Companies pay attention to customer feedback because it's a valuable source of business insight. But how do you make providing feedback into an easy, satisfying experience - the kind of experience that makes your customers happy to provide further input in the future?
Here are four articles I'm reading that provide useful tips for creating a feedback process that's a win for your customers, too:
1. Gather feedback from the front line
Say that thousands of transactions occur daily between customers and frontline employees at your company. Each is an opportunity to create a new promoter. But which customer experiences matter the most? We have learned that the most important interactions are "moments of truth," those relatively few points of contact that hold the greatest potential to delight - or alienate - an organization's customers. As they mine the steady flow of customer feedback, companies should pay particular attention to these touchpoints. - Rob Markey, Harvard Business Review
2. Don't make feedback complicated
Any time you ask a customer to offer an opinion about your services, it must be intuitive, quick and painless. It's not hard to recall the times we've been discouraged from offering an opinion about a service when we were asked to dial an 800 number after we arrived back home. Or perhaps there were too many details requested in order to complete and mail a postcard. So before asking for feedback, remember that if it's a hassle for the customer you will not get what you are after. - Steven Wyer, Reputation Advocate
3. Provide timely feedback
Many companies distribute summaries of what they hear from customers six, eight, or even 12 weeks later. This is a byproduct of the first rule because turning customer feedback into statistics usually requires aggregating it for several weeks in order to collect enough observations. All that analysis and reporting takes time to assemble, too. How well do you remember each of the many conversations and interactions you had six weeks ago? Chances are your employees don't either - which makes it awfully tough for them to remember what they did that might have contributed to variations in their customers' feedback. - Rob Markey, Harvard Business Review
4. Ensure satisfaction
An important part of managing complaints and feedback is making sure that people are satisfied with the outcome of their feedback. This is where it can be worth following up with every person who takes the time to provide feedback. Even if that feedback is a complaint, thank them for communicating with you. People are rarely thanked for their feedback, so this will make an immediate impact.
Next, ask them directly if they're satisfied with how you handled their complaint or feedback. If not, ask them what resolution they'd like to see. If you haven't met their expectations, do what you can to resolve the issue. Any extra bits of information here can feed back into the feedback process. - Mind Tools
Use these tips as a starting point. And remember, as the business world becomes increasingly customer-centric, satisfaction and feedback surveys are emerging to be integral tools for brands who want to build bridges between themselves and the thousands of their customers.