How to Translate Customer Feedback Into Actionable Advice

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Without customers, a business will quickly become nothing more than a memory. The people interacting with or purchasing products or services from a company are what make the wheels turn on a continuous basis. Along the same lines, a company should do everything in its power to retain and please any customers they currently have in their fold. One of the most effective ways of accomplishing this is to listen to what the customers have to say regarding a business and their experience with it. It is in the best interest of a company to make changes to accommodate the needs or requests voiced by the customer. Their opinion is second to none because of the power they hold in the relationship. Jeff Bezos, the founder and chairman of Amazon, put it best, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job consistently to make every important aspect of the CX a little bit better.”

With this in mind, we spoke to ten different business executives to uncover their thoughts on how to translate customer feedback into actionable advice.

1. Don’t Rely On One Source

Jeff Goodwin is a Sr. Director, Performance Marketing & E-Commerce at Orgain, a clean nutrition company providing products with real, organic, and quality ingredients. Goodwin believes that any company looking to gain a better understanding of the clientele should seek out multiple avenues of feedback.

“Just as people are distinctive, their customer feedback will be as such. Some may not choose to interact with a survey and instead head to social media. Others will leave a review while many will simply make a purchase and move on. All these behaviors can be useful for understanding customers through both research and simply paying attention. If you’re relying on one source of customer feedback, you’re likely to miss out on information which will prove useful for furthering your business.”

2. Consolidate Your Information

7 Wonders Cinema is a video production company that offers a start-to-finish service. Michael Ayjian is one of the co-founders and executive producers while Stephen Skeel is the other co-founder and executive producer. Skeel advises companies that have gathered their feedback to bring it to a central hub to better understand it.

“Because of the variety of ways that customers interact with brands these days, there are numerous channels of information being fed to a company at any given time. If not organized correctly, the amount of information can be overwhelming and important elements can be lost. If this happens, it can greatly affect a company’s ability to turn its feedback into useful initiatives. The idea should be to create a source that speaks for the customer base.”

3. Product Development

Better than anyone else, the customer knows what they want out of a product or service. This information can be used by a company to design new items which should interest the customer because they were the driving force in its creation. VITAL is a credit card company offering incentives to those who share the product and use it wisely. Their CEO, Chris Bridges, suggests this approach.

“Assuming the target of an association is to supply the demand of a customer, they should first know what it is that the customer is requesting. By better understanding, the customer through reviews and questionnaires, the answer to this question can become apparent. Ideally, this knowledge should be used to further current products as well as create space for new ones.”

4. Be Specific

Lindsey McCormick is the founder and CEO of Bite, a company specializing in plastic-free hygiene products such as toothpaste and deodorant. She believes that when searching through feedback, companies should be looking at every area of their organization.

“Every business achieves such a great deal significantly something other than sell things. Between shipping, ordering, marketing, inter-business relationships, and customer service, there are numerous processes that could always use tweaking. On the other end of these processes are other people whose opinions can prove vital for improving a company. These people have first-hand knowledge of what is and is not working for them and this information can be used for organizational change. Just because a process is operational doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved.”

5. Customers as Advocates

BoxGenie offers unique and creative product packaging for other businesses. Their COO, Jim Beard, considers turning customers’ opinions into support channels that positively push the awareness of a brand.

“Client feedback should make you expeditiously aware of who trusts in how your association is doing or selling. These people, and more importantly their opinion of your company, can be worked with to make others aware of who you are. Those who are unaware of your company are far more likely to be trusting of those that they know over an advertisement or product pitch. By offering incentives to your already pleased customers, you can attempt to gain referrals to your company. Positive feedback can prove just as helpful as negative feedback.”

6. Prove Yourself

Negative feedback is simply part of the game when you are doing business and any good company will try its best to rectify any unfavorable situation. MitoQ is a health and wellness brand offering supplements that target the mitochondria. Their Head of Customer Acquisition, Shaun Price, suggests turning negative feedback into an opportunity.

“Exactly when customers experience inconveniences they can oftentimes anticipate that an issue with regards to making the issue right since that they’ve experienced previously. Long hold times, lengthy customer service calls, shipping delays, and more all contribute to the pessimistic outlook. Your company should go above and beyond to turn these expectations on their head and prove your worth and care to the customer. Actions like this can go a long way towards building relationships.”

7. Motivation

Chris Gadek is the head of growth for AdQuick, an online solution for purchasing out-of-home advertising globally. He advises utilizing every type of feedback towards sparking initiative within your company.

“Once in a while, your group can use a little inspiration and there could be no better place to track down it than within praise or complaints from your customers. Negative responses can be put forward as a method for asking those who fell short to step up their game. Be careful with this approach as some may feel their work is being put down. It’s all about phrasing. On the other hand, positive responses can be used to commend work well done by an employee. Good work should never go unnoticed and doing this will only serve to boost morale.”

8. Surveys

Nailboo is a company offering salon-quality nails from home done with a nail kit. Their CMO, Amanda E. Johnson, believes that customer surveys are an excellent way to better understand where a company’s clientele is at.

“Surveys are an attempted and demonstrated technique for acquiring and distinguishing the knowledge that will demonstrate helpful to work on your business. But the information gained is only as useful as the questions asked. For example, if you’re looking to better understand how a customer uses your product and what they want out of it, your questions should go into detail about the specifics surrounding this. A general survey will only provide general information which won’t provide much to build off. Surveys targeting specific areas will give you blueprints for moving forward.”

9. Garner Repetition

In many cases, a happy customer is one who will return to the same brand or product. Through feedback, companies can use this to their advantage. Hybrid2Go is a service providing repairs and replacement of batteries for hybrid vehicles. Their COO, Cole Steverson, considers this approach wise.

“Exactly when you’ve come to comprehend who is content with what your business has given them, you understand who is most likely going to continue to purchase your things. A well-made product that suits the needs of a person goes much further than an ad can take it. People like what they know and buy what they like. Things like surveys and rewards programs can help identify who these people are and help you offer them more opportunities to engage with your business.”

10. Advertising

Karim Hachem, the VP of eCommerce of a swimwear brand, La Blanca, suggests putting the positive comments of the customer to good use in the form of advertising.

“No matter how they come across it, customers are undeniably bound to believe others who have experience utilizing or using an item. When a customer leaves a good review, companies should be quick to broadcast this information. This can be done in traditional advertising, product demonstrations, or social media. Good feedback from real people can make a real difference in adding sales.”

When used correctly, customer feedback can elevate a company in a variety of ways. With a creative approach, the possibilities are endless when it comes to turning that feedback into actionable advice. The customer has a large portion of influence over the state of a business and their input should be considered at every turn. Jason Langella, the founder of Tampa SEO Agency summarized this, “If you don’t appreciate your customers, another person will.”

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