The Benefits of Closing the Customer Feedback Loop

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More than five years ago, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, Steve Cannon, was using his platform to talk about the value of the customer experience. By 2020, the customer experience is the very thing that’s expected to overtake price and product as the key differentiator between brands.

Why the shift? Consumers are better informed than ever before. They have greater expectations about what brands can do, and they want those expectations to be translated into positive experiences. It’s because of this increasingly important reality that businesses need to respond to what customers are saying — and respond the right way — to stay competitive.

Using Net Promoter System (NPS) Feedback Effectively

A lot of NPS customer surveys measure satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10, but it pays to look at more than just the number — take time to dive into the comments, too. A score of 1 shows that a customer has had a terrible experience, but it doesn’t explain why or how the experience was terrible. Only comments can reveal that crucial context and give your business the necessary information to address feedback and make amends.

In the end, customer feedback should always be acted on if it’s going to be truly helpful, especially when that feedback isn’t positive. A bad experience can be turned into something positive if you take the right action. More than that, engaging with criticism shows that your brand is willing to listen to customers and that it cares about their whole experience — not just the contents of their wallets.

Turning Detractors Into Promoters

Not all feedback can be treated the same. There are three types of customer segments when it comes to NPS surveys: promoters, detractors, and passives. The passives are the hardest to talk to and may need an extra incentive to respond to an NPS survey at all. Promoters and detractors, on the other hand, will be more motivated to respond, and how you handle their responses matters.

There are different ways to engage promoters and detractors once they respond to your NPS survey, and basic feedback management software helps do that based on the type of feedback you receive. Most promoter feedback will generate loyalty bonuses, like discount codes and product previews, whereas detractor feedback might open a support ticket for managers or frontline employees to follow up.

Note that it’s incredibly important to address feedback from detractors quickly. Public disparagement of a brand can be costly, so you always want to address and remedy any problems. Making sure to give the right response to detractors can turn them into promoters, though. If it’s a great response, those people who were once frustrated with your brand could even become referral partners and renew contracts to do business with you.

How do you craft this response? Opening a dialogue is one of the best places to begin. Customers want to know that their complaints are heard, and often what they have to say in those complaints can help your brand improve. While not every detractor is worth engaging with, a phone call or an email following up with those who have constructive criticism can demonstrate your willingness to address any problems.

The Importance of Closing the Feedback Loop

Closing the loop is a central element of the Net Promoter System. Here are just a few of the benefits this crucial, fruitful practice offers:

  • It makes customers feel valued.
  • It pinpoints the root causes of their satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
  • It boosts customer loyalty and retention.
  • It generates promoter reviews and referrals.
  • It improves the customer experience.
  • It opens the next loop.

Customer feedback should always be an ongoing process. Creating a dialogue sets expectations that customers’ feedback matters to you. As a result, they’ll be more understanding in future interactions.

While receiving a perfect 10 on all NPS survey questions would be great, lower scores also provide opportunities to learn and improve. Engage with the feedback you receive and turn more detractors into promoters.

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