Importance of Closing Customer Feedback Loop

“Get a feedback loop and listen to it…When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it.” – Randy Pausch

We know for sure that customer feedback is essential and companies know it too, which is why they use various methods and formulate strategies to gather as much information and insights from their customers. Despite collecting huge amounts of information, companies still falter and are unable to give customers what they want. We believe the reason for this could be that companies forget to close the customer feedback loop, which means that they collect the information but do not have strategies in place to use the data for their benefit. Customer feedback is significant because it can help a company in thoroughly understanding its customers, their needs, expectations, and preferences – and since the insights come directly from customers, there is no scope for ambiguity.

There is no point for a company to know what customers want, unless they close the customer feedback loop by putting into effect what they learn. Simply determining what is important for the company’s customers does not suffice – appropriate action to provide for the needs of customers is required. For example – a company may check with customers before launching a new product as to the kind of features and benefits customers would like to see. However, if the company does not launch the product in a timely manner, or launches it without including the feedback, the product would most definitely fail. Gaining insights from customers might help a company to know what customers think about it, how they rate its products against that of a competitor, and other such vital information. However, closing the customer feedback loop would mean that a company actually uses that information to tweak and improve their products and or services. Closing ‘the loop’ is about taking the customer’s insights and weaving them into the culture and vision of the company, such that whatever the company does seems customized and tailor-made for their customers.

When companies seek feedback, customers are sure to provide information on whether they believe that the company’s employees treat customers with respect or not. It is imperative to close the customer feedback loop by ensuring that every employee understands the importance of care and empathy for customers, and that discourtesy to customers would not be tolerated. It would be necessary for a company to provide necessary and pertinent training to its employees, especially those that deal directly with customers such that they would be well equipped to manage customers with politeness, accuracy, empathy, and swiftness. In addition, the service representatives must also be informed of the expectations and needs of the customer base, such that they interact with customers in a more humane and personalized manner.

Closing the customer feedback loop is extremely important for a company when it makes efforts to gain a lost customer. The first step would be to understand why the customer left, and then let the ‘lost’ customer know what your company can do to get their business back. Customers are happy to explore new ideas, and love to work with companies that make them feel important and valued – and there is no better way to do this than listening to customers and making good the insights provided by them. Customers are extremely vocal on two occasions – one when a company messes up a lot, and two when the company makes every attempt to listen to them and use their insights to produce goods that would suit the immediate needs of customers.

We know that customers have free access to a lot of information – including the latest trends in technology, what is new in the market, and other realms. Customers could indicate whether they would prefer a competitor’s product / technology to your company, and closing the loop on this information would help you understand why and if it is possible to change what your company currently offers, it should be done. Customers are quick to perceive changes that a company makes in accordance with their wishes, and are sure to reciprocate. The fact is that the products and or services that a company fashions based on the customer requirements, would be immediately useful to the customers, and hence they would buy repeatedly, and encourage others too.

Do companies have a clear understanding as to what the customer feedback loop is and why it is so important? As a system, the feedback loop is a process in which a company collects, collates, and analyses customer feedback. The analysis and learning from the feedback is what forms the critical element of this ‘loop’. A company must change / improve based on what customers believe requires changing and improving. Creating products or changing them without customer approval or requirement, could severely damage the sales and reputation of a company. The idea behind customer service and feedback is to improve the company’s offerings in the way that customers deem appropriate, and unless their opinion and insights are taken into account, a company would be making changes based on what it believes to be ‘good for customers’, which hardly ever works.

Feedback loops are critical since they provided a systematic approach and path for a company to listen and learn from customers, and put the learning into practice. Without customers, there is no business – a cliché but very relevant. They are the ones who buy the products, help the business to grow, and act as the company’s brand ambassadors when they are happy. The better a company gets at collecting and utilizing customer feedback the more efficient it would become and be able to create better and improved products and services, which would instantly find favour with customers. By the timely closing of the customer feedback loop, a company would know exactly what customers think about it, and the company would be better equipped at making things easier for its customers. It is important for a company to provide a number of channels and feedback avenues for its customers. This would ensure that customers would find it easy to provide feedback when they want and as they please.

Companies spend a lot of time and other resources on listening to the ‘voice of the customer’, but completely fail in closing the customer feedback loop by not putting the ‘voice’ into action. We know that with so many choices, it is becoming increasingly tough for companies to retain their customers, and many find themselves losing their customers to competition. What surprises companies, is the fact that the customers who leave are usually the ones that may have indicated their ‘satisfaction’ with a company. However, satisfying customers in such a competitive market is no longer good enough. Customers demand excellence – in products, in service, in pricing, in every aspect of their relationship with a company. Excellence is possible for a company now only by actively listening, imbibing, and putting into action what customers say and on what they provide feedback.

Companies may be getting better at gaining feedback from customers, but unless they close the customer feedback loop, none of the invaluable insights provided by customers would be of any use. It would be necessary for companies to immediately put in place a feedback strategy, which would connect the customer’s voice to every single employee of the organization, and ensure that the words of the customers are used to create offerings that would instantly delight the customers.

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Create interactive decision trees for customer service management, cold call scripts or self-service. Improve sales performance metrics and customer delight across your call centers.

Interactive Decision Tree