Customer feedback is essential to any business — you can’t meet consumer needs if you don’t know what they are. Understanding your audience’s desires informs decisions, drives innovation, and builds brand loyalty.

Critique is especially vital to agile teams whose entire focus is customer-centric. Understanding the feedback process helps you select a customer feedback system for your organization, know what data to collect, and implement strategies that meet client needs.

What’s customer feedback?

Customer feedback includes any consumer issues, insights, and input, revealing their level of satisfaction with your product or company. Whether it’s feedback on customer service, user experience, or essential functions, your organization can leverage this data to identify improvement areas and drive positive change, benefiting your customers and, ultimately, the organization.

Why is customer feedback important?

Managing customer feedback — gathering, reviewing, and acting on the information — is vital to your organization’s growth and continued success. Without audience input, your organization can’t know if your services meet customer expectations and deliver value.

Here are some other ways feedback guides the management process.

Better customer service

Feedback helps companies understand which factors drive satisfaction. Once you comprehend these details, you can elevate customer service to a five-star experience. And consumers with an outstanding customer experience (CX) are 2.6 times more likely to purchase repeatedly from a company, improving retention rates.

Clear improvement areas

When you work closely on building a product, you risk developing blindspots to its function and usability. This can lead to decisions that make sense to the project team but not necessarily to the customer. Soliciting actionable feedback returns consumer needs to the equation, helping identify features that delight customers and the reasons why, which drives improvement in the next iteration.

Stronger consumer relationships

Acting on feedback — especially when unsolicited — shows customers you value their input. They feel important, and having a positive personal connection with a company builds brand loyalty.

Word-of-mouth advertising

Personal recommendations and reviews most effectively bring customers to your door. For 94% of businesses, providing a good feedback experience increases customer satisfaction, generating positive recommendations that attract new consumers.

An improved bottom line

Negative feedback is as valuable as positive, allowing your organization to act on issues before they seriously affect your bottom line. You can identify potential innovations to attract new customers and locate detractors, giving your team a chance to reconnect and repair customer relationships.

If, as a result of improvements based on client feedback, your company boosts customer retention by just 5%, profits can increase by 25–95%.

Common types of customer feedback

The method you use to glean consumer insights depends on what you want to know. Here are some standard feedback-collection types organizations use to guide decisions and improve services.

Customer satisfaction feedback

Learn how satisfied your clients are with your products, services, and interactions by collecting quantitative and qualitative metrics to gather customer insights and calculate your customer satisfaction score (CSAT).

You can evaluate customer satisfaction using sentiment analysis or comment pop-ups on your website and through post-purchase surveys.

Customer service or support feedback

Improve client success by learning about their interactions with a customer service or support representative. This critique can improve service protocols, and it may also provide product feedback to the development team regarding design, functionality, and usability.

Gather this information through phone and email surveys or customer support tickets and live-chat analysis.

Sales feedback

Sales feedback is similar to customer service feedback, only it examines interactions involved in the sales process. This input is essential to informing leadership and trainers about enhancing coaching efforts, and it helps sales representatives better connect with potential customers.

Customer preference feedback

Find your marketplace niche by leveraging feedback regarding the products and services consumers prefer. This information also showcases the best ways to reach your target audience.

Gather this data by cruising online forums, monitoring purchasing activity, or holding focus groups to direct product development decisions. Or you might use direct, post-purchase phone or email surveys or reconnect with would-be clients who choose not to close.

Demographic information

Collecting demographic information helps you better position your product within the marketplace and improve the customer service experience. Demographics to study can include:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Marital status
  • Age

You can collect this data through forms on website pop-ups and post-purchase or service surveys.

Customer loyalty metrics

Discover how loyal your customers are, their likelihood of making another purchase, or whether they’d recommend your services by assessing their brand loyalty. Using polls and surveys to collect data, you can then calculate your organization’s net promoter score (NPS).

How to collect customer feedback: 5 methods

Many engaging feedback-solicitation methods don’t depend on customers finding the

“Contact Us” page — here are five such techniques.

1. Surveys

Surveys are customizable, targeted, and generate valuable insights — no wonder this method remains the top means of gathering feedback. You can add single-question slider surveys from Qualaroo to address specific concerns from website users or choose longer formats from Alchemer and Qualtrics for more in-depth insights.

If you’re planning on creating your own surveys instead of using pre-generated templates, follow these best practices:

  • Only ask questions directly related to your goals
  • Pose open-ended questions
  • Use a consistent rating scale
  • Avoid loaded or leading questions

2. Exploratory customer interviews

Conversing directly with your customer base lends valuable perspective. Customers’ personal stories provide nuance that qualitative data can’t, helping you understand the feelings behind purchase decisions and client responses to brand choices. This lens also challenges false assumptions, giving you a clearer picture of consumers and their needs.

When conducting interviews:

  • Hold an open-ended dialogue and give customers the flexibility to thoroughly explore their experience
  • Be specific and detailed in your questioning, and follow up on every piece of feedback
  • Keep the conversation flowing through active listening and mirror your client’s key takeaways

3. Social media

Seek out candid feedback through social listening — searching out direct comments or messages on social media platforms. You can also use polling tools like those on Instagram stories. These methods provide up-to-the-minute insight into consumer needs or overall satisfaction levels with your product.

4. Email

Direct messaging through email is one of the most straightforward ways to collect feedback. But customers expect responses in a dialogue, so prepare to manage correspondences efficiently.

Follow these best practices when soliciting email feedback:

  • Most websites have an auto-generated response that lets users know the company received their message. Set accurate intentions by telling them when to expect a response.
  • Organize email feedback so the entire customer service team has access and no message falls through the cracks. For project ideas, you can create a Kanban-like board to categorize emails into “Feature requests – Review” issues, “Up next” items the team is working on, and “Roadmap” matters to add to the project roadmap or backlog. Include email addresses for each request so you can contact the user when your team has reviewed their inquiry.
  • Once the service team has addressed the issue or added a suggested feature to the project roadmap, send a personalized email informing the user of the outcome and thanking them for their insight.

5. Onsite activity and instant feedback from the website

Your website can passively generate user feedback using onsite analytics. Data such as bounce rates, click-through rates, and scroll-tracking heatmaps all identify pain points in the customer journey that prevent users from converting. You can also include embeddable widgets to track the most popular pages on your site.

All this information helps you improve online customer service to drive more sales.

How to improve your customer feedback strategy

In most cases, customers are offering their time to provide valuable information to your organization. So the process should be as painless and constructive as possible for the customer and you.

Here are a few suggestions to improve your process.

Close the loop

Feedback needs to operate as a loop to be useful — otherwise, customers that provide feedback might feel neglected if they never hear from you again. And you gain further insights when you check in on changes.

Ask the customer for information, categorize the data, act on it, and follow up — a process known as ACAF. To provide value to your organization and customers, the loop must close, so ensure you respond once you act on input.

Consolidate information

Consider using a customer feedback tool that aggregates information in one place. By consolidating this data, you can identify and analyze trends quickly, spot interesting fringe requests that could innovate your product, and ensure your strategy implementation meets desired goals.

Establish a feedback policy

Creating and publicizing your feedback policy is vital to your customer satisfaction strategy’s success. This keeps everyone on the same page regarding how to submit feedback, why opinions matter, and how you’ll manage and use the data. And with clear expectations comes accountability, which mitigates potential confusion and builds trust.

Effectively act on feedback with Tempo’s tools

Whether you’re trying to gain insights regarding IT initiatives, product roadmaps, or project development, Tempo’s Roadmunk can help. This road-mapping application offers audience-friendly and customizable visuals that clearly showcase customer value roadblocks, helping you ask more targeted questions to your consumers. And you can create a roadmap to showcase a customer improvement strategy plan, ensuring your team understands how to complete tasks effectively and on time. Sign up today.