5 Tips to Put Feedback into Action
At C3 2016 a couple of weeks ago, my colleague, Oliver Taylor, and I hosted an interactive session called “Feedback to Action: The Key to Creating Successful Customers.” We asked attendees for their input on topics such as feedback program design, deployment, metrics, and reporting. In other words, it was all about collecting and more importantly, acting on feedback — where they think they do it well and where there are gaps.
It’s exciting that many Clicktools customers are making great strides in their feedback programs and are actually greater CX pioneers than they give themselves credit for. Many of them are in the 55% of brands with “…a dedicated CX department focused on advancing a unified vision of a better customer experience” (The 2016 NGCX Report) — a very encouraging statistic. But as always, there is room to improve. We all certainly agree that it’s not enough to simply gather feedback. Today’s challenge is figuring out how to act on feedback to improve various aspects of the business, which is no simple task.
Based on that day’s discussion, here are some tips to help you derive real business value out of the feedback you get from customers, employees, partners, vendors, and beyond.
Five Essentials for Turning Feedback to Action
- Automate or forget it. Most Clicktools customers don’t need a reminder on this one because they’re often way ahead of the curve, as far as integrating (usually with Salesforce as well as with marketing automation and other systems). But this is the first tip because if you don’t have the right solutions in place to automate collecting and acting on most feedback, don’t even bother. It sounds harsh, but if you’re manually creating and sending every survey, you won’t have the time or the technology to properly analyze and respond to input. There will simply be too much data to make sense of, especially if you’re collecting unstructured (i.e. text) responses. And, as a side note, text analytics is the next big thing. There was a great deal of excitement and curiosity about how Clicktools can help automate this. For more info on insights into text responses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Define meaningful metrics. Start with where you want to end up. In other words, gather key stakeholders across the business and determine which metrics would be powerful enough to drive decision-making. Remember, the real goal of any feedback program is not to capture the feedback; it’s to improve the business. So, if you’re collecting info that won’t ultimately affect change, it may not be worth collecting.
- Mind your methodologies. When it comes to feedback, there is no one right answer. According to Tempkin Group, CSAT is still the most popular metric, (followed by Likely to Recommend and Customer Effort), but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every business. You’ll need to do some research and again, get input from key stakeholders internally to ultimately determine which approaches best support your desired outcomes.
- Balance transactional and relationship. Different survey types demand different action types. For transactional surveys (i.e. those sent after a specific interaction such as an online purchase or service engagement), you may be able to act on easily resolvable issues nearly immediately or put them on a short list of top priorities. Relationship surveys (i.e. those sent periodically and not based on a single transaction) usually provide higher level feedback on how people perceive your brand. Addressing this type of input will likely require a longer term, strategic approach.
- Share what you’ve learned. For both transactional and relational feedback, a key element of successfully transforming feedback into action is to show customers and employees that you’ve implemented change based on their input. This is what keeps the feedback loop flowing. When you acknowledge their insights, express appreciation for them taking the time to share, and most importantly, share back the ways that you’ve used that feedback to improve their experience, you will increase loyalty and advocacy, and as a direct result: the long-term success of your business.
I’ll leave you with a quotation from a Customer Experience Report article, Taking Action with Customer Feedback: “Above all, make sure to let customers know that they are being listened to, and that they are valued for more than the money they spend with your organization. Building loyalty requires dedication and hard work – and the practical application of valuable feedback.”