From snail mail questionnaires to telephone surveys to online panels, the market research world has benefited greatly from improvements in communication technology. Modern technology allows companies to close the customer feedback loop by responding to individual customer feedback in real time. Today, members of an organization can respond to customer feedback as it is gathered. Just a few years ago, companies had to wait hours, days, or weeks for customer satisfaction study results to learn what customers actually thought about their products and services. Now, there’s no wait time, assuming you’re working with a cutting-edge Enterprise Feedback Management system.
As an example of one such system, consider our Action Alert system. With brief, 2-3 minute B2B and B2C surveys, we regularly interview our clients’ customers. Certain responses trigger Action Alerts, which are sent to the employees our client specifies. Survey results are also available through an online dashboard. Each type of Action Alert serves an important purpose.
One such purpose is preserving and improving customer retention and trust. When a customer indicates a problem with the brand, a Recover Alert is immediately sent out, so managers can resolve the issue in a timely manner. Recover Alerts help build customer trust, a key ingredient in Customer Engagement as our 2010 Most Engaged Customers study found. Customers stick around when they trust your brand to provide superb service and resolve any problems quickly and professionally. As the 2010 Most Engaged Customers study states, “If mistakes do happen (and they inevitably do happen) the way that a company responds will either create or destroy customer trust.” A major benefit of immediately responding to customer feedback is the ability to quickly resolve problems, thereby improving customer trust.
A second benefit of immediately responding to customer feedback has to do with how customers view surveys. Many customers see online and telephone surveys as a waste of time. That’s usually because they’ve given their opinion before, and seen little to no change in company policies and performance as a result. In fact, it’s rare for the customer to receive any verification that the company has even heard their opinion. Admittedly, in the past surveying was so complex and clunky that it was very difficult for companies to respond to individual customers. No more. Using modern EFM systems, your employees can let customers know that their concerns have been heard—even better, the customer can see how their feedback is driving change. Empowering the customer in this way is an excellent method of building customer loyalty.
Last but certainly not least, an immediate response to customer feedback builds overall Customer Engagement. As mentioned above, customer trust is a major factor of Customer Engagement. By giving employees the tools needed to quickly respond to customer feedback, you can win the customer’s trust and loyalty. Once a customer engagement process is in place, the ability to respond to customers in real time improves overall Customer Engagement by keeping the conversation between company and customer flowing smoothly.
[photo: Michel Filion]