The CEO of HubSpot — and one of the most successful CEOs in America – Brian Halligan says that “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” There is a lot of evidence that shows that gathering and implementing customer feedback is one of the most important ways to grow your business.
The proof is in the pudding and points to the impact listening to your customers has on your company. For instance, the number one source of new leads comes from referrals. While ads are great, and certainly serve their purpose, the power of word-of-mouth marketing can’t be denied.
Keeping your existing customers happy is significantly less expensive than looking for new customers, and according to the Harvard Business Review, increasing your customer retention by only 5% can increase profits anywhere from 25% to as high as 95%.
The A.C.A.F feedback loop (ask, categorize, act, follow-up) is a tried and true method to help businesses create a method to listen, learn and implement the feedback from their customers.
There are many ways you can ask your customers for feedback. Customer satisfaction surveys, net-promotor score surveys, social media campaigns all work as great methods to gather customer comments and feedback.
There is nothing wrong with asking for general feedback, essentially that is what a net-promoter survey does, but asking for specifics can help your customers generate a more centered response towards your strengths and weaknesses as a company. Ask them about specific services that they use, or specific products, and ask for both positive and negative experiences.
Looking at all of the customer feedback may seem like you are about to drink from a firehose. Categorizing the feedback helps you understand where your actual strengths as a company are, and where your products or services are causing pain points for your customers.
When it comes to products and services, separate feedback into three categories:
Multiple comments like “every time I open the app it crashes on my iPhone” lets you know you have a major problem on your hand. Something minor like “Every once in a while the app will freeze for a couple seconds, then work again” is a much less pressing issue, but something that should still be addressed. After those issues are worked through, you can focus on requests from your customers. You never know, your customers have an idea that revolutionizes your product or service.
Now that you have the information, it’s time to get it to the people who can implement the feedback. As a marketing or sales department, you may not be equipped with the knowledge to make changes to an app or web server. You need to bring that information to your product, IT or Dev team to have changes made. Plus, they’ll be happy to know that they are fixing possible issues in the products and services your company offers.
This goes for operations and sales and marketing teams as well. Based on the feedback, you may see strengths or weakness in your customer service or maybe brand messaging. These comments need to be brought to the correct teams to be addressed.
The moment of truth is following up with your customers, but if you’ve properly implemented the feedback that you’ve received, follow-ups should mostly be received with happy customer responses. Following up with you customers is not only for gathering data, but also lets them know that you are listening to your customers and that they are appreciated.
Listen to your customers! They are the key to your businesses success. When you listen, and show your customers that you are listening, you may just turn them into raving fans who become brand ambassadors for your business.
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