5 Tips for Transforming B2B Customer Feedback into Action

By: Guest Blogger

November 4, 2015

Guest blogger Kim Zieroth is the Senior Customer Loyalty Manager, Analytics, for GE Healthcare.

“We wouldn’t have found this with our traditional market research.”

This is exactly the kind of thing I love to hear in my role leading the Customer Insights program for GE Healthcare. When a global product manager said those words to me recently, she meant that she would not normally have been aware of the customer feedback insights my team had provided if we were still using traditional market research alone.  She was able to take immediate action to improve one of the product features based on the customer insights we had found.

This didn’t happen overnight. Our current partnership with our product engineering and quality teams is the result of several years of work—but the results are definitely worth the time it has taken to reach this point. If you are just starting your customer experience journey, or if you are struggling to build a connection between insights and actions, here are five best practices we’ve discovered that might help:

Gather Multi-Source Feedback. There are at least two sides to every story—so you shouldn’t rely on just one source of customer feedback if you want to really understand what’s going on with your business. Collecting and using data from different sources gives you a more complete view. For example, to get customer-driven product suggestions, we collect conduct customer surveys. We look at service records to learn more about product pain points. CRM notes tell us about product strengths and weaknesses from our Sales department’s point of view, while notes from our Training department reveal problems with our customers’ ability to use the products. All of these different perspectives are valuable when we are making product recommendations to our product engineers.

Speak in Their Terms. All the insights in the world are not going to help your engineers build better products if you can’t communicate with them. You need to build credibility with the teams you hope will embrace customer feedback by understanding their challenges and using the terminology that they use.  It’s also helpful to “speak engineer” when explaining your methodology to them; for me, being able to explain the algorithms and analytics techniques within the Clarabridge platform helped our engineers to trust that the insights we were communicating to them were valid and reliable.

Fit into Their Process. When you tell your colleagues about your insights is just as important as what you tell them. Make sure you understand their work cycles. When we are dealing with our product engineers, our insights need to arrive in time for the project team to evaluate what we’ve discovered and then build in the time and budget to make the changes we have suggested. Otherwise, I am making it difficult for them to take action

Stay on the Radar. Peer pressure can be an effective tool in getting other groups to embrace customer insights—especially if that pressure is less “peer” and more “executive.” Make sure your program is as visible as possible, and enlist as much executive support as you can. We keep our customer insights message front and center by hosting lunch & learns within the company to present the insights we’ve found and the wins we’ve had by acting on them. We celebrate the actions our colleagues in other groups have taken using our data. We are also constantly engaged in educating execs across the business with what we are doing, and we have even established an internal website for our employees to access. Visibility is key.

Make the Process Easy. Other groups are more likely to use customer insights if you make it super easy for them. So, in addition to the reports that we deliver regularly, we have also set up an easy-to-use system that allows our colleagues to request a specific kind of analysis, and for us to respond quickly. We also use the system for tracking so that we know what kinds of ad hoc requests we are getting, who needs what, and what results we get so that we can adjust our ways of working to better support other groups. And, of course, we listen to their feedback, too!

Developing a mature program that turns customer feedback into concrete actions is not simple. It takes time, patience, communication, and the right tools. But if you take these tips to heart, you can build a strong partnership with the groups that can turn the data you are analyzing into product and service improvements that impact customer loyalty and revenue. It’s definitely worth the effort.

For more from Kim Zieroth about how Clarabridge supports the GE Healthcare customer insights program, watch this video.