Numbers are key in business. They give you information about how you are performing and can be used as a benchmark to see how you stack up against competitors. But apart from the KPIs, financial ratios, metrics, etc., how are you keeping up with your customer feedback?
At UserVitals, we’re presenting the concept of a customer feedback loop, and we’ll be sharing details about the process, including effective methods to close off your own feedback loop.
A customer feedback loop is a framework for building upon insights on how customers are using your product. It is a process that draws on feedback from your customers and employees to create a better product. It helps you identify how well your product resolves your customer’s experience, pain points, what could be improved, etc.
There are several methods you can employ to gather customer feedback, which we have discussed in a separate article linked here.
Why Should You Use Customer Feedback Loops?
A strong feedback loop can benefit your business in many ways. These are just some of them:
Supplement product and market research
Are you building the appropriate products and adding on the ideal features for your customers? Direct feedback from your customers can help product managers set the right roadmap priorities and craft targeted product strategies. It also aids in understanding your customers’ needs, which will result in the company team designing more suitable products.
Support decisions with adequate data
Customer feedback loops help you obtain actionable insights from your feedback data. With UserVitals, you can gather all your feedback onto one centralized, easy-to-understand dashboard. This data can be used to support product innovation processes and validate existing product strategies.
Identify new opportunities
What are some new or emerging industry trends that have growth potential? When you scour through social media, forums, and other platforms to monitor and analyze what others are saying about your brand, it also helps with your competitive and market research.
Improve customer retention
Did you know that attracting a new customer is 6–7 times more expensive than retaining a current one? Customer feedback loops can help to identify what customers are satisfied with and which areas require further improvements. Automating feedback management shortens your response rates whenever a customer has an issue, so no customer queries are ever left out.
Gauge customer satisfaction levels
According to Harris Interactive, 89% of consumers switch over to competitors following a poor customer experience. As such, obtaining regular feedback from your customers is a great way to find out how satisfied your customers are with your products and services.
Customer Feedback Loop Process:
Step 1: Gather the right customer feedback.
What kinds of feedback should you be collecting? We have a separate article detailing the types of user feedback and how you can go about collecting them to meet your objectives. A good practice is to gather feedback regarding trends, service, and product issues. You also need to identify the source of feedback and the context in which it was given.
For instance, unsolicited product reviews tend to be more critical than feedback garnered from satisfied loyal customers. Certain negative feedback may not be useful if they’re complaining about a feature that your tool can’t feature. Qualitative feedback can help you identify important behavioral insights surrounding how customers use your product.
Once you understand the various feedback and collect and respective sources, you will create a benchmark, which needs to be continuously monitored at fixed intervals and on a regular basis to discover overall trends.
Some questions you want to answer at this stage include:
- How satisfied are your consumers with your service team’s performance?
- Are we delivering quality products & services?
- How much value are my customers receiving?
- Can my customers accomplish their goals with the company’s product/service?
Step 2: Summarize and analyze the feedback collected.
Now that you’ve obtained tons of customer data and feedback, you need to determine a system of categorizing and sorting the information. Not to worry . . . because with UserVitals, we help you save time by collecting, organizing, and filtering all of your feedback on the same platform.
One suggestion for categorizing your feedback is to separate the responses into product feedback, customer & service feedback, and marketing & sales feedback. With these macro-categories, it will be easier to sort through the feedback you’ve received. If you prefer breaking them down into subcategories, here are some suggestions:
- Product feedback — Product bugs, feature requests.
- Customer & service feedback — Service quality, customer success, queries, etc.
- Marketing & sales feedback — Dissatisfied customers, subscription-related issues, etc.
Sieve out the recurring issues and prioritize them according to frequency and severity. Once these issues have been listed, it is easier to draw conclusions and come up with ways to fix them.
Step 3: Take action and make improvements according to the feedback received.
After categorizing your product feedback, it’s time to make improvements and implement the changes. Starting with the most critical issue should be your first priority. Other small feature enhancements or bug fixes can be dealt with simultaneously if you have adequate resources.
Inform your customers about the changes made to existing products through your newsletters, social media channels, etc. Once they are aware of the product fixes and new features, they’ll try them out and, in return, present you with another round of updated feedback.
Step 4: Follow up with customers who provided feedback.
According to Forrester, 66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a good online customer experience.
It is important to let users know that their feedback was taken into consideration during the product development process. This will motivate and incentivize them to continue providing useful feedback. Unappreciated customers will negatively impact your company’s bottom line, as you won’t receive any feedback.
Routine follow-ups with your customers are also key to building trust. Many companies neglect the closing of their customer feedback loops, which leads to customer dissatisfaction and exodus. How should we effectively close the feedback loop?
Step 5: Close the loop by building a knowledge base.
Document important takeaways from the four previous steps, and understand how to better identify, analyze, and categorize user feedback. A customer feedback loop should work toward improving how you understand this feedback, equipping you to better analyze incoming feedback and pinpoint how it can benefit your overall business processes.
Other teams, including your marketing and sales teams, must have access to this knowledge base in order to improve upon respective procedures. As such, the customer feedback loop should also work toward improving your overall processes and prevent silos from happening.
Effective Methods to Close Your Customer Feedback Loop:
Set expectations and remove internal bottlenecks.
Reassure your customers to make them feel confident that their feedback is tracked and will be reviewed by the product team. Set realistic expectations when collecting feedback, as doing so amounts to a long-term investment. They are useful throughout the product life cycle—and not just for new products.
Share all product feedback received across the organization.
Document all communication with users, and ensure that they are not receiving duplicate or conflicting messages. This is more commonly seen in larger companies with employees from various teams reaching out to customers, which can result in overlaps and miscommunications.
Make it easy for customers to reach out to you and provide feedback.
A portion of your users may decide to proactively send you feedback on features they loved, inconvenient experiences, etc. Keep your feedback channels open! Make your feedback buttons and links visible, placed in obvious locations where users can’t miss them. When feedback can be submitted easily, users are more likely to provide it.
Engage users in conversations and convert them into ongoing feedback resources.
There are many ways to reach out and engage users. For starters, you can thank them for their support and past feedback. After doing so, you can ask them if the new feature improvements or product(s) made a difference to them before concluding with a polite statement inviting them to continue contributing feedback.
Of course, you can include any other open-ended questions or inquire about specific topics such as trends, preferences, etc. Responding to a request or complaint—or proactively starting a new conversation with users—allows you to turn clients into resources for continuous feedback.
It’s alright to say no.
There is no need to accept every user request. As the product manager, you are the best-informed about product strategy and should always align product development with the strategy. Product managers need to understand and accept that not every idea is a good fit for the product, no matter how many users might be pleased.
It would be great if you could explain to users why this particular suggestion was not adopted. This promotes your company as being transparent. Most customers will understand that it’s not possible for your product to be everything and to satisfy everyone.
Tackle your low response rate issue. Feedback is important for growth!
If no one is responding to your customer feedback surveys, you need to find out why. Don’t just assume users are lazy or unengaged. If one kind of customer survey receives a poor turnover, try others. Experiment with alternate formatting, placement, timing, and modes of delivery. Always keep your surveys simple, short, and easy to access.
Build your customer feedback loop with UserVitals!
Customers nowadays have higher expectations for companies when it comes to customer service and quality. A well-integrated and maintained customer feedback loop can be what sets you apart from your competitors. With valuable insights into customer needs and wants, you can enhance existing products and better appeal to your target audience.