You’re Getting the Wrong Customer Feedback – And Too Late.


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Knowing how to differentiate and personalize the customer experience requires honest feedback. Here’s how to gather it quickly and with a high response rate – in real time.

cfu_lcd A customer feedback capture solution integrated into a handheld device: Source: Qmatic

There’s no doubt that we are in the Age of the Customer. In mixed product/service businesses like retailers and banks, online channels have blown open the competition for customers across the globe. And federal, state, and local government agencies are striving to update archaic systems to help their employees engage positively with citizens who often go into offices expecting inefficiencies.

Either way, gaining loyalty and mindshare requires your company can differentiate and personalize a great customer experience.

Fortunately, the current marketplace is as defined by a considerable increase in useful data as it is challenged by consumer power. With the right metrics, you can gain a solid understanding of your customer base. And with that understanding, you have resources you need to achieve high satisfaction, build customer loyalty, and reduce customer churn.

The trick is knowing when and how to gather and use feedback.

Imagine yourself having a discussion with the head of operations in a service-oriented company, such as a retailer, retail banker, hospital or public institution. Would you expect a prompt and knowledgeable answer if you ask about the company’s strategy for managing the flow of customers and capturing feedback in the physical space? Some managers would probably refer to their CRM or BI system and claim that they have a good knowledge of the customers that were serviced yesterday or the day before that. Some managers might also claim that they control queuing with a system that assures order among the waiting customers.

However, few would possibly claim to know what happens with their customers throughout the whole interaction process in real-time nor that they provide tools that empowers their frontline staff to take informed decision in real-time based on customer data and feedback.

feed4This type of feedback systems is becoming more and more common. The major drawback is that they are not online and realtime. The data provided is historic and not “in the moment”. Source: Private photo

Gathering and using real-time feedback in the moment is critical

The value of soliciting customer input at the point of experience is much richer than what you’ll get from doing a follow-up customer feedback survey. In fact, external surveys have an expected 10-15% response rate, and can be as low as >2% if the audience isn’t motivated to share their thoughts by something like existing brand loyalty or perceived benefit.[1]

On the other hand, most of your customers have a very public instant feedback mechanism in their hand at all times. At the time of writing this post, 5 of the top 20 iPhone apps are designed to enable either social media or communication. Your customer is well equipped to advocate or disparage your brand – very publicly – at will. More and more, customers are comfortable with producing feedback instantly to wide audiences.

Empower your employees to engage in the moment

feedback_ipadA tablet solution for the mobile workforce with instant feedback on the current service situation and customer perceptions. Source: Qmatic

Why not equip your customers to communicate their thoughts within a channel that helps you quantify net promoter scores and identify opportunities to improve the customer experience? And why not let your employees get access to that data in the moment?

Arguably, simplicity and motivation are the two most important factors in generating a high customer response rate. By making it quick and effortless to share impressions, you’re showing you care about the customer and their experience, and that you respect their time. In return, you get a higher level of feedback, as well as loyalty, trust, and commitment.

A mobile device, a self-service kiosk or a tablet equipped with a familiar single-touch interface that shows questions and answer options with simple, intuitive emoji images serves the purpose perfectly.

The more you can integrate the handheld or kiosk feedback units with other customer journey tools (such as digital signage or sign-in kiosks) the better able you are to control the full on-site environment. The feedback tools become a piece of a holistic system, both in the physical sense and in how the accumulated data integrates with other metrics to create a complete customer journey snapshot.

The key though is not only to look at the data from yesterday, but to act on the feedback in the moment.

It’s not hard to ask questions of your customers like, “did you have a good experience” and “would you recommend us to a friend” and effort is worthwhile. As many as 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience – and 89% of them are willing to shift their loyalty to your competition due to a poor customer experience.[2] Your customers hold a lot of power, but ultimately, the strength of your brand is yours to control.

Do you have the right tools to give you that advantage? Do you have the intelligence you need to thrive in the Age of the Consumer?


[2] Harris Interactive

Sven-Olof Husmark
Sven-Olof is the founder of Experify, a business consultant firm, Senior Advisor at Egain Group a pioneer in intelligent AI driven energy optimization of buildings and former CMO at Qmatic Group, a world leader in creating better customer journeys.Sven-Olof is a senior executive with demonstrated success in growing companies globally by initiating effective sales, marketing and customer service strategies.


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