Every successful business understands the importance of knowing what their customers want and what they think about the service and/or products. Many businesses have processes in place to collate customer feedback but not all companies invest the same amount of efforts into ensuring the customer feedback tools they are using are the most effective ones available.
There are several different customer methodologies that are used to collate feedback, from customer satisfaction surveys, to analysis of social media comments. Some companies choose to concentrate on one particular methodology, whilst others get great results from using a combination or two or more customer feedback tools.
Collating lots of good quality customer feedback will help your business to make improvements to generate bigger profit margins and to introduce efficiencies that can help to save money. So, implementing the most effective customer feedback strategies has a big influence on success.
Voice of the Customer
One of the most popular ways to capture what customers are saying about a business is using the Voice of the Customer method. This involves putting processes and tools in place to capture everything that is being said by customers about a company or product. In larger companies, there can be multiple teams that are involved in collating and analysing customer feedback, working together to introduce business improvements to the relevant area or process.
The great benefit of using the VoC methodology is that you can get data from customers at every part of the customer journey instead of just one moment. This can help your business to stay aware of any potential issues that could lead to brand damage if not resolved quickly. For example, something that could potentially lead to high volumes of complaints could be highlighted and resolved quickly.
One of the key objectives of using VoC is to retain customers, as keeping your existing customers costs a lot less to the business than losing customers and spending money advertising to replace that same number of customers.
What are the different types of VoC?
There are many different types of collating customer feedback for the VoC methodology, including:
Net Promoter Score
In this type of customer feedback approach, customers are asked to score the answer to the question - "How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or a colleague?" This score will give insight into the loyalty of customers and a score is calculated of between -100 and 100, based on a formula that uses scores provided by customers from 0-10. If all of your customers are very likely to recommend your company (i.e. they answer 9 or 10) then your company will have a very high NPS.
The NPS method is very popular with businesses that want to be able to compare their own NPS to their competitors’ and it is often used in conjunction with one or more additional customer feedback tools such as the CSAT survey.
Social Media Comments
Social media usage is at an all time high and many people prefer to use their social media channels to contact companies rather than make a call, wait in a call queue or send an email. Customers simply don’t want to waste time waiting, they want instant responses and this is why it is important that companies have a social media team monitoring the different channels to quickly respond to any questions or complaints.
Good social media management can make a big different in protecting the reputation of a company as this customer channel leaves companies at risk of receiving negative feedback that is seen by many people, in some cases a bad response or experience can go viral. So, careful management of social media, making quick, helpful responses to customers is required.
The feedback that can be collated from social media feedback can be really valuable. As well as comments directed towards your company, you might also have conversations between customers that allow you to gather further information about what customers are saying about your company. You can analyse trends, for example, people asking about a certain type of product or service, or you might realise you need to update your website to show opening times more obviously to users. This information can be passed onto the relevant teams to make the necessary changes.
How customers use your website and the key information they are searching for on your website also gives you great insight into their thoughts. There are many different analytical tools you can use to collate website usage data to identify which parts of your website customers are interested in and which are not very effective/not being used and require changes.
Another great customer communication channel that you can collate useful data from is the Live Chat. The customer experience team can analyse the queries that are being asked in Live Chat to see if there is an improvement required. For example, if the same question keeps coming up about a certain product, it could help to provide more information on the website to answer this common question.
This is one of the most time consuming ways of collecting customer feedback but it can provide a greater level of detail and pinpoint specific sections of the customer journey that you want to find out more feedback about. This kind of feedback will often be conducted in person if you have a store/premises that customers visit, or over the phone if customers do not visit your business.
In-store Feedback Terminals
A really effective way of capturing a quick piece of feedback from customers that are in your store/building premises is to install a feedback terminal such as the ones developed by OMBEA. This allows you to ask your customers a quick question that they will respond to by using a smiley face button. These types of customer survey tend to get better response rates because they stand out visually in store, especially when positioned when customers are about to exit the store or after they have just paid at the checkout.
The other reason they get high response rates is due to the fact that they are so quick to complete, with a simple press of a button. You can get instant data to show patterns in feedback and identify whether there is an issue that needs to be resolved.
Sending online surveys by email or during a Live Chat conversation is another way you can capture really good quality of customer feedback. You can use tools like the Link Stream (available through the OMBEA Insights platform) to ask a set of questions and export the data easily. There are lots of variations of survey questions you can ask, such as multiple choice, yes/no questions, or open questions asking for customers to write in a text field to provide feedback about the specific areas you want to get more insight about.
As well as sending the survey by email, you could have a feedback form link on your website or send out by text message for customers to be directed to the online feedback form. You have to be careful not to ask too many questions, as if your online surveys are really time consuming, customers will get bored and not complete them, so make sure you get the balance of asking enough questions to get the right data without them taking too long to answer.
Telephone Conversation Recordings
A customer can often provide a lot of feedback when they call up to make an enquiry but unless the call is analysed, this information is not used, as the call advisor moves onto the next call without passing the information on. Calls are recorded for quality and training purposes and analysing calls come under the ‘quality’ category. This type of customer feedback collation is another one that is more time consuming, requiring people to listen through calls to record key data.
Asking the Right Questions
The best way to get high quality feedback is knowing which questions to use and also gauging what channels your customers will be most likely to use to provide you with feedback. If your customer demographics show a younger age range, then you are likely to get more success with social media and other online methods of collating feedback. Customers in older age groups might prefer to use more traditional methods, or at least be given the option of different feedback methods.
The types of questions that get a lot of good quality feedback include ones like:
• Would you recommend our company and why?
• What can we do to improve our product/service?
• How satisfied are you with your purchase? (rate 0-10)
• Describe how you feel about our company
• Would you like to provide us with any further feedback?
• How was your recent experience with our company?
• Would you use our product/service again and why?
If you find that one type of the VoC channel isn’t working very well then you can adapt the way you use it or try a different method instead. Asking your customers what their preferred method of communication is from you will give you a good indication of whether they will respond better to email, text or a phone call.
Having good VoC feedback tools in place will ensure that you have the right data to make the the improvements and adaptations that will drive greater success for your business. By using the feedback to continually develop and introduce better ways of meeting customer expectations, VoC is a very powerful methodology.
How many of the different methods you choose to employ in your business depends on a number of factors including the resources in terms of personnel who can work with the feedback and also the budget you have to spend on different feedback tools. The setup of your business and how you interact with customers will also influence which method(s) you use. For example, in-store feedback terminals are ideal for when the majority of your business is through customers visiting your store/premises. However, if your main interaction with customers is over the telephone, then a survey at the end of the call may be the better way to get high response rates.
The best way to improve the quality and quantity of customer feedback is to work out which channels will work the best for your specific business and have the right customer experience analysis framework in place, supported by all other areas of the business.