To deliver stellar customer experiences that make a positive impact on the bottom line, businesses must be able to effectively manage customer feedback. This is why a customer feedback system, along with related software products and solutions, have become essential tools for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.
In difficult times, it’s even more important than ever to check in and listen to the people that matter most to your business: your customers.
Let’s dive in and think about how a customer feedback system can benefit your business and supercharge your customer experience management strategy:
- What is a customer feedback system and how does it help businesses?
- What are the different types of customer feedback systems and tools?
- How do you collect feedback from customers?
- What qualities and characteristics should your business look for in a customer feedback system?
First, let’s walk you through exactly what “customer feedback” means in today’s business landscape.
What is Customer Feedback?
Using a traditional definition, customer feedback is any information that comes directly from your company’s customers. This information conveys these customers’ thoughts, feelings, satisfaction levels, or opinions about your product, service, or brand.
What are the types of customer feedback? Technology has expanded the ways in which feedback is generated, captured, and collected. Now, customers can share their unsolicited feedback using various platforms and channels, such as:
- Online reviews and ratings
- Social media comments
- Different types of customer satisfaction surveys
- Emails and phone calls
- Comment cards
- Focus group discussions
- Customer interviews and roundtables
- Usability tests
Why Your Business Needs a Customer Feedback System
A customer feedback system — which these days usually takes the form of a software product or application — helps businesses manage what customers are saying on multiple feedback platforms and channels, as well as gain data-driven insights essential to improving overall customer experience.
Customer feedback software and systems also help organizations (from the C-suite to the frontline) by enabling everyone on your team to understand customers better, more easily measure customer satisfaction, quickly learn how to build customer loyalty, and achieve true digital transformation.
Nearly half of all companies say improving customer experience and customer satisfaction were the leading influences to start a digital transformation.
What a Customer Feedback System Does
What are the tools used for customer feedback? While products vary, there are several key features found in most of today’s customer feedback systems and software applications.
- Social media listening and feedback monitoring and response
- Customer experience analytics
- Customer surveys and feedback collection
- Voice of the Customer (VoC) tools
- Review requests and review generation
- Multi-platform feedback system
Social Media Listening and Feedback Monitoring and Response
Customers often share their feedback even if the business hasn’t asked for it (unsolicited feedback). That’s why many customer feedback systems make the ability to monitor online reviews, social media comments, star ratings, and other forms of third-party feedback a key functional component.
Research shows that 86% of people will pay more for a great customer experience. Data sourced from your listening and monitoring efforts will be the building blocks to deliver better experiences.
A few customer feedback management tools also provide its business customers with the ability to respond to internal feedback (survey responses, first-party feedback, etc.) as well as external (reviews, social media comments, etc.) from within the application.
Customer Experience Analytics
Beyond data collection, customer feedback software can also offer analysis of data from customer feedback. Often, this is done with customer experience analytics.
This analytical technique brings customer feedback to life by enabling your business to connect the dots and find hidden trends and patterns from unstructured data and textual information. Often, this is made possible by advanced machine learning techniques and natural language processing technology. By doing so, teams are empowered to visualize the entire customer journey and provide a consistent customer experience.
Customer Surveys and Feedback Collection
A number of customer feedback systems are designed to capture feedback through survey creation and distribution. This answers the question, “How do you collect feedback from customers?”
Some systems offer the ability to sync survey requests with a business customer’s CRM (customer relationship management) application, so that new customers are automatically and immediately contacted for the survey.
The Net Promoter Scoring (NPS) methodology is one of the most common survey types utilized by customer feedback systems, but there are a growing number of systems that offer alternative methodologies, such as capturing feedback through the use of emojis, thumb ratings, and star ratings.
Voice of the Customer (VoC) Tools
A Voice of the Customer (VoC) tool or program helps your business reap the benefits of listening to, acting on, and responding to what customers are saying about your brand, product, service, or business location.
Often applied as a market research technique by firms looking to achieve a better and more complete understanding of the customer, VoC can also help companies measure and understand the experiences that they deliver to customers. Voice of the Customer tools have gained traction over the years and emerged as a core business strategy for a growing number of organizations.
Review Requests and Review Generation
With customer reviews and ratings exerting a huge influence on consumer behavior, many customer feedback software products offer review generation features. One example is the Ask Tool by online reputation management software ReviewTrackers.
This allows businesses to engage with and reach out to their biggest advocates and brand promoters so that they can generate more 5-star reviews and improve their presence and visibility on business review sites and across the Web.
Reviews aren’t just a source of reputational data. They are also a vital source of customer insight, allowing businesses to identify high-impact trends, issues, and patterns that affect the customer experience.
Multi-platform Feedback System
A growing number of systems that are designed to capture feedback are also banking on their ability to survey customers using multiple platforms: email, social media, SMS, unique landing pages, or point-of-sale and point-of-care devices (in-store kiosks, for example).
According to research, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers. By investing in a system that proactively captures feedback, your organization can meet evolving customer expectations and achieve customer-centricity.
Key Characteristics of a Good Customer Feedback System
As your business looks to invest in a customer feedback management system or application, consider the following qualities and characteristics:
Customer feedback systems vary in terms of their offering. Some are designed exclusively or mainly for surveying customers, while others focus on feedback monitoring or social media listening.
The best and most valuable systems are versatile and scalable, helping organizations manage, capture, and connect multiple types of customer feedback and data across all possible touchpoints, platforms, and channels.
In today’s digital landscape, customer feedback moves fast and in real time. Your customer feedback system should therefore be able to deliver the data that you need, and alert you of any high-impact customer experience issues, in the timeliest possible manner.
Customer feedback systems should empower and engage your entire organization. From marketing and customer support to product development and leadership, everyone has a stake in your business’s customer experience, which means that the system you choose should unite everyone around the goal of understanding customers better.
Customer feedback systems should be judged not only by the amount of data they collect, but also by the kind of insights they can generate about your customers.
While the selling point of some systems will be flashy dashboards, colorful data reporting, and robust data collection technology, the one you choose should help your business understand customer feedback and, from it, gather truly actionable insights.
Invest in a Customer Feedback System to Grow Your Brand
By making a strategic investment in the right customer feedback system and tapping into data provided directly by your customers, you can deliver greater experiences and successfully set yourself apart from the competition.