Customer feedback is essential for any business. It can help you improve your products and services, and it can help you understand what your customers want and need.
Suppose you’re not managing it effectively. In that case, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to improve your business and satisfy your customers.
My name is Kate, and in this article, I share with you my 9 proven steps for managing customer feedback to help you understand what your customers want and need.
What Is Customer Feedback Management?
Customer Feedback Management is collecting, analyzing, and responding to customer feedback to improve your products and services.
Why Is Customer Feedback Management Important?
Collecting customer feedback regularly is crucial so you can identify any issues early and prevent them from becoming bigger problems.
Analyzing customer feedback will help you understand what your customers think and feel, so you can make changes to improve their experience.
And finally, responding to customer feedback shows your customers that you care about their experience and that you’re taking action to improve it.
Step-by-Step Instructions For Managing Customer Feedback Effectively
These are the 9 steps you should follow to manage customer feedback and increase customer satisfaction. I’ve spent 15+ years working for large enterprises, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I made.
1. Map Out The Customer Journey
Gather subject matter experts from the main departments at your company that impact your customers’ experience or product development.
Some examples of departments you may want to include are product teams, customer service, customer success, billing, marketing, supply chain, etc.
Once you have a list of all the subject matter experts per department, invite them to a workshop to map out the customer journey.
The customer journey is the sum of all the touchpoints a customer has with your company, from the first time they learn about you until they become lifelong fans.
At each stage of the customer journey, there are certain actions or events that can trigger a need for feedback.
Make sure you clearly identify those trigger events because you will use them in the next step.
2. Answer The Question: What Are We Trying To Achieve?
The second step is to define your organization’s goals, which will set the correct foundation for the rest of the following steps.
In a follow-up workshop or in the same one from the previous step, use the customer journey map to determine what you want to focus on.
Are you trying to comprehensively understand how your customers interact with your products or services? Or are you trying to gather feedback about a specific issue?
Your answer to this question will determine what type of feedback you collect and how you analyze it.
If you’re unsure about your goals, take a step back and consider the bigger picture.
Are you trying to improve customer satisfaction? Increase sales? Reduce customer churn?
Once you have a goal in mind, you can move on to the next step.
3. Define The Metrics
The third step in the customer feedback management process is to define the metrics that you will track.
I’ve learned that you cannot improve what you don’t measure. So, it’s necessary to track the metrics you decide to focus on.
For example, three common customer feedback metrics you could use are:
CES or Customer Effort Score
It is used to measure how simple or challenging it is for your customers to get the help they need.
CSAT or Customer Satisfaction Score
It’s for obtaining information on any aspect of the client experience that you’d want to know more about.
NPS or Net Promoter Score
It shows how pleased customers are with your company and their likelihood of recommending you to others.
Ensure you align the objectives from step two with the metrics you’ll track.
4. Set Up A System For Collecting Customer Feedback
The fourth step is to set up a system for collecting customer feedback. Again, there are many different ways to do this, but choosing a method that will work for your business is essential.
There are two main customer feedback types: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative feedback is customer numerical data you can analyze to reveal trends and patterns. Qualitative feedback is customer non-numerical data you can use to understand customer emotions and experiences.
The best way to collect customer feedback depends on your business goals. For example, if you’re trying to improve a specific product or service, you’ll want to collect quantitative data.
Suppose you’re trying to understand your customers’ needs and wants. In that case, you’ll want to collect qualitative data to understand how they feel.
There are many different ways to collect customer feedback, but here are a few of my favorite methods:
You can use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, or Google Forms to create and send surveys to your customers.
Focus groups are a great way to collect qualitative data. Their main benefit is that you can bring together a group of customers and have them discuss their experiences with your product or service.
Customer service feedback
You can collect customer feedback from existing customers during customer service interactions, such as phone calls, emails, and live chat sessions.
Customer service feedback is also known as “indirect feedback” or “unsolicited feedback” because the company didn’t reach out to the customer to collect feedback.
Instead, the customer reached out to the business to raise issues, concerns, or even feature requests. You can easily capture customer input with a system integrated with your customer service system.
You can use usability tests to see how customers interact with your product or service.
The way usability testing works is you give customers tasks to complete using your product or service. Then, you watch and listen to see how they interact with it.
This type of feedback is usually qualitative, but you can also track quantitative data, such as task completion rates and error rates.
I’ve been on both ends of this process: as the business asking customers to test our products and services and as the person testing companies’ products, so they can improve them.
You can collect customer feedback from online reviews on Google, Yelp, and Amazon.
4. Define Who Will Gather Customer Feedback
Step four establishes who will be responsible for the customer feedback management process.
This step is important because customer feedback can come in from many different sources, and it can be challenging to keep track of everything without a dedicated team or individual.
The best way to manage customer feedback is to have a dedicated team or individual responsible for collecting, analyzing, and responding to customer feedback.
This person or team should be able to track all of the different sources of customer feedback and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Suppose you don’t have the resources to dedicate a team or individual to the customer feedback management process. In that case, you can assign this responsibility to someone on your customer service team.
Just ensure that they have the time and resources they need to do the job effectively. As a manager or leader, you must not overload your team with work.
5. Analyze Data
Now that you’ve collected customer feedback, it’s time to analyze it and use it to improve your business.
The software you use to collect feedback will determine how easy and fast it’ll be to analyze it. Remember that your time is better spent taking action on customer feedback.
Here are a few tips for analyzing customer feedback:
Look for patterns and trends.
When you’re looking at customer feedback, try to identify any patterns or trends. This can help you pinpoint areas of your business that need improvement.
For example, suppose you’re seeing a lot of negative feedback about your software user interface. In that case, you know that this is an area you need to improve.
Make sure you understand the root cause.
It’s essential to ensure that you understand the root cause of any issues raised in customer feedback.
Three tools I’ve used multiple times in my career to find the root cause of a problem include the 5 Whys, the Pareto chart, and the Fishbone diagram. If you’re unfamiliar with these tools, I highly recommend you check them out.
Look for actionable items.
When analyzing customer feedback, try to identify areas where you can take action to improve your business.
For instance, if you notice many customers complaining about your customer service, you might consider training your team to handle difficult customer service interactions.
Make sure you set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals based on customer feedback is essential when trying to improve your business.
If you’re trying to improve your customer service, don’t try to fix everything at once. Instead, start with one specific area and then move on to others.
Trying to fix everything at once will likely overwhelm your team and lead to little or no progress.
6. Define The Solutions
Define the solutions to the issues or areas for improvement that you will tackle.
Again, do this exercise with the same subject matter experts that participated in the workshops described in the previous steps.
The main reason is that they’ll be able to raise any obstacles or risks to implement any of the brainstormed solutions.
I’ve seen leaders make the mistake of trying to implement solutions that will disrupt the company’s operations or that some departments of the organization cannot support.
After you’ve worked with the subject matter experts to define the solutions, present them to the senior leadership team representing each department.
Ensure you get a green light from them to move on to the next step.
7. Take Action On The Feedback
Now that you have the approval of the senior leadership team on which solutions to implement and how to go about it, it’s time to take action.
First, you’ll need to assign tasks and create a timeline for each task. I recommend using project management software to help with this process.
The project manager’s responsibility is to ensure that each task is completed on time and that the results meet or exceed expectations.
8. Optimize The Customer Feedback Management Process
This includes ensuring that you’re using the right tools and methods for collecting and analyzing customer feedback and constantly looking for ways to improve the process.
You can use several different tools and methods to manage customer feedback effectively.
I’ve found that combining surveys, customer interviews, usability tests, customer service interactions, focus groups, and social media monitoring works well. But you may find that something else works better for your business.
The important thing is to constantly look for ways to improve the process so you can get the most actionable insights from your customer feedback.
9. Develop An Employee Training Program
Businesses need to ensure that customer feedback is used to benefit customer loyalty and satisfaction.
I suggest developing an employee training program that covers customer feedback and shares customer success stories.
This program can help customer-facing employees feel more connected to the customer base. But, at the same time, it can also help non-customer-facing employees understand the importance of their role in supporting customer success.
It also helps to build a customer-centric culture in an organization, which should be a goal for all businesses.
My Experience With The Customer Management Feedback Process
In my experience, collecting customer feedback and analyzing it aren’t complex tasks. But they could become problematic if you don’t have the proper customer feedback process, software, and strategy.
Many companies, including large enterprises, have inefficient systems that make it almost impossible to get customer feedback on time. I’ve seen this firsthand.
Another issue I’ve seen is that companies have multiple channels. Still, sometimes they forget about some of them and lose the opportunity to get a comprehensive view of their customers.
In my 15+ years of leadership experience at multi-billion dollar companies, I’ve seen how companies can benefit from customer feedback if they have the right process and software. So make sure you have the right customer feedback tool in place.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Customer Feedback Management Software?
Customer feedback Management Software is a tool that helps businesses collect, track, and analyze customer feedback. My two favorites are Typeform and SurveyMonkey.
You can use it to track customer feedback from multiple channels such as online surveys, social media, phone calls, and in-person interviews.
It can also help businesses to identify patterns in customer feedback, as well as measure the satisfaction of their customers.
What Is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer sentiment on a scale of -100 to 100.
A score of 0 means that the customer is neutral; a score of 50 means the customer is satisfied, and a score of 100 means the customer is very satisfied.
A negative score means the customer is unhappy. Use NPS to track customer satisfaction over time and identify areas for improvement.
Proactive vs. Reactive Customer Feedback
Proactive customer feedback is when businesses reach out to their customers and ask for feedback. You can do it through surveys, interviews, focus groups, or customer service interactions.
On the other hand, reactive customer feedback is when businesses wait for their customers to provide feedback. This can come from online reviews, social media comments, or support tickets.
How do you organize feedback from customers?
In my experience, organizing customer feedback shouldn’t be a difficult task unless you don’t have the proper process and customer feedback management software in place. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced the latter even at big companies.
You won’t have to spend much time organizing the data if you have the right system.
If this is not your case, and you need a more manual approach, these are the steps I suggest you follow to organize feedback from customers:
1. Collect feedback from multiple channels in a single place.
Remember, you don’t want to have this data everywhere. You should strive for having one single source of truth.
2. Identify patterns in customer feedback.
Identifying patterns means you’ll be able to see the big picture and find areas for improvement more quickly.
3. Create a Pareto chart.
After categorizing the customer feedback you collected, creating a Pareto chart aims to identify the most critical areas and visualize them with a graph. This will help you prioritize what to work on.
Now that you learned how to manage customer feedback effectively, it’s time to take action and implement these steps in your business.
Remember, customer feedback management is vital to running a successful business.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you’re making the most of customer feedback and using it to support your business growth.
If you need help getting started, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to chat with you about your specific needs and offer advice on how to get the most out of customer feedback.