The challenge for any company is to retain and increase customers with the resulting effect being increased profits and market share. Conventional wisdom is that the key for any business growth is the purview of sales and marketing but often forgotten in the conversation is the importance of customer feedback. Customer feedback is often relegated as a term solely used by the customer service team. For many businesses customer feedback is often an under-utilised tool that can be used to improve your product or service and develop new service and product streams. Leading marketer Barnaby Wynter revealed new research that showed that 85% of customers perceived the value of a product based on service quality and ease of doing business, so ensuring that your customer service operation is performing optimally is a key parameter for success in todays changing business environment.
In many instances approaches to customer feedback are dependent on the maturity of the business. It is often the case that if you are an established company, you will probably have some form of a survey tool that allows you collect and measure customer feedback. In the case of being a relatively new business or a fresh start up with one or a couple of customers, chances are you don’t rely on a feedback tool and speak directly to customers. But as you grow you will more than likely need to purchase your first survey tool and start thinking about measuring customer feedback. The challenge is ensuring that as a new business you are following best practices in customer feedback. In the instance that you are an established business with existing customer feedback systems you want to ensure that you are improving your systems and making the most from your customer feedback. If you get customer feedback right, it can become the hidden gem to improving customer loyalty and increasing profits for the business through word of mouth sales.
How do you measure?
The most basic challenge is gathering feedback from your customers. In most of the cases you are going to be using a survey. For most companies they will search for the best survey tool on the market that is suitable for their business. In many instances the choice of a survey tool is based on price and based on an assessment of your internal systems. Many companies get bogged down in just finding a survey tool that they sometimes lose sight of what exactly they trying to achieve with the survey tool.
If you are following the industry standard, then you will probably be looking at either following CSAT or NPS. There are merits for following both systems but in our experience there are certain things that companies need to bear in mind when setting up customer surveys. There are always a range of questions that you can choose to ask your customers but we find that there are two questions that you need to ask customers. The two questions that you need to measure are; will your customers stay with you and are they promoting your business. The third question that you need to ask is why? In our experience working with companies such as Cigna, WorldRemit, Paysafe, Gohenry that these questions are the key ones to ask customers. We also found that asking too many questions can turn people off from filling out your surveys, so we have found that having 3 questions is a good barometer. While you may want to ask your customers about different aspects of their customer experience, its important to focus on getting a high response rate. A large sample size ensures that you are able to get a fair picture of how your customers are responding to your business. As a general rule don’t ask questions that you already know in your CRM system.
The next thing to think about in conducting customer surveys is ensuring that it is linked with your CRM system. Many surveys can be integrated with your CRM, but it is key to ensure that any survey tool lives inside your CRM system so that you connect the results with key business metrics. If your survey tool lives within your CRM system you can start to connect customer satisfaction to business metrics such as word of mouth sales. Then there is the issue of how to collect and analyse the free text feedback that you receive from your customers. In a small company you can probably get an employee to read all the free text but in a bigger organisation it starts to get more complicated. It is at this point that you need to start investing in the latest latest generation of survey tools that use artificial intelligence to automatically categorise customer feedback and distributes the results them to the team.
Making the voice of the customer part of the team
Now that you have collected your customer feedback and you have a basic understanding of what your customers are saying about your business, the next step is to do something with that information. This is where the distribution of information to members of your team is important. The mistake that many companies make is that they gather customer feedback but either keep that feedback to one person, or department or they take ages getting that feedback to the members of the team. In some instances we have seen cases where customer feedback is only distributed after 6 months to a year! That’s way too long if you’re a business that is seeking to make moves in the marketplace.
Companies need to ensure that customer feedback is relayed to the entire team and not just relayed to one team or one person in the business. It is important that the voice of the customer is heard in all areas of the business. The voice of the customer needs to be in the company. Think of the voice of the customer as your new team member. Therefore it’s important that you don’t wait 6 months to a year to get customer feedback. Companies that are able to deliver real time customer feedback and distribute it to the entire business will be quicker to react to the ever-changing business environment. In an ideal scenario, once a survey is completed everybody needs to be notified. In fact it was the need to create this ideal scenario that led to us developing the In-gage Salesforce contact centre app. In our all customer feedback can be distributed in real time to all members of the team and even connected to other business metrics in your salesforce system.
Improvement – 25% increase in NPS
The main benefit that you get when you have real time customer feedback relayed to the team is that it will lead to instant improvement. When employees are able to see what customers are saying both positive and negative that leads to a big change of behaviour in the business.
If customers are complaining about a particular issue then you can start to rectify those issues immediately. The reverse is also true, if customers are happy about the service they have received and this is relayed to the team this will lead to a massive increase in staff morale. As a business you want to be able to respond to customer needs and at the same time boost employee engagement.
It is also important that customer feedback is linked to your coaching and training programs. If you are aware of the main concerns of your customers you can train and coach your customer service teams in the adequately. The power of realtime feedback is so immense that it will lead to change even without a coaching program in place! The ability of team members to see actual feedback from customers will prompt change. People will self improve in response to the visibility itself. One of our clients World Remit saw a 25% increase in their net promoter score (NPS) after they installed our app and started to receive real time customer feedback.
Impact – £500k in additional profit
If you can make the customer, the central plank of all decision making processes in real time it starts to have a massive impact on your organisation’s bottom line. In our experience we have seen service organisations become epicentres of growth in their businesses because they understand the pulse of the customer. The reason is simple, when you are able to change the behaviour of your team this will have a direct impact on the customer. The frontline service team often has the most interactions with customers, in many instances more than your sales or marketing department.
In our experience we have seen companies experience 20% improvement in customer loyalty as a result of real time customer feedback and the behaviour change that comes as a result. Just imagine that an extra 20% of your customer base is now repeat purchasing after touching the service team, this is worth millions in revenue for your company. One of our customers GoHenry was able to make £500k in additional profit because of loyalty and word of mouth sales after installing our app.
Bringing it all together: Speed of Evolution
The next thing to consider when thinking about customer feedback is the speed of evolution. The speed with which you are able to do measure, analyse, improve and impact the organisation will determine how fast you change your organisation. For many companies self improvement projects can take months and if you’re a big corporation it can take years before you start to see an impact.
In our experience the best time frame is to get this down to 3 – 6 months. If you can get within this time frame then your service team is on the way to being a hub for the business. So instead of your service team being cost it can start to be a key driving force of profit in the business.
At In-gage we created our Salesforce contact centre app with the purpose of proving the value of service. We wanted to show that customer service is an asset to businesses not just a cost centre by allowing our customers to show the ROI of customer service. But we also wanted to give customer service and contact centre teams the actionable insights that they need to improve their service operation. Our salesforce contact centre app measures, improves and increases the speed of evolution all within your salesforce environment to allow your customer service team to rapidly respond to customer feedback and increase sales for your business.