6 tips on turning customer feedback into business intelligence

Listening and implementing customer feedbackSo you have got the memo and have started collecting customer feedback.

Congratulations.

But that is only the first step of a long process.

An ideal customer feedback scenario would be when the entire organization takes a long and hard look at those reports and implements the required changes. The feedback would also be acknowledged and the customer rewarded for their time and effort.

But with many companies that does not happen, resulting in loss of time, money and more importantly, customers. After all, would a customer stay with you if they find that you don’t care enough to fix what they point out is broken?

So ask for feedback. And make sure you use that feedback effectively by following these guidelines.

1. Organize the feedback

Customer feedback comes to companies in a variety of channels- face to face, emails, phone calls, forms, Twitter, Yelp, forums. Collate the feedback into an easily searchable database and make it accessible to everybody. There are several Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs that do a great job of collecting and analyzing feedback in real time.

2. Set up a system to communicate feedback to the right people

Set up systems and processes so that there are no bottlenecks where information flow related to customer feedback is concerned. Also institute a  system of feedback loop  wherein customer feedback gets acknowledged as quickly as possible- it can be anything from a general blog post, a tweet or a personalized email (for the love of all that’s holy, shun canned mails).

3. Designate internal customer advocates

Employees who are passionate about the interests of customers while keeping the interests of the organization in mind are one of your most valuable assets. If you think that’s a load of hooey, Frank “@Comcastcares” Eliason and the folks at Comcast would like to have a word with you.

Find out such people and put them in charge of the overall customer feedback management.The advocates would be in charge of following up with feedback, co-ordinating with different departments and keeping the customer updated.

4.  Tie in employee rewards and incentives with feedback resolution

Many companies have employees incentive programs which take a number of metrics into account while calculating the compensation. Tweak the formula so that the incentive calculated also takes into account how responsive a particular employee has been to solving customer issues and recognize them externally and internally.

Just be careful of not to be solely reliant on  feedback resolution metric- that results in situations where employees can game the system or fudge the data to achieve favorable scores.

5. Get sign offs from management

Because making a company customer feedback friendly involves a change in corporate culture, it is vital for management to be included in the entire process. In a world of social media where every customer has a voice it’s relatively easy for internal customer advocates to demonstrate the value of keeping customers happy, and the perils of ignoring customer feedback.

6. Link business metrics with customer feedback management

Despite having every else on this list companies might not get far with customer feedback programs if the business case is not apparent. To that end, do some math and find out how data relating to metrics like customer retention, cost per customer acquisition, likelihood of referrals etc measure up since changes has been made. While data will help you know if you are going in the right direction, it will also help you in benchmarking yourself with the rest of the industry

When customer feedback is intelligently used to improve customer experience it results in a win-win situation for everyone.  What challenges have you faced while trying to incorporate the feedback into daily decision making process in your organization?

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