Best Practices for Closing the Loop on Customer Feedback

By: Lisa Sigler

September 3, 2015

Tags:
customer experience
Customer Feedback

Closing the loop on your customer feedback certainly doesn’t get any less important as your company grows, but it does become trickier.  The average enterprise has more than 25 different sources of customer feedback to monitor and analyze, including email, social media, CRM systems, call center recordings and more—so how do you manage to address the concerns of each individual customer? How do you manage closed-loop communication when you’re a large enterprise?

  • Triage: Some feedback needs to be addressed instantly and individually—like safety issues, legal threats, and potential churn. Use your customer analytics and social engagement solutions like CX Engagor to alert you when these topics arise in your feedback so you can address them specifically with the customer.
  • Acknowledge: Make sure you take a moment to thank the customers who give you feedback.
  • Act: Do something with the feedback you get! Make improvements, clarify procedures, update your policies, whatever is appropriate— but do not ignore the feedback you get from your customers.
  • Inform: Let people know what you’ve done (or will be doing) with their feedback. If you are dealing with an individual problem that requires an individual response, this communication should be through the same channel that the customer used to reach out to you (unless they’ve indicated otherwise).

On the other hand, if you are addressing the results of a survey or a major new initiative based on aggregated omni-source feedback, tell everybody! Post about it through your social channels, on your website, or in your customer forums. Issue a press release. But however you decide to go public with the news, acknowledge that you are acting in response to the customer feedback you’ve received. That way your customers understand how valuable they are to your processes.

Here are some tips for your communications:

Be proactive—Reach out as soon as you can. If you know about a problem before complaints start rolling in, let customers know ahead of time. Certainly don’t drag your feet in replying to a call, email, or tweet: now that 72% of consumers complaining to brands over social media expect a reply within an hour, being timely is critical to retaining their loyalty and not further damaging your relationship.

Be personal—Canned responses and auto-replies are great for acknowledging that someone has sent you a message or finished a customer survey, but they do not have the impact of a personalized note or call from a real person in your company. The Temkin Group reports that companies that deliver a very good response after delivering a bad customer experience have 41% fewer consumers cutting back on their spending. In fact, those good responses lead to 31% of customers increasing their spending. That personal touch is often what characterizes a “very good” response.

Be apologetic—If your company messed up, take responsibility.  Even if the problem isn’t your fault, putting your customer on the defensive is a bad way to gain loyalty. Find ways to show empathy for the customer, even in difficult circumstances.

Be appreciative—By sharing their thoughts and their feelings with you, your customers are giving you a treasure in market research. You have the opportunity to satisfy your customers and keep them from churning. You can get insights into what current customers like, which can inform what you do going forward to retain them and attract new customers, too. You have the data, so use it in the right way—to improve the customer experience and make your customers happy.

 

Closing the loop is important, but how do you “open the loop”? Asking customers for their feedback through surveys is one way to get the conversation started. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Survey Success.

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Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis. 

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