The values of listening to the Voice of the Customer
Having an online customer feedback tool in place is one thing. But putting it to good use and actually listening to your customers? That’s another. Unfortunately there are many instances in which online customer feedback “falls on deaf ears”. Just a mere 46% of consumers feel that their feedback is being used in a constructive way.
And what’s interesting is almost 83% of consumers say they would be more loyal to a brand if they knew that brand would act on their feedback and make improvements.
To give businesses an idea of what kind of effect this neglect has on customers, I want to share with you my own personal experience as a customer shopping online. The story I’m about to tell is based on true events; the names of the people and brands have been changed…
It was a cold December night and the wind was crashing into the buildings leaving that distinctive hollow sound…The candles in the window were struggling to stay lit as the wind tried to blow them out.
No seriously…It was December when I tried to buy myself a belated Christmas gift. Like 75% of the Dutch population, I buy most of my products online. The experience I had as a potential customer trying to make an online purchase is definitely a lesson to learn from, especially for businesses in eCommerce that are using or want to use a digital feedback tool.
The gift I picked out for myself was a backpack from a well-known and high quality outdoor brand. However, to my disappointment, after I made the purchase, I never received the confirmation, which is normally sent right after the order has been placed.
Submitting my customer feedback
The company’s website had a basic feedback button that enables visitors to provide their comments as well as request contact by providing an email address – which is what I did. The next day I was expecting a response to my feedback or even better, the confirmation of my purchase. Unfortunately, I received none of the above so I finally decided to call customer service.
The call started out well as it resulted in a 15% discount on my next purchase – their way of compensating for my troubles and the technical error. But when I asked customer service if they received my feedback, the representative was unaware of what I was referring to. After further explanation on my part, the representative asked his manager where he might be able to find my feedback. It was concluded that the feedback had been sent to the product team.
As a customer, this story has ended. As a feedback specialist, the story begins.
For me it was disappointing that this very famous brand, known for its high-quality products could deliver such a poor quality of service. I encountered a technical error and when I gave this feedback, no response was provided.
Customer feedback is a very powerful tool that can help your business from another perspective and if you take the time to interact you are instantly creating customer loyalty. Your customers will experience your website differently than you would. Essentially they are your ‘website auditors’, who can keep you informed of any flaws in the customer journey.
Listen to your customers with intent
So what’s the moral of my story? Don’t use your feedback tool as just a gimmick – listen to your customers with intent. In other words, if you choose to ask them for feedback, be sure to let them know they’ve been heard. It can be damaging for your brand if your customers feel neglected as it often leads them to resort to channels such as social media to share their poor experiences. As one person, I certainly don’t have the reach of thousands of followers, but think of influential people such as Dutch professional gamer, Yarasky (who has 300,000 followers on YouTube). He is also part of the 75% that buy products online. So remember, it doesn’t take much for a promoter to turn into a detractor. So how can you prevent these feelings of neglect? By taking action on that feedback, of course!
Turning insights into action
Referred to as “closing the loop” in the feedback world, taking action on feedback is crucial. For starters, you must have clear objectives in mind for what you want to achieve with your feedback tool. Then you’ll want to make sure all internal stakeholders are onboard and/or aware of their expected involvement in the feedback operation. This may include, for example, members of your product team, sales team, IT department, etc.
Once everyone is informed, the next step is to set timescales for follow-ups. This will ensure that once the feedback comes in and has been handled, customers will be notified in a timely manner. Now that you have these steps in place, you just need to continue to track the progress of solutions and keep your customers informed!