Every brand has a personality rooted in the beliefs and aspirations of the brand’s parents, custodians and mentors. This is its work culture. Today’s brands are all customer-centric, and for this reason, loyalty building and customer feedback programs need to be ongoing.
Customer-centric work cultures require every employee to focus on the customer. Each aspect of operations from product development to customer support needs to be tailored to meet customers’ expectations. All employees have to work together to develop an efficient customer feedback program. A credible flow of information that can help:
- Find out what your customers need now and in the long term.
- Understand what they expect from the brand, its products, and support.
- Know what customers feel about the brand, its communication, and work culture.
- Identify strategies for the future.
Who and where is your customer?
Customers are pretty much everywhere you look, both within your organization and outside it. And they are both equally vital to your business.
External customers purchase or consume the products and services that you manufacture or market. They directly impact what your company earns from sales and influences future marketing plans.
Internal customers are less obvious. They are on your team and work with you to deliver your products and services to a market, like stakeholders, managers, employees, vendors, and service providers. A positively inspired team is more productive, paving the way for better customer experiences.
Five ways you can optimise customer feedback:
1. Let your customers comment.
Numbers are great for quantitative analyses, but not so much for a qualitative one. When you give your customer the opportunity to explain their choices, you enhance the value of customer feedback. For example, using a one-to-ten scale to rate products, services, training, or a demo can help calculate scores and create numerical benchmarks for the future. Now ask your customer why they scored you so, and you will gain a better understanding of how they perceive your efforts. This is actionable information about your customers’ expectations.
2. Your customer’s voice can tell a story.
With smartphones taking over most communication, customers sometimes prefer to say the words, rather than text them. Recording your customer’s voice is a stellar way to get to the underlying truth. This is easy at customer support contact centers and offices using an internet telephony service, where all calls are recorded. Listening to these customer calls should be a clearly defined part of the job. Call agents, trainers, and customer support teams can use this to improve their performance and understand customers better. Listen closely for non-verbal clues like inflections, pauses, and fillers that add layers of meaning to what is being said. Giving your customer the option of calling in to a number to record their feedback allows them to be honest with feedback, without the compulsion to be too nice or too nitpicky.
3. Customers’ perceptions change with time
Customers’ expectations and perceptions change with every other customer experience they have or hear about, from their social circle. This comparison of the customer experience has rendered customer expectations and perceptions fluid and changeable. Customer feedback can therefore change from the same customer after weeks or even days. This is not to say feedback from a week down the line is not viable or honest. The change only makes for a better comparative analysis of the customer experience and helps you zero in on what contributed to this change. So now and then, plan to run your feedback before, soon after, and a few days down the line from an event, launch, sales call, or purchase.
4. Reach out like your customers do.
When a friend texts to say hello, we tend to respond in kind. People like the rhythm and balance of knowing their calls will be returned with calls and not emails. Make it a point to know how your customers reach out to you, so you can interact with them similarly. This means being ready with after-call surveys, web chat, SMS, email, or in-person interactions.
5. Let your customer say it all.
Listening to your customer’s voice saying positive things about your brand inspires employees to raise the bar on their performance. Let their words remind and reverberate through your operations as text, video, or audio bites as necessary. Let your employees respond to customer feedback where relevant to add value and substance to the communication.
Remember, if your customers have to repeat themselves to your support staff or reach out to more than one of them, there is a good chance they’ll take their business elsewhere. This is why feedback needs to be part of every employee’s job profile.