What is Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is an information given from the audience about how company, product or service helped customers and met their requirements. There is no better and more reliable source of knowledge about the quality of company than customer feedback.
Why is Customer Feedback Important?
#1. It points out aspects of your product that need improvement
You know your product by heart. It’s every feature and application that has been thought through and discussed by you and your team thousands of times. Unfortunately, that is why you might not see its imperfections.
It is important to know what suits the customers well, what was their least favorite aspect of it, and why. Showing that you truly listen to your customers’ opinions sells better than anything. After all, the product is made for them, so it should be as close to what they desire as possible.
#2. Listening to customer feedback makes customers feel involved and important
Nothing shows your customers that they are important better than asking for their opinion and acting accordingly. When asked for an opinion on a product or experience, your customers feel valued and treated almost as a part of the creative team.
By asking your customers to provide feedback you make them believe that their opinion is truly valued.
When the customers feel listened to, they begin to have positive connotations with your brand and direct their good experience back at you, which in turn could lead to more sales in the future.
One caveat: You must actually use collected opinions to make decisions and communicate them to your customers, otherwise, they will feel neglected. You can also read about the customer feedback loop which is an advanced strategy for constant product improvement based on users’ opinions and suggestions.
#3. Good feedback generates personal recommendations
Word of mouth advertising is very successful, especially in inbound marketing where the customer comes to you, not the other way around. Referrals are the most effective, free way of advertising.
The study conducted by Kellerfay for the RewardStream, revealed that personal recommendations are the top motivation for purchase decisions, not just while finalizing the sale, but at every step of the purchase cycle.
This was true for ten different areas of trade, such as, for instance, traveling, banking and apparel. While other factors that influence customer’s decision like advertising or price comparison websites influence their decision only at one stage of decision making, recommendations were extremely important throughout the purchase process.
As the authors state: ‘Over 8-in-10 purchases influenced by a recommendation are influenced by people talking face-to-face.’
That means that on average, only 2% of people who turn to your company because of a recommendation, will do so due to what they have read on social media.
Face-to-face recommendations usually come from friends or family and can be even more convincing than those of experts in a given field. If you want to gain customers through recommendations, make sure that customer feedback is positive.
#4. It helps you convince the customers to come back for more
Every store can sell a product to a given person once. That does not mean that the customer will come back. While you can polish aspects such as quality, price, and advertising of your product by observing the competition and market, there are some things that only a customer is going to point out.
Feedback may reflect on the factors that you did not take into account before, such as free shipping, safe packing, polite and available customer service consultants, user-friendly website.
Although at first, you might not get just positive reviews, that unique customer insight will help you understand the concept of customer’s desired approach and result in happy, repeat customers.
#5. Even bad feedback can be used to sell the product
Especially nowadays, when the competition is just two clicks away, it is absolutely indispensable to tackle any problems and/or misunderstandings immediately. Unhappy customers who provide feedback should be seen as a chance.
These buyers could just write a bad review on your social media profile, or even worse, leave an anonymous comment on a forum.
Instead, they have decided to contact you and share the unhappy experience, expecting that you do something about it. Such feedback should be valued even more than the perfectly happy one.
It’s important to create an action plan to tackle the unsatisfied customers’ feedback in the first place. Contact the customer, address the issue, provide the exact date when you will contact them again, if the issue is more complex, and make sure that you compensate them for the unhappy experience.
Without such a plan, things can go badly when you receive negative feedback.
You do not necessarily have to give them a free product, but even a 5% discount at your store will make this overall difficult experience, look much more positive for the customer.
Chances are, the new client will give you another shot and a regular will treat it as a small mistake that should be forgotten.
#6. Feedback helps you acquire new customers
What is the first thing you do when you look up a company whose product you’d like to buy? Reading opinions. As we already mentioned, personal recommendations are more effective than online reviews, however, that doesn’t mean that the latter should be underestimated.
According to data collected by Invesp, 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business website and 88% of customers trust these opinions almost as if they were personal recommendations.
If you care about the quality of the online reviews, better keep your finger on the pulse. Ask your customers and website visitors about their opinion and react before it appears on the Internet.
#7. Listening to customer feedback helps you build loyalty for the brand
Actively asking for feedback from clients using customer feedback software and responding to their opinions create a sort of relationship that makes the purchase process more personal. The customers begin to perceive your company as a business created by friendly people who truly care about their experience.
Maintaining relationships with clients pays off. Instead of being just a company who sells quality products, you become their favorite company.
To suggest that asking and collection customer feedback is beneficial for companies and brands is an understatement. The potential hidden behind what customers think of a product or service cannot be stressed enough. If we were to sum up the benefits of customer feedback, three would prove to be the most significant:
- Customer Feedback helps you improve Customer Experience
- Customer Feedback helps you improve your product/service
- Customer Feedback shows you how engaged and loyal your customers are
Mind the huge gap…
It is highly possible that a company may think it does its best to satisfy customers but -still- fall short on that domain.
The solution does not lie in the number of actions to be taken, but in their quality: first, you need to collect the feedback and then plan what is needed to be done to improve satisfaction and turn negative or neutral experiences into positive ones. Keep in mind that customers are the ones that determine whether a brand’s activation is valid in terms of enhancing their satisfaction or not.
As it has been already mentioned, feedback, when it stands on its own, is not effective. Its importance is revealed when it is translated to useful insights that take different forms and concern several domains, such as:
- Understanding of customers: what concerns them, what they favour and what they don’t like.
- Bottleneck detection: evaluate their gravity and find solutions.
- Customer engagement: what would make them happier and -eventually- loyal?
- Product improvement: use feedback to generate innovative ideas.
- Testimonials, reviews, referrals: social proof that builds brand trust and empowers customers
So, one way to gauge the significance of customer feedback is to think of it as the best way to discover a company’s performance in terms of customers’ satisfaction and as a source of the information essential towards achieving customer loyalty.
And if you’re wondering why a brand should aim for customer loyalty, here are some hard facts that showcase why loyalty through good customer experience is a key to growth:
Another way of looking at customer feedback is through its social proof potential. Audiences are often not entirely convinced or even distrustful of the information that is being communicated via advertising and they naturally turn to other sources that will guide them when they decide what to purchase and what to avoid.
Customer feedback, in its social proof forms (e.g. testimonials, product reviews), can serve as a means for brands to build trust. An impressing majority of people trust online reviews as much as the opinion of their friends. Social proof plays on our inherent desire to fit in, so it’s no wonder that its influence on customers’ decision-making has been growing tremendously and should not be underestimated.