Bill Gates, arguably the most successful business person of all time, has said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. In any business, the broad aim is to keep the business running plus growing. To do that, the existing customers have to loyally continue their relationship with your business, and new ones should come and join regularly. For this to happen, as it may sound quite obvious, customers have to be happy about your company or the product/service it is offering.
In short, understanding whether your customer is happy or not helps you predict the business direction and take the required measures to keep the broad aim continually satisfied. This directs us to the importance of customer feedback.
Imagine a small hot dog vendor who is visited by 30 customers in a day. He has decided to check on how satisfied his customers are, so he observes customer reactions, asks questions, and makes mental notes. At the end of the day, he sits back and thinks about his customers and builds a rough picture of how happy or unhappy his customers are.
Now imagine a large amusement park where 3000 people visit each day. Does it make sense for the park to employ a guy like the hot dog vendor to observe customer satisfaction and draw insights? Even with tools like a notebook or basic computing applications, this would be an incredibly time-consuming or ineffective job with such larger feedback volumes.
With large organizations and customer databases, there are two main problems in finding customer satisfaction level –
- It is difficult to obtain so much data on customer experience via outdated methods like the one the hot dog vendor employs.
- It is even more difficult to compile this data in a manner that can help in drawing conclusions easily.
The good news, however, is that if systematically done, it is possible. What makes this possible is what we call a customer feedback management tool.
In simple words, it makes sure that maximum customers are providing feedback on their experience with your company, and then takes all the customer feedback, reviews, rants, etc. and compiles it into a manner that gives you an overall gist of the story – The customer is happy, or he is not.
The collection of customer reviews and feedback can be done by collecting online customer feedback. Much of it collected through online channels like chats with representatives, google forms questionnaires, email surveys, social media polls or reviews, etc. The following image shows part of a sample form for collecting customer feedback –
People have tried analyzing data to monitor customer satisfaction using coarse methods for decades but it is hopelessly time consuming and unreliable. A feedback management tool, however, is better and works differently. Here’s what is different:
Multi Platform Feedback Collection
Customer feedback can be found on social media websites, reviewing platforms, emails or other places. A truly effective tool will collect data from all these places and put it together for you to have an all-encompassing view.
Topic-wise Categorization of Customer Feedback
It rarely happens that a customer is in general pleased or displeased about all aspects of your brand/product. It may happen that customers like your product quality but hate your post-sales service. Take this example – There is a car brand, and people agree that the build quality of their cars is top class. But, they don’t buy the car for the sole reason that bad experiences are involved when dealing with the service teams. It is thus important to categorize feedback into topics and take actions on specific topics to improve customer experience in those particular areas. See this example of a hotel’s topic wise feedback collection sheet.
Imagine it is the world cup season and everyone is speaking about the games and their favourite teams. During such times, a competitor may be launching world cup themed products to woo the customers and you are stuck with the regular routine because you failed to notice what all the hue and cry was about. A customer feedback tool gauges this and keeps you informed. Now you can launch an offer and call it a ‘world cup special’ and through this you have fans of teams becoming fans of your offer too!
Easy to Use
Complexity was one of the most serious problems when we applied the hot dog vendors methods on a larger scale. A good tool reduces most or all of your work and all you have to do is go through the reports/visualizations and understand where things may be going wrong. Piece of cake!
When you are undertaking customer feedback management, you are automatically undertaking your organization’s reputation management, which is the key to correct decision making and ensured business growth.
Jerry Gregoire, the flight simulations businessman says, “The customer experience is the next battleground”. The question is, ‘Are you battle ready?’
Customer feedback management is one of the most important and critical aspects of any business that is either growing or looking to grow. If proper management of customer feedback and reviews is not taken care of by the organization or company, then the vision (whatever it may be) with which it was started will never be able to reach its full potential.