Our last post focused on listening, but that’s only part of the story. Action must follow listening. Companies can do this by implementing a customer feedback loop.
The Customer Feedback Loop
Any effective improvement plan for your business should involve analyzing, measuring and acting upon customer feedback . This process is known as a customer feedback loop. In this post we’ll go deeper into the mechanics of measuring customer sentiment. We’ll also begin the discussion on how to act upon it.
Measuring “Moments of Truth”
“Moments of truth” are those significant points in your company’s interaction with a customer . As you build your customer experience strategy, consider surveying your customers at significant points in your interaction with them . A December 2009 Harvard Business Review article states that “the most important interactions [with a customer] are ‘moments of truth,’ those few points of contact that hold the greatest potential to delight — or alienate — an organization’s customers .”
“Moments of truth” tend to vary based on the type and size of your business. Your customers' interactions with the technical support team is an obvious moment of truth . But how do clients about the sales process? Do clients make effective use of the company's online help portal (if it exists)? How does the company resolve billing inquiries and issues? All these touch points have an effect on the customer relationship.
Understanding those “moments of truth” helps you determine where to measure feedback. This is also the beginning of your customer feedback loop.
Analyzing, responding to, and acting on feedback
Once you have a significant amount of data going into your feedback loop, the next step is to begin analysis.
If customers provide specific feedback about their experience, you should respond immediately to those comments . The response shouldn’t be defensive or angry, but should rather thank the customer for their feedback and seek to understand the situation . I’ve seen many cases where a follow-up call on a bad survey can end up completely changing a customer’s opinion of a business .
Beyond that, look at the data you’re receiving in total and see what it tells you. Sometimes the best feedback only comes from stepping back and looking at trends that run through customer responses.
Closing the Loop
In the final step of the customer feedback loop, you need to make sure to communicate changes back to your customers . If a comment — good or bad — is specific to a single customer, acknowledge their feedback and let them know what changes you’re prepared to make it right (or to keep the service great) for them . You can also use things like your customer newsletter, advertising, etc., to let customers know en masse about changes you’re making to your business based on what they told you . Showing customers that you heard and acted on their feedback is one of the most powerful ways to build your base of loyal customers .