Customer feedback has a significant impact on any business. Collecting feedback, listening to customers, and actively working on improving customer experience based on the feedback can help you improve your products and services. Hence, gathering authentic customer feedback in a scalable manner is a key business objective.
In this post, we’ll explore how a branded online community can be a powerful channel for feedback collection and the exact techniques to source feedback. Before we move forward let’s first summarize what exactly is customer feedback.
“In simple terms, customer feedback is the information given by a customer on how the company’s products and services meet the requirements and what can be improved to help the client achieve success.”
The importance of customer feedback
The Voice of the Customer (VoC) is the source of truth and likely the most important piece of data you can collect. It tells you if your solutions meet the expectations of the customers and if they are satisfied with your company. Here are some of the key benefits of feedback collections:
- Learn where your product and service can be improved.
- Instill a sense of involvement in your customers by actively listening and improve customer loyalty. According to Microsoft, 52% of people around the globe believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers.
- Getting good feedback opens a channel to tap into Word of Mouth marketing. More than two-thirds of people will have a positive view of a company that seeks feedback.
- Boost retention by fine-tuning the customer experience based on the feedback. A customer experience promoter has a lifetime value to a company that’s 600 to 1,400% that of a detractor.
- Manage your online reputation by collect feedback proactively and improve your brand image on review sites. According to American Express, on an average, one unhappy customer will tell about the poor experience to 15 other people.
Now let’s dive deep into how customer feedback impacts businesses.
According to research from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 68% of customers leave because they are upset with the treatment they’ve received. This means by improving the customer experience, a business can reduce the customer churn.
Ultimately this will contribute to better customer retention and higher customer lifetime value. Collecting feedback from customers is the most effective way to improve customer experience. You can identify areas of improvement and customer pain points so your product team can address the issues.
Another key factor is building meaningful relationships with customers by engaging them across the customer journey. This allows your brand to create a valuable bond. The best way to make the customers believe that as a business you place importance on their suggestions is to actively seek feedback. Based on this feedback, when you make improvements, customers learn that they are actually contributing to your project and develop a sense of belongingness.
Your online branded community creates an open channel for the customers to express their notions, post suggestions, and collaborate with peers as well as your internal team members. Since we explored various benefits of collecting feedback and in the next section, we’d explore how a brand can leverage an online community to source feedback.
Sourcing customer feedback from the online community
Since it is clear that customer feedback is critical for business growth, let’s now understand how brands can collect feedback from the online community. Before we move ahead, we must recognize that online communities, by nature, foster candid conversations. And this is the key to engaging customers and collecting feedback via the brand community.
Also, the ability to directly connect with your product team is yet another key factor that prompts your customers to share feedback. The openness of the community and the channel to bring in thought from other customers at the same time amplifies the customer insights you can gather. For example, if one customer shares feedback that certain product integration should be developed, you can quickly validate that as other customers would also chime in.
The easiest way to get started with feedback collection via the online community is to create a dedicated space where members can post feedback.
Here is an example that shows how Pipedrive’s community (powered by Tribe) has a dedicated section for collecting feedback:
Finally, all the feedback collected from the community would be fed to the central Voice of Customer software. You can also run different types of text mining techniques to extract latent insights (e.g., entity extraction, sentiment analysis).
As a brand, it is critical for you to set the right expectations — for instance, you should emphasize that your product will go through all the feedback and you would critically evaluate them. However, if a suggestion is submitted, that does not mean it will be actually implemented by your team.
Here is a post that describes the techniques for building a hub for feedback:
- Create a dedicated space for feedback
- Allocate an internal team to handle feedback
- Reward high-quality feedback
- Take calculated steps to lead the discussion or observe the discussion
- Measure success
Empowering with self-service channels and peer-to-peer networks
The online community augments your static knowledge base with dynamic conversations and adds another self-service support channel. In an online community, your customer can also get help from other customers. This collaboration and collective wisdom allow you to collect rich feedback when compared with simple surveys.
Finally, online communities are always live and customers can simply log in whenever they want to drop feedback. This is very similar to customers’ preference for round the clock access to support. Your brand community allows you to open up an “always-on” channel for customers to leave feedback, get desired help, and improve knowledge with the help of their peers.
Start collecting feedback with the brand community
Sourcing feedback on your products and services is imperative for focusing on what matters the most to your customers and steer your company towards growth. For example, Skyscanner leveraged a dedicated and branded online community to gather feedback on the user interface, design, new features, and experiments to derive valuable insights.
Now it is time for you to learn more about your existing customers and build an online community where they can connect with your brand as well as their peers. Once you build engagement, you would be able to successfully drive feedback collection and merge the community as one of the channels for capturing Voice of Customer.