This won’t shock you: consistent customer feedback is critical to the success of your products and services. But it’s not just about collecting all feedback and adding it to your product roadmap. Certain approaches yield more valuable data. You also want to ensure you’re incorporating various sources that reflect the diversity of your customer base to gain a balanced perspective.
Examine what customers say about you
Companies can capture customer brand sentiment in several ways: exit surveys following a website visit or customer service call, online product reviews and more. Surveys provide focused insight around specific concerns, while product reviews offer broader, more open-ended perceptions.
It’s great to have a lot of feedback, but not all feedback is useful. When analyzing what customers say, consider the following:
Timing: How soon after a brand interaction did your customer provide feedback? If it was very recent, that contact is fresh in their mind, so it will likely be more accurate. If there’s been a significant delay – like through a quarterly CSAT survey with weeks to months separating the experience from the feedback loop – there’s a risk that the customer won’t remember things clearly.
Situation: Imagine a scenario where a user interacts with customer service and is asked to provide feedback on their experience with the product soon after. The customer’s sentiment may be influenced by their recent interaction with customer service; e.g., if the issue was resolved, feedback may be extraordinarily positive. If not, it may be very negative. Weighting the interaction must be part of your evaluation.
User expectations: No matter how clearly companies position products and explain their features and value, some customers will find that the product does not live up to their expectations. This often happens because a customer tries to use the product in a way that it was not intended to be used. It’s important to isolate such feedback and thoroughly analyze it to determine whether this presents an opportunity for product enhancement, or if the feedback is not within the brand’s core direction.
Analyze customer behavior
Don’t just rely on what people say: consider what they do. You can gather a lot of data in live systems to understand customer behavior. Interestingly enough, you may find that what a customer says contradicts what their behavior tells us.
You can learn about customer behavior through:
Customer journey metrics: This can be a great source of information and show you where customers dropped off along the customer journey. Site or app analytics can tell you what happened, but not why. Sometimes you don’t need to know why – for example, when doing A/B testing. But if you do, then real user feedback is essential to understand why the customer behaved as they did.
- Customer service logs: Customer service tools include a number of automated options such as IVR systems and chatbots. Logs provide indicators of the number of customers who opt to use automated systems versus “zeroing out” to speak to a live person. Again, this type of indirect feedback is data-driven by nature, and as a result, showcases indicators (the what) but doesn’t explain a customer’s actions. To understand the why and change the behavior, you must gain user feedback on specific aspects of their interactions with your brand.
Use the feedback you’ve gathered to drive product improvements
Now that you have all this information, what’s next? To translate this data into meaningful insights that will drive the product roadmap, you must deeply analyze it. To gain valid insight, contextually interpret the feedback. Look for patterns: Are there certain tasks users consistently struggle to complete in your app, or do you have functionality that people rave about in product reviews? Pay particular attention to negative feedback to determine the root cause. Will a product update remedy the situation? Would such an update be in line with the brand?
It is clear that user feedback is extremely valuable, but what you do with that feedback is most important. As customer expectations rise, so does the need to incorporate real user feedback into your processes to ensure you are building products and experiences that will keep your customers coming back for more. Regular customer feedback and insight into behavior give you a better understanding of your customers’ needs and expectations. This sets your brand up for continued success while strengthening customer loyalty along the way.