Have you ever launched a product so innovative but so out of touch with market needs? Have your customers been making complaints about missing features in your latest updates? Has a new competitor been slowly but surely increasing their market share – at your expense? These scenarios are what might happen when you neglect customer feedback or fail to act accordingly.
What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback refers to any sort of information or insight shared by your community of buyers or users about their experiences with your products or services. This exchange can happen directly (for example: when customers get in touch with your support teams) or indirectly (for example: when customers write online reviews). In both cases, you must keep an eye out for all feedback since it can be your guiding compass when it comes to empowering your company (in case of positive feedback) or improving certain aspects (in case of negative feedback).
Customer feedback takes on many shapes and forms. It is one of the most valuable resources companies can access, simply by providing open channels of communication to their existing customer base. Examples of these channels can be:
- Usability tests
- Customer interviews
- Social media monitoring
- On-site analytics
- Instant feedback
Collecting feedback proactively
More often than not, customers have your best interests in mind. They want your product to improve so they may have an enhanced experience. All customers look for is a simple and effective way of reaching you and having their voice heard. Not only will collecting feedback help you know what you’re doing right or wrong, feedback can also make you see what you’re not doing at all (unmet needs, new ways of using your product, competitive features, etc.). To ensure customers always have a way of reaching out, make sure to follow these steps:
- Invite existing clients to offer feedback
- Make communication clear and simple
- Share progress reports with loyal customers
- Be transparent about when and how they can reach out
- Engage with customers directly on social media
- Invest in customer relationship management software
Taking a proactive approach to customer feedback ensures that you’re always on the right path to meeting customer needs and expectations. It may surprise you how much customers know about the ins and outs of your product or service. Their ideas are the most valuable resource you can benefit from. Not only do customers propel you to excellence, they’re also responsible for increasing satisfaction rates with your business, which in turn will lead to more customers. Integrating customer feedback into your business process will create a collaborative and cost-saving dynamic between your business and your end users.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. - Bill Gates
The importance of customer collaboration
According to PwC’s Innovation Benchmark 2017, 54% of companies say customer engagement strategy helps define innovation from early ideation and 35% of companies say customers are their most important innovation partners. Additionally, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, and 68% of customers expect brands to demonstrate empathy, according to Salesforce. Involving your customers and inviting them to the depths of your product will turn them into loyal ambassadors of your brand.
All businesses must stop viewing customers as complainers and start looking at them as problem-solvers. Whether your interactions with customers take place over live chat, video calls, chatbots, or voice-assisted programs, your customers should be your go-to collaborator. And while it is true that the customer may not always be right, customer feedback is always valuable.