manage customer feedback

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  • improved response rates with omni channel approach
  • feedback converted into reviews and testimonials – automatically
  • NPS, CSAT, CES

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You probably know that you should somehow “manage” customer feedback.

But what does that even mean? How does one manage feedback?

Read further to find out.

Importance of Customer Feedback Management

Customer Feedback Management (CFM) is the process of gathering feedback and using the information to improve customer experience.

The ultimate goal of gathering customer feedback is to improve the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.

To do that, you have to go through several steps. Collecting customer feedback is time wasted if you don’t use the insights for business development.

At this point, you will notice how important it is to manage customer feedback systematically.

When you execute CFM consistently and plan it well, you will notice the following benefits:

  • Better customer experience
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Less unhappy customers
  • Higher customer loyalty
  • Improved business growth
  • Overall better products and services that serve customers in the best way possible

This blog introduces different types of customer feedback, and 5 easy steps for managing customer feedback.

Types of Customer Feedback

There are many types of customer feedback that we don’t necessarily even realize as such.

Before we dive in, let’s discuss reactive and proactive feedback.

When we talk about customer feedback, we often think about feedback surveys or customer interviews. This is called proactive feedback, or direct feedback.

Proactive feedback means that you have specifically asked for feedback from customers.

However, you do get unsolicited feedback, too. The messages, requests, complaints, and other communication from the customer are called reactive feedback or indirect feedback.

You should never ignore reactive feedback! Unfortunately, that can easily happen.

That is one of the reasons why you need a feedback management system that takes into account all interactions with customers.

types of customer feedback

Now, we can move on to different types of customer feedback.

1. NPS

The net promoter score is a simple and widely used customer satisfaction metric.

You probably have encountered it as a customer countless times. It is the question that asks you how likely you would recommend a business to others, and which you answer on a scale from 0 to 10.

NPS is easy to use for the customer, and easy to interpret and track in the long run. No wonder it is so popular!

In case you need some more info about this metric, see our Definitive Guide to Net Promoter Score.

2. CSAT

Customer Satisfaction Score is a similar concept to NPS, but it operates on a scale from 1 to 5.

CSAT does not ask about willingness to recommend, but about the customer’s satisfaction level.

Many companies replace the numeric scale with emojis or verbal descriptions.

3. Reviews

Reviews are honest opinions of your customers. Thus, they make a great feedback tool.

They are less measurable than tools like NPS or CSAT unless you use star reviews. 

However, reviews often reveal something more about the customer experience and satisfaction compared to bare numerical ratings.

4. Feedback based on triggering events

We often receive feedback forms to our email, not necessarily even remembering who the sender is.

At least I can say that I don’t feel very motivated to answer one of those questions.

Thus, I encourage feedback based on triggering events. They are done in-app or on a website directly after an interaction.

The customer knows exactly what they are asked about, and you get to measure feedback regarding a specific customer touch point.

5. Interviews

Sometimes, companies opt for more in-depth customer interviews.

These interviews can help you

  • Recognize your ICP better
  • Learn about customer pain points
  • Get insights about the whole customer journey
  • Know your customers on a personal level

You can dive into the customer experience and see deeper meanings behind customer feedback.

Very few customers are willing to write lengthy messages about their experiences, wants, and expectations. Interviews let you dig into those conversations.

This type of feedback collection is great for a company that is just starting its journey.

6. Focus Groups

Conducting focus group interviews lets you scale up the amount of feedback compared to individual customer interviews.

In this option, you invite a few of your customers to talk about their experience in the company.

It’s a challenge to get your customers to participate in an event like this. Thus, you should offer some kind of incentive for the participants.

7. Usability Tests

Sometimes people aren’t even aware of some of their challenges. They might not be able to say if something needs improvement.

This can be the case with UX design, for example.

In addition to asking people what they think, follow their behavior.

Do usability testing like A/B or multivariate tests, check heatmaps, and follow metrics like click-through rate, open rate, bounce rate, and so on.

They will reveal things that your customers don’t even think about.

8. Complaints and Requests

Let’s move on to the reactive feedback methods.

Complaints and requests are often unsolicited, but they reveal valuable information.

If lots of customers complain about a certain product or feature, you have a clear sign that it is not working as it should.

On the other hand, if many customers request something new, take time to consider if you should make it happen.

You might receive complaints and requests from customers during meetings, or via email. In any case, remember to document them.

9. Support Chat Messages

When your customers contact the support team, something is going on.

Document the interactions with customers and support specialists to find out if the is reoccurring themes in the conversations. It might mean that something is not working well, or feels counterintuitive for the clients.

Even though it is easy to panic and immediately change something based on a customer complaint, keep your cool.

Remember to put things into perspective: are many customers struggling with the same issue, or is it only the case with this one customer?

10. Social Media Comments

Another form of unsolicited feedback is social media comments.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your social media reputation and check what people talk about you.

However, don’t forget that the internet is full of weirdness. If you get an occasional negative comment from a troll or a hater, don’t take it too seriously.

In any case, it’s good to respond to feedback on social media. Even if responding to negative comments does not affect this particular person, it signals to others that might be following the conversation that you provide excellent customer service and care about your customers. 

5 Steps in Managing Customer Feedback 

Seeing how many feedback channels there are, you need a good plan for managing all the feedback.

customer feedback quote

Here are five steps that you need to have in your feedback management system.

1. Setting Goals and Expectations

The first step is two-fold:

  1. Define what you want to accomplish with customer feedback management
  2. Explore the limitations of your campaigns in terms of resources

Find a balance between your goals and restrictions, and set realistic expectations for your efforts.

Goals

Make sure that the objectives of the feedback management process are aligned with your overall business goals.

For example, if one of the company OKRs is to increase your website’s conversion rate, you should execute a feedback campaign that aims to find out why people are not converting, and what would make them convert.

Some additional examples of potential objectives:

  • Increase your NPS result
  • Better customer satisfaction in a certain touch point
  • Find out why people choose your product over another company
  • Learn what kind of new features your customers request the most
  • Respond to each customer review
  • Get more responses to feedback surveys
  • And more

You can choose multiple goals. The most important thing is that you are learning what is good for your business and what is preventing it from evolving.

Attention! Even though you have certain goals (for example increasing NPS from 40 to 45), the number itself is not the key.

The number is just an indicator of a deeper objective: increasing customer satisfaction.

Someone might feel tempted to artificially tweak the results to make them look good. 

One could only ask for feedback from those customers who are known to be happy and give good scores. Or, one could avoid asking for feedback in situations that are known to be frustrating, and so on.

But if you do that, are you really working toward your ultimate goals?

A good NPS score will not earn you better business results. A great customer experience will. You need to measure the customer experience and not just strive for a certain number for the sake of it.

Keep this in mind when setting your goals and measuring your progress.

Resources and Limitations

Certain goals can be achieved with certain types of customer feedback. 

If you are looking to respond to each review, you need to allocate working time for it.

In case you want to organize a focus group interview, you need to allocate time for finding the relevant people, creating the outline of the interview, reserving meeting space, possibly getting something to eat and drink as a reward, and so on. You could even hire someone else to do the interview and organize the event.

My point is that some methods of collecting feedback are more cost-effective than others.

You need to create a budget for feedback management, just like for any other project or campaign.

You also need a clear plan and distribution of responsibilities.

Ask yourself these questions when planning a CFM program:

  • How much money and time to invest in it?
  • Who is responsible for the feedback management process?
  • What kind of knowledge and skills do we need to execute the process? How much of it is already in-house? Do we have to hire help?
  • Do we need to use and purchase special tools? (Pro tip: probably yes.)
  • Are we able to turn the data into an actionable strategy?
  • Are we motivated to implement changes based on the results?

2. Collecting Customer Feedback

Based on the goal and your resources, you choose the right method to collect customer feedback.

At this point, you need to plan the surveys and interviews, set up tests, and plan how you will collect and store all the indirect feedback that you get from multiple sources.

Feedback Surveys

Look back at the goals you set, and start planning the questions you need to ask.

See tips on customer feedback questions and persuasive feedback request messages that get you responses.

Don’t forget to plan the perfect timing for your feedback surveys!

Emails and SMS sent at a specific time of the day are bound to get ignored.

Additionally, you need to decide if you need trigger-based feedback and in-app feedback surveys, or if a regular email is enough.

Many software tools help you gather, store, and analyze customer feedback. Find a suitable solution for your business and ease your workload.

Interviews and Focus Groups

Things to figure out when doing interviews:

  • How to contact the interviewees?
  • Where to meet?
  • Who is responsible for the interviews?
  • What to ask?
  • How to facilitate a group meeting?
  • Should you offer something to drink and eat?
  • Should there be an additional reward for the participants?
  • How to make sure that the results are valid and the customers don’t feel peer pressure to say something they don’t mean?
  • How to document the interviews and/or the answers?
  • Who will conclude from the results and how?

Tests and Heatmaps

When your goal is to find out what works on your website, app, or marketing materials, customer feedback might not be the best or sufficient metric.

A better solution is to use different conversion optimization tools and get hard data on what truly works.

Test two versions of your email newsletter and see which one has a higher open rate or click-through rate.

Use heatmaps to find out how visitors behave on your website. When you see what they look at or click on, you can conclude what works.

Indirect Feedback

Make a plan for how to collect, store, and analyze unsolicited feedback.

  1. Compile a list of interactions that are considered feedback channels (support chat, emails, complaints, etc)
  2. Advise anyone who operates in these channels to keep their eyes open and mark down the feedback.
  3. Keep the comments somewhere you can easily access them and act on them.

For example, you can set up a Slack channel for comments from customers. Advise all salespeople, customer support agents, and other relevant colleagues to submit ideas to the channel.

Assign someone to be responsible for evaluating the comments. This person decides whether the feedback will be ignored or if it should be investigated more closely.

The most important thing is that you keep track of indirect customer feedback as well.

3. Analyzing and Prioritizing 

Once you have collected feedback, it’s time to analyze and prioritize.

What does it mean in practice?

Analyze Your Results

There are various ways to analyze customer feedback, and the right method depends on the type of feedback.

NPS, CSAT, and other numerical data are easy to interpret. You can see whether the overall customer satisfaction has improved or decreased.

If you have included multiple choice questions, they are also quite easy to interpret. You just have to see which options were more popular than others.

Most feedback tools sum this information up automatically. They provide you with reports and data visualizations.

But open, qualitative feedback is something that requires more work. 

Sure, some tools might use AI and keyword tagging to categorize open feedback.  Those come in real handy if you have a large sample.

Most of us, especially smaller businesses, can manage our open feedback without expensive tools.

A simple Excel spreadsheet can help you with storing the comments from customers, and seeing if there are reoccurring themes.

Prioritize

After analyzing the data, you notice trends, frequently occurring themes, and popular answers.

Now, you have to decide which ones you focus on improving.

You can’t do everything at once, so start prioritizing the themes according to your current business goals, resources, and other factors.

Focus on negative and constructive feedback to find out the critical development points. But don’t forget the positive feedback either: it tells you what already works and what shouldn’t be changed.

Create a list of future actions that you will complete once you have more time, more knowledge, or more money.

When you have a smaller customer base, a single comment can have a big effect on your overall data. Remember to always validate the accuracy of your data and results

After all, an individual comment from an unhappy customer might not reflect your success at all. There might be a user error at play, or maybe someone just had a bad day. 

4. Reacting

After analyzing and prioritizing the results, it’s time to react.

Note that you don’t have to always wait for a certain feedback campaign to end before implementing changes.

In fact, if you get several complaints about a counterintuitive feature in your app, you should probably look into it before executing a broader survey about what changes your customers want.

Start working on improvements according to your earlier prioritization.

companies should take action on customer feedback

Pro tip: Keep in touch with your customers and update them regularly about the changes you are about to make based on their feedback. This shows that you care about your customers’ opinions and take them seriously.

5. Sharing

Final step of the customer feedback management process is sharing the feedback internally and externally.

Internally

It is always nice to share positive feedback with your team.

Here at Trustmary, we have a separate Slack channel for customer feedback. We get an automatic message whenever someone leaves feedback, and everyone gets to see the results of the good work that our team has been doing.

share customer feedback

It’s also a regular practice that everyone reports ideas from customers that were brought up in sales meetings and other discussions.

There are many benefits to this practice, and it helps all teams:

  • Sales people and customer success specialists get recognition for their great work.
  • Product team gets valuable information about what customers want.
  • Marketing gets new ideas for content when they learn what features customers love.

Externally

Positive feedback from happy customers makes great content for your website and social media.

NPS in itself is a great promotional tool, as many customers (especially in the B2B field) understand what the score means.

Another way to leverage customer feedback is to make it into testimonials and showcase them on your website. That is possible when you use Trustmary’s testimonial tools.

showcase customer testimonials

Showcasing feedback on your website helps future customers make purchase decisions and offers additional information about your product or service.

Implement a System to Increase Customer Satisfaction

It’s time to conclude our guide on how to manage customer feedback in 5 steps.

If you want to improve customer satisfaction, you need to have a system in place for managing customer feedback.

Here is a summary of the steps you should take:

StepActions
Set goals and expectationsFigure out what you want to achieve, and what limitations you might have in terms of resources.
Collect customer feedbackChoose the right formats for collecting feedback. Use multiple channels and sources of actionable feedback.
Analyze and prioritizeYou will identify patterns and reoccurring themes in the customer feedback. You have to prioritize your next steps based on the insights you find.
ReactSend personalized responses for those who spent time giving feedback. Implement changes to your product or customer journey.
SharePositive feedback lifts morale inside the company, and constructive feedback provides new ideas for all teams. User stories derived from feedback are great promotional material for your website and social media.

If you are looking for an easy solution that you can implement right now, you have come to the right place. 

Trustmary offers a software tool that helps you gather customer insights. You can create surveys, collect feedback and testimonials, get reports of the results, and integrate the platform with your other everyday tools.

Book a meeting with us and let’s discuss how we can help you! 👇

FAQ

What is customer feedback management?

Customer feedback management means processes and systems that you employ for dealing with customer feedback. It encompasses the planning, collecting, analyzing, prioritizing, implementing, and sharing of feedback.

How can I manage customer feedback?

To manage customer feedback, you need to implement a clear plan for how you collect feedback, what channels you use, which questions you ask, how you store the data, how you analyze it, and how you implement it in everyday life.

Why is customer feedback management important?

The only way to customer-led growth is to gather customer feedback and act on it. When you manage feedback wisely, you get timely insights and can implement meaningful changes. This results in better customer satisfaction and, eventually, business growth.