Few things are more important than getting feedback directly from your customers. Those who feel too busy or seek to avoid it lose out on knowing exactly what is stopping them from bringing their current customers back or finding new ones. This includes problems with the product, or potential improvements that could lead to increased revenue. It takes time and effort to listen and institute these changes and unfortunately some companies get left behind by not investing in the resources to respond, track and act upon. Feedback comes in many channels: phone, email, social media, in-person or through a feedback platform like IdeaLab. There are many tools and processes that can help make feedback more manageable: the use of an NPS system, idea management systems, regular surveys, focus groups and strong engagement on social media are some of the most common. Let’s take a look at these one by one.
Net Promoter Score:
NPS is a simple metric survey that allows you to gauge how satisfied and how enthusiastic your customers are with you. While it lacks the detail to drill down into more qualitative measurements, it can be predictive of the success of your company. In the Net Promoter system people rate the likelihood of recommending you or your product on a scale from 0 to 10. Those people who rate your company a 9 or 10 are critically important to your success, these are your brand ambassadors. Studies show that these ambassadors make up as much as 80% of your referrals and are much more likely to return to purchase multiple times. Setting up an NPS system will allow you to monitor and set goals to increase your rating. Businesses that have started using net promoter score have seen as much as a 25% increase in revenue.
Social media is an excellent tool for connecting with customers and getting their feedback. The traditional social model was simply posting brand or product oriented updates out to the many followers but the model used by the most successful names in business is that of engagement. You should actively ask questions to your audience, read the comments and engage. Social Media agents are voice of the customer and should also be in a dialogue as opposed to standing on a hill with a megaphone. Not only will you learn more but your fans will love you more and can be a great way to multiply your brand ambassadors. If you want the pulse of your customers in your new products process, include the social media team in your decisions.
Most of your customer engagement comes through sales and support agents and it’s these people who should be gathering information and making sure to share it upwards. This can be through meetings, spreadsheets or through an idea system. Customers should feel empathy for their problems and appreciation for their ideas. Make sure there is a way to track what they are hearing from customers and that this data is actively being used to drive improvement decisions.
The idea behind open innovation is allowing everyone a voice in the process and it’s an essential aspect for any company wanting to be able to move quickly with market tastes in the 21st century. With open innovation customers are actively involved in ideas for new products or improving existing ones. Organizations that refuse to allow outside input or engage with customers may quickly find themselves behind the curve. If you want to encourage customer feedback it’s important to have a place where customers know they can turn to.
These are the tried and true method of getting a group of either potential customers or current customers together and getting their thoughts on products. They can be completely isolated or entirely informal depending on the need. The goal is always the same which is to create an open atmosphere where people can share their thoughts and feelings. Focus groups allow qualitative data to be shared which is very important to understanding what is actually going on in the customers’ mind.
Online survey systems like SurveyGizmo or SurveyMonkey allow you to do in-depth surveys that drill-down deeper into the details. These folks can be enticed with a prize to help encourage participation which is almost always necessary for any ask that is greater than a single question.
Return on Investment:
By listening and engaging the feedback of your customers you have the opportunity to decrease customer churn. These are the customers who you’ve already got to purchase from you at least once. Reducing customer churn by just 5% can increase profits from 25%-125%. In fact Gartner found that 80% of an average companies revenue will come from just 20% of existing customers. In order to do reduce churn you need to find out what the objections are to purchasing from you again, what did they think of the service, product and experience? What ideas do the customers have for improving each?
“It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.” -Gartner
The most important element in customer feedback is that instead of just waiting for them to give it to you, you should ask and thank them for it. Let customers know that their feedback is really important to you and that you take the time to act on it.