to, the sign-up process is prohibitive or they don’t know that subscriptions exist. Asking them directly can help shine light on the problem.
Creating personalized surveys allows you to ask relevant questions to the right people. A survey that is filled with questions that aren’t relevant can discourage customers from completing surveys, leaving you with incomplete data to work with. Respect your customers' time by tailoring the survey to them.
6. Engage with your customers
One of the most common reasons most people don’t provide customer feedback is that they feel like it’s talking to a wall. No one is listening, so why bother? Engaging with your customers after they have completed your survey helps them feel heard and valued. This also makes them more likely to give you valuable feedback in the future.
The engagement can be done straight after the survey, with a follow-up call or email, thanking them for their time. But one of the most powerful ways is after you’ve completed your analysis of the data and you know what actions you’re going to take. For the customer to hear that the feedback was valuable and action was taken will further build their relationship with you.
7. Act on the findings
Now that you’ve gathered information from your customers, what are you going to do with it? If you’ve set up an efficient strategy, you’ll have the necessary team members ready to take action. You now know what will make a real impact on customer loyalty. So let’s get going!
Or potentially you now know where in the customer process you can improve but not how. For example, you may have been told that the website has issues, but is this to do with navigation, the time it takes to load or that the necessary information isn’t there. This may require taking a deeper dive with some of your customers that are happy to discuss further.
8. Keep a track of the progress and measure success
Over time you’ll want to see how your customer survey results change. Customer feedback software will generally show your responses over time so that you can see if changes to systems and processes have the desired effects. Often these changes will require investment, so being able to see the new chat functionality was worth the cost or if the staff training has boosted your results is important. Some changes will take time to play out, others may instantly boost your customer feedback scores.
9. Improvise and survey your customers again
A snapshot in time will only show you so much. As you continuously make improvements, business changes and your customers move through their life cycles, you will want to continue to survey them. Tracking feedback over time will allow you to see the impact of these changes.
You now also have a benchmark to work from. The first step in any customer experience improvement is to know where you are beginning from so you can see the impact of any changes. Then you can continue to improvise, survey and see what improves customer loyalty.
Now you know the crucial steps to running a customer feedback program, it’s time to start planning. You’ll want to find a tool that can scale with you as your business continues to grow. AskNicely can help you with each of these steps to ensure that you create a program that is going to be right for your business. Investing now can help ensure that your business continues to create happy customers for years to come.