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How to Use a Customer Feedback Loop to Fuel Your Growth

How to Use a Customer Feedback Loop to Fuel Your Growth

Customer feedback can be the cornerstone of your growth. But first, you need a way to collect, analyze, and respond to it.

You go to your local airport and use the self-check-in kiosk to print your boarding pass and drop off your luggage.

The problem is that the kiosk is a pain to use. For some reason, it keeps timing you out. Not only that, but it doesn’t recognize your booking number. 

Eventually, it works, but you walk away frustrated by how long it took.

You get a text message an hour later while waiting to board, which asks you to fill out a short survey about your self-check-in experience. You leave some honest feedback and get on your flight.

The next time you go back, you use the same system. Only this time, it’s a much smoother and simplified version. You input your passport number, and voila, your boarding pass and luggage tags are ready.

You might not think much of this experience, but in the background, the airline has a system to collect, analyze, and act on customer feedback.

It’s what’s known as a customer feedback loop, and in this article, we’re going to tackle how to create one.

A Customer Feedback Loop Is Your North Star

Chances are you’ve heard the Henry Ford quote, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Few people know that Ford lost its grip on the market with the onset of the innovations introduced by General Motors in the 1920s. Instead of Ford’s attitude of “any color as long as it’s black,” GM introduced a car “for any purse and purpose.”

It was clear what people wanted, and it wasn’t faster horses. It was more choice and better financing options.

What we’re getting at is that the best products come from working nonstop to understand the people who buy from you.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. You need to know who to gather feedback from, and ultimately which feedback to listen to and act on. 

1. Collecting Customer Feedback

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey is an index ranging from 1 to 10 that measures customers’ willingness to recommend a company’s products or services to others. Most NPS surveys have a second step that asks customers for any additional comments.

Here’s an example from Soapbox.

According to Bain and Company data, companies with the highest NPS in their industry tend to outgrow their competitors by at least 2x.

NPS is undoubtedly a great way to capture a high-level view of your customer service and how happy your customers are. But it’s not going to give you all the details you need. 

What we recommend doing is following up with any customers who fall into the passive or detractor category.

You can send NPS surveys via SMS and when you receive a reply with negative feedback, send a text along the lines of: 

“Hey, sorry to hear you didn’t have a good experience with our product/service. We would love to make it right. Are you available for a quick chat today?”

2. Analyze the Feedback for Trends

When you get on these calls, use this Google Sheet from the folks at GrooveHQ to record your customers’ feedback.

Not every bit of feedback is valuable. If only one person out of a 100 wishes your product or service could do something it doesn’t, then it’s probably not worth your time.

The same is true if you see the same pain points time and time again. 

For example, if you’re an operations manager for a lunch delivery service for office workers and see that 60% of your customers want you to start offering a vegan option, you should probably do it.

Once you’ve analyzed your customer feedback, you’ll want to share it with these three teams to get their perspective on how to use it to improve the customer experience:

  • Product team
  • Customer Support team
  • Marketing and Sales team(s)

You can either share feedback daily, weekly, or monthly in a “digest” or real-time using email alerts or Slack alerts. (At SimpleTexting, we use the latter approach for all product feedback.)

Once you’ve analyzed the feedback and consulted with all the stakeholders, it’s time to act. 

It’s helpful to bucket the feedback into three categories. We’ll use the lunch delivery service as an example:

  • Low-Hanging Fruit: Immediate tactical adjustments you can make to improve your product or service, e.g., adding allergy information to the online ordering system.
  • Medium Term: Actions that impact revenue, not this month, but over the next year, e.g., adding more lunch options for different diets.
  • Long Term: Game-changing ideas and suggestions for the long term, e.g., offering a dinner service.

3. Act on the Feedback

When coming up with solutions to issues you uncover through customer feedback, think in stages. 

First, consider the insight and gather input for change from front-line employees. Next, define the plan for change and test it against your budgets and resources.

If you’re the lunch delivery service, you might run a short test where you offer dinner and assess the change’s impact.

Closing the customer feedback loop involves letting your customers know you’ve listened to them. Here’s an example from CVS.

Why You Need to Apply This to Your Business

Getting feedback isn’t a one-time play. It’s a constant process that never ends.

At SimpleTexting, our customers’ feedback directly impacts our product and the way we think. It’s played a significant role in our success to date.

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be an all-consuming process. Even if you start by talking to a few customers, you might learn something that changes the way you think about your business.

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