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Kevin Dean
by Kevin Dean
on June 18, 2018

Collecting customer feedback is key to understanding how well you're meeting customers' needs. And while collecting all the feedback in the world is great, unless this feedback is actionable, it proves to be of no value. Let's explore helpful tips and advice for getting the most out of your customer feedback by using it in actionable ways. 

Understanding the Value of Customer Feedback

Over the past few years, the Customer Experience (CX) has become a unique differentiator that helps set brands apart from one another. The better the CX, the better a brand's reputation. It's pertinent to understand, however, that just because a brand has a good CX as of now, it must continually be improved upon in order to keep up with customers' ever-changing needs and preferences. 

Being able to identify these changing needs is possible by Voice of the Customer (VoC). More importantly, When companies utilize a VoC program, this enables them to pinpoint how they are currently meeting customers' needs, which then shows them where changes need to be made to better meet current and future needs. VoC and the CX go hand-in-hand with one another. The richer a VoC program is, the more the CX can be studied and optimized. 

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Customer feedback plays a large role in knowing where product design changes need to be made. So not only does a VoC program help enhance the CX, but it also impacts everything from product design to store layout. And since there are so many channels of communication and engagement used to come into contact with customers, there's no reason for brands to be in the dark when it comes to customer feedback. There are a plethora of tools and resources that can be used to capture customer data and feedback, and if you have yet to take advantage of them, you can bet your bottom dollar that your brand's CX is lacking and could greatly be improved upon. 

The three most valuable (and actionable) outcomes of enhanced customer feedback processes are:

  • 1. Expand the product development
  • 2. Enhance the customer service experience
  • 3. Augment better customer experiences

How to Collect Feedback and Make it Actionable

The first step in being able to turn feedback into actionable insight is, of course, to actually collect the feedback. From there, you are going to prioritize the insights you acquire so that you can act upon them in confidence, knowing they are going to enhance product design and improve the CX. 

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It becomes much simpler to analyze feedback when it's in an organized manner. Because of this, you will want to enter customer feedback into a data management tool. It will also be helpful to have any key metadata relating to each customer entered in. This metadata will need to include individual attributes, such as:

  • 1. How long has the customer been in contact with your brand?
  • 2. What is the average amount of money spent per customer?
  • 3. What is the purchase-theme of each customer?
  • 4. Date and source of collected feedback?

Once customer metadata and feedback is entered in, you can start performing analyses from this point forward. Ideally, you will want to see what the most common forms of feedback are as well as the most common themes. Let's say for example you operate a hair salon. After putting together your spreadsheet, you see that most of your feedback is collected via email, and you also pinpoint that the majority of the feedback relates to products purchased rather than hair salon services rendered. In knowing this type of information, you can easily tell that email is your most valuable form of communication with customers and that you need to improve upon one or more aspects of the products you sell. You may find that your products are meeting the needs of your customers and don't need any actual improvement. Perhaps the biggest feedback you are getting is that your customers wish they could receive a discount after purchasing a certain number of products from you. By knowing this information, you can take action by developing a rewards program that gives customers discounts. 

 

Think your content could make a great online knowledge base? Here are some tips to create one.

Understanding Your Goals

Like said before, you can have all the feedback in the world, but if you don't know what to do with it, then it's going to be of no value to your brand. This is why you need to set aside time to create goals for the feedback. Why are you gathering the feedback? What would you like to do with it? What types of resources do you have access to so that you can take action with the feedback you receive?

Keys to Collecting Actionable Insight

The first step you need to take in collecting actionable insight is to make sure you have a C-level executive on board. This person will outline what your goals are as well as communicate with other employees what VoC is and how it impacts the CX. The C-level executive will also need to influence the company in ways that support the initiation of feedback tools. To influence in such ways, this person will explain how VoC can be used to improve the CX and in doing so how it can positively impact the brand's bottom line. 

It's also pertinent that you deploy various feedback tools. You can't use only one form of feedback collection and expect it to deliver all the insight you need regarding how well your brand is performing. From email to surveys to comments on blog postings, there are many avenues that customers can provide feedback through, and you need to make sure you are deploying as many as possible. 

Lastly, you need to empower customers to provide feedback. How can you do this? It's simple. All you need to do is entice them to provide it. Offer a free discount coupon for providing feedback or some type of special reward or gift. Consumers love providing feedback and they love it even more when they know they are going to receive something in return. 

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The Takeaway

Making your customer feedback actionable starts with organizing it in the right manner. It also involves making sure you have goals in place so that you know what you are wanting to do with the feedback you collect. Next, it's all about using tools and resources to analyze the data to the fullest extent possible. The more you analyze, the more insights you will derive from the data you have collected. 

 

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