Every business owner knows that customer feedback is important for a company’s success. The relationship between the customer and the customer service representative can make or break a sale, and if you multiply that across hundreds, thousands, or millions of customers, you start to see the importance of high-quality customer service. But you won’t know if you’re delivering as high quality a service as possible without that valuable feedback.
Customer feedback can take a variety of forms, including:
- A survey—Many businesses choose to send out customer feedback surveys after a customer purchases their product or service.
- A comment—When a customer service representative is on the phone, a customer may give the person feedback right then and there. The importance of simple, one-off customer responses can’t be underestimated.
- A review—Yelp and Facebook are still important tools that can help companies understand how satisfied their customers are and how their customer service efforts are being portrayed to the world.
Furthermore, feedback isn’t just for evaluating the performance of your customer service team. Feedback can help you set business goals, develop new products, and notice blind spots where you didn’t before.
But if you have a team of customer service agents, how are you able to take a multitude of customer thoughts and responses and translate them into something that’s easy to interpret? Effectively managing customer feedback across your team can mean the difference between important customer intel and a hodgepodge of survey responses.
So, how can your team manage the feedback they receive?
Narrow Down Customer Feedback Systems
While it’s important to have a variety of ways for customers to leave feedback, you do want to have a firm understanding of where your feedback is coming from. For instance, you probably don’t need to send out vastly different surveys to customers depending on what they bought. You also don’t need to prioritize the in-box of every single social media platform available to you. Figure out your top few places for receiving feedback, and focus on cultivating responses from those.
Collect Ongoing Feedback
There isn’t just one time to prioritize customer feedback. Sure, you may send out an automated survey 1 week after a purchase, or you may have an e-mail funnel that requests a Facebook review after a certain number of days. But you can collect feedback at any time throughout the customer process. You want to be a champion of your customers and make sure they get what they need throughout every step of their customer journey. So after their very first phone call, don’t be afraid to ask how the service was, even though you know you’ll be following up shortly. Real-time feedback can help you improve all steps of the process and make the customer journey more seamless.
Create a Centralized System
It’s essential that your company have some form of centralized data system for customer feedback. Otherwise, things will get lost across multiple platforms between multiple people. You likely have different team members monitoring things like Yelp reviews or survey responses. Ensure that all of this feedback gets sent to one central location so the data can be interpreted and seen as a whole. You don’t want to miss the forest for the trees, and having some kind of central feedback system will help you see the bigger picture.
Keep Communication Open
It’s important that it isn’t just your head honchos who are able to view customer feedback. In fact, it’s most important that the people who are actually interacting with your customers on a day-to-day basis have access to that feedback. How are your customer service representatives currently able to receive responses from customers? Do they have access to survey results, or do you have time set aside for them to read Google reviews? Are they being delivered the same reports that you are in terms of customer satisfaction on things like your customer helpline e-mail in-box? Try and keep the avenues of communication between your team members and customers as open as possible so members of your team have a solid understanding of how satisfied customers are with the service they’re receiving. It will be impossible to consolidate and manage feedback without allowing a wide number of agents to have access to that feedback.
Reward Team Members Who Prioritize Feedback
Human beings are more incentivized to work on a goal when there’s some sort of positive reinforcement available—that’s simply a fact. Rewarding team members who focus on getting reviews and customer feedback can go a long way. It can be as simple as giving the team member who gathers the most customer survey responses a gift card or public recognition. Find a way to encourage your customer service representatives to not just focus on serving the customer in the moment but also gather that essential feedback that will help your company grow long term.
Help Team Members Connect Customer Feedback to Projected Business Outcomes
Sometimes, customer service agents are so focused on providing great service in the moment that they struggle to see the way customer feedback is tied to business outcomes in the long run. Make sure you help your team members connect the dots, not just between one another but also to the larger picture of your company. For instance, tell the stories behind your products—was one of them created because of repeated customer requests? You could also demonstrate how continued feedback on a particular service or product shifted the way your business works. It’s also important to remind your customer service teams that feedback is directly connected to whether customers will recommend your company or how likely they are to purchase from you in the future. Don’t just prioritize feedback as an arbitrary goal; instead, tie it into the larger tapestry of your company, and make sure team members understand just how vital feedback collection is. Knowing the why behind what a team member is being asked to do will always make the person more willing to do it well.