How to understand the power of feedback

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“Closing the loop” is a fundamental aspect of CxM. Basically, it refers to the “loop” that is established by the continuous exchange of feedback and reaction between you and your customers.

Periodic surveys and sporadic feedback data are simply insufficient to drive much-needed changes, which is why you will need an effective Voice of the Customer platform to fuel and drive the Closed Loop Process and enable effective CxM.

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Closing the feedback loop is a perpetual work in progress. It is useful to think of this process in terms of four sequential stages, Listen, Interpret, React, Monitor, but in reality, these stages should occur simultaneously as well as repeatedly.

While service recovery and customer relations are important benefits of the Closed Loop Process, the next-level benefit is the ability to cultivate company-wide focus on customer experience and to acquire a deeper understanding of your customers. Making the Closed Loop Process an ingrained and repeatable mechanism in your company is imperative and the more people that are regularly involved, the more effective and profitable the process will be.

Below, we walk you through the four pillars of CxM, the Closed Loop Process of Listen, Interpret, React, Monitor.

Listen

First of all, you will need to listen to your customers and gather data. Depending on the needs and goals of your company different kinds of feedback may prove more valuable. Surveys that are easy to respond to are particularly useful for gauging customer values and satisfaction over time, and they are the cornerstone of successful Voice of the Customer platforms.

Depending on the nature of your business some kinds of feedback may be more relevant to you.

There are three different kinds of feedback data to consider:

• Direct feedback: Intended feedback captured from different touchpoints across the customer journey (surveys, market research, written complaints).
• Indirect feedback: Public conversation about your organization that is not necessarily intended as feedback, but often reflects unbiased sentiment (social media, review sites).
• Inferred feedback: Operational and transactional data. Website clickstream data, purchase history or contact center operational data. May be difficult to capture but carries a lot of value.

Interpret

Flat survey data needs to be converted into meaningful insights and knowledge of customer experience. This will enable you to develop strategies for correcting negative experiences to improve retention, increase loyalty and profit from Promoters, and to drive growth.

To this end, you will need Voice of the Customer software with advanced analytic capabilities, that can:

• Measure and view NPS in real time
• Analyze NPS scores by customer segment, product/service, and geography
• Identify root causes of positive and negative customer experience
• Identify how loyalty evolves along the customer journey
• Measure the performance of individual touchpoints and customer interactions

Great software can make everything a lot easier. I should be a platform that provides a relevant overview to all respective members of your company. This enables staff to share insights, collaborate and follow up on alerts and notifications; it should provide NPS by segment, trend analysis, loyalty drivers, benchmark functions and much more, that make it easy to analyze and act accordingly to customer feedback data.

React

Survey data and NPS scores are meaningless if they are not properly utilized to drive change and improve loyalty and growth in your company. CxM is about taking action and neither NPS scores nor experience data will change a thing on their own. They are reflections of what you do, but tough decisions and strong actions are always required to make positive changes.

Practically speaking, you will need to swiftly follow up with customers upon receiving feedback to solve issues or take helpful action. Subsequently, ensure that your actions have had the intended effect by checking back in with the customer as quickly as possible.

However, reacting to feedback is not just about good customer service. The Closed Loop Process should lead to actions that improve the overall experience - not just for a single customer, but for the benefit of the entire customer journey experience.

Monitor

It is important to set up a structure in your company that facilitates continuous change and correction. To this end, management and staff should be able to monitor your customer experience performance every step of the way. CxM programs encompass all business functions and the process should connect to all company operations. This requires commitment, accountability and flexibility at every level of your organization. Collaboration is pivotal to the success and effectiveness of the actions you choose to take - from executives to managers to frontline staff, all must be on board and on the same page.

It is a good idea to establish a team of members from a wide variety of functions in your organization who will monitor your operations and lead the way towards change and progress.  Their key functions would include working to:

Share customer experience insights and data frequently with managers, leaders and staff
Drive strategic improvements on a daily basis
Fix issues by identifying and correcting root causes of negative customer experience
Discover innovative new ways to satisfy your customers and generate promoters

Morten Bisgaard