Digital feedback has the potential to have far-reaching business impact on defining metrics, such as customer loyalty and revenue. But only if it’s harnessed correctly.
For this to be the case, there are a handful of absolutely critical strategies you should be following. The first of these is ensuring you capture the right data. Sounds easy, right? But you’d be surprised how many large businesses don’t know where to start.
So what’s the first step? Simply listening to what your customers have to say, and in their own words. This may sound straightforward but many companies get this wrong.
According to the Temkin Group, 61% of organizations that have “mature” Voice of Customer programs and $500 million or more in annual revenue believe that open-ended verbatims from customers provide the most value when it comes to customer insights.
Which makes sense.
When your customers initiate a conversation with you, they will tell you exactly how you can improve their experience, and what aspects of their experience they expect for you to take action on to improve – but only if you let them.
1: Listen to what your customers have to say…don’t just let them speak at you
If you already use a digital feedback solution or are capturing direct customer insight online, you need to be clear that there’s a subtle but important distinction between letting your customers speak to/at you and actually listening to what they have to say.
Listening involves a two-way communication exchange, where your customers speak to you and you then take the time to consider what they are actually saying. As more and more exchanges between customers and businesses take place online, the fewer opportunities there are to have the same level of two-way exchange typical of face-to-face communication.
One of the main goals in gathering feedback is to enable communication between you and your customer: information is delivered (by the customer), and a message is received (by the company). And ideally your customers’ messages compel you, as an organization, to take action.
Think about it: if a customer in a brick-and-mortar store approached a manager and indicated that product pricing on tags didn’t match with the store’s promotional signage, that manager would take action to correct the mistake – more than likely, immediately. That customer’s expectation for you to take action is no different on digital channels.
2: Ensure you don’t influence responses
To get the true and honest digital feedback you require, you need to ensure you don’t influence customer responses in any way. When requesting digital feedback, think about the following points:
- Let them speak in their own words – enable your customers to leave actual open-ended comments about what they want to tell you.
- How you ask is important – invite online feedback with an open-ended comment so as NOT to influence the nature of what your customers want to tell you. If, for example, you instead ask a specific attitudinal question such as “how do you feel about content of our site?” – odds are that the information you get will focus specifically on content.
- Ensure the location for providing the comment is front and center – By prominently displaying the comment box when your customer opts to leave digital feedback, they will tell you exactly what first came to mind when they elected to speak with you.
The best most actionable feedback is direct, undiluted and most reflective of your customer experience. So invite comments from your customers that encourages this insight.
3: Invite feedback across all digital touchpoints
You should offer your customers the capability to provide you with feedback across ALL of your digital touchpoints. In other words, let them talk to you from every single page of your website, mobile apps and other platforms. Customer-initiated feedback is just that, initiated by the customer, and more often than not at the moment when they have encountered some barrier to their success.
As an analyst working with businesses to improve their digital customer experience, I often encounter situations when companies have gaps in their perspective on drivers of CX – all because key site sections, sub domains, or even specific digital tools are devoid of a continuous listening solution. Often in these situations, organizations assume that no problems exist on these neglected touchpoints simply because no feedback is being relayed on or about them – which is obviously a big mistake.
To give you an example of what I’m talking about – modal pop-up windows for password recovery are a perfect example of a commonly missed opportunity to gather feedback, particularly on mobile devices. If your goal is to create a comprehensive view of all possible exchanges between yourself and your customers, then allow for users to leave digital feedback on all digital touchpoints.
4: Make providing digital feedback easy for your customers
If you want your customers to speak to you about whatever’s on their mind so that you can then listen and react, you need to make it easy for them to do so.
Take the below example (which incorporates an invitation to provide feedback via a tab on the right side of the page and in the header), which is mirrored throughout the website – users are in no doubt at any point of their interaction how to tell you what they think about you. The invitation is easily findable/accessible and ever-present across the experience.
A natural sub-benefit of a highly visible invitation to leave feedback is that you end up with a far more balanced view. For example – if you bury your digital feedback invitation in the footer of your site, or too deep in the hamburger menu of your mobile applications or mobile web experience, the more negatively skewed and customer support oriented the commentary tends to be. Because your customers will have to work hard to figure out how to leave feedback, only the most motivated will do so…and making it so difficult will only irritate them further.
If you want digital feedback to be actionable, and related to in-moment pain points, make it easy for your end users to speak to you as close to the actual moment of truth as possible – whether that “moment of truth” is a page itself, or even an aspect of a specific page such as search results or account details.
This approach also encourages cross-channel feedback. Where is the first place your customers go to engage with you or research your products or services? More often than not, it’s your website. Providing an easy-to-find platform for delivering feedback means you not only receive the insight to improve your digital customer experience, but also CX within your store or branch network or the quality of your products and more.
Staying on the theme of making it easy, make it easy for yourself by implementing a “channel selector” like the one highlighted below. This means you can segment and route data easily for action, while also asking questions specific to channels or services.
If you want to find out more techniques for making providing digital feedback easy for your customers, this is covered in a recent OpinionLab eBook.
Let your customers be your guide
Comments directly from your customers in their own words captured via digital feedback help bring CX issues to life. Remember: every comment represents the voice of an actual person. Listening will help instill you with a greater sense of organizational empathy, and better allow you to truly see your business processes from the perspective of your actual customers’ journeys.
Familiarizing yourself with verbatim digital feedback is the ultimate way to challenge your own assumptions about your customer experience, gain a true sense of customers’ desired outcomes, and shed light on unmet needs that you never even considered to be factors in their overall satisfaction with your company.
When you think about it like that, the impact of digital feedback on your customer experience – both online and offline – can be immense. But make sure you follow these four crucial steps to maximize its full potential to uncover the type of insights that drive discernible CX and business improvements.