What is a Customer Feedback Loop?
Collecting Customer Feedback has become a necessary task for the companies to grow their business by satisfying the customers. Without Customer Satisfaction, a business cannot even survive for long, forget about running it successfully. But collecting feedback is not enough! If you have collected feedback, it is crucial to act on it. In the words of Bruce Temkin, "Don’t waste customers’ time asking them questions unless you are prepared to act on what they say.”
Every complaint ignored is 26 customers lost because if you don't take Customer Feedback seriously, they not only stop doing business with you but also spread a bad word of mouth against you. And you really can't afford it. As with the increasing use of social media and growing trend of online reviews, bad word of mouth spreads in no time like a forest fire. Here are facts about it.
- According to Sprout Social, 47% of customers with a product or service complaint will voice it on social media.
- In 2018 it was estimated that there are at least 1.7 billion people active on social media and that number is still rising with new platforms popping up every year.
- Young people are 99% more likely to rely on online reviews than any of the older generations.
This reinforces the fact of the need to Close the Feedback Loop. A feedback loop is a part of a system in which some portion (or full) of system's output is used as input for future operations. When referring to Customer Feedback, the feedback provided by the customers is output for them. Whereas, the valuable information collected in the form of feedback data is input for you.
This input is to be utilized to make improvements in your goods and services in order to foster a better Customer Experience. A feedback loop has four stages:
- Ask: In the first stage, you survey your customers for feedback.
- Categorize: In the second stage, you collect the feedback and divide the responses into different categories.
- Act: In the third stage, You analyse the feedback and take required actions.
- Follow up: In the fourth stage, you follow up with the customers.
Let's study these stages in detail.
In this first stage, you ask the customers regarding their views about your products, services and the brand. For this, you prepare Customer Feedback Surveys and distribute them to your customers through different channels like email survey, SMS survey, kiosk survey, online and offline surveys and the customers provide you Customer Feedback in the form of survey responses.
You can also collect the feedback data through your social media webpages. In this stage, you get a rich feedback data to be used as your input in your Feedback Loop.
When you have collected the Customer Feedback data, in the next stage, you categorize the data collected. You can categorize the data as positive and negative feedback to know the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
If you do an NPS Survey, you can categorize your customers into promoters, detractors and passives on the basis of their survey responses. If you do a CSAT survey, you can categorize them on the basis of the ratings given by the customers like 'Excellent', 'Average' and 'Poor' and like.
This helps to bring out the information regarding the strong attributes of your products and services that make the customers feel delighted and what make the experience of the customers unpleasant that customers dislike.
In this third stage, you act on the feedback so collected which is the basis of the process of Closing the Feedback Loop. Taking action on the feedback involves working on the issues raised by the customers and resolving their complaints(if any) and at the same time, taking appropriate actions to avoid such issues in the future.
Moreover, it includes analyzing the customers' suggestions and ideas and implementing them by make the feasible changes in your business that can enhance Customer Satisfaction.
4. Follow Up
It is also a very important stage of the Feedback Loop. When you have worked on the Customer Feedback by taking appropriate actions and business decisions, it is essential to communicate your customers. In this step, you contact the customers and inform them that their feedback has been taken into consideration and worked upon. At the same time, you followup with the customers to ensure that they are satisfied with the actions taken.
When customers suggest something and you make those changes in your business, and inform them that you have made those changes, it gives them a great feeling of being listened and valued. This enhances their confidence in the brand and increases Customer Loyalty too.
Why Close the Feedback Loop?
We, at Zonka Feedback have written a lot about Closing the Feedback Loop — What is Closing the Feedback Loop, Best Practices of Closing the Feedback Loop, How to Close the Feedback Loop with NPS, How to Close the Feedback Loop to Improve Customer Satisfaction, 5 Strategies to Close the Negative Feedback Customer Feedback Loop, Automation you should know and Use and so on.
We are often asked why we stress so much on Closing the Feedback Loop. It's not something that we should ideally care about, since like all Feedback and Survey tools focus (and earn) from businesses collecting feedback and don't really need to bothered with what you do after you collect feedback.
But we think collecting feedback is really useless if you aren't doing much about it. Its like spending a couple of hours in preparing a delicious food stuff and not consuming it! That's how important Closing the Feedback Loop is.
Closing the Feedback Loop is the process of working on a feedback and implementing the changes required in the business as requested or suggested by the customers and then telling the customers what you have done.
You do everything that helps you in collecting Customer Feedback effectively. You create beautiful surveys, send them to your customers through various channels like SMS, emails, online and offline surveys; remind and follow up with your clients to respond, give them time, wait patiently and then you get this valuable information from your customers.
But if you stop here, the entire hard work and a good investment of your time and resources goes in vain. Closing the Feedback Loop is necessary because this is the reason feedback was collected for. Not doing this process defeats the entire purpose of collecting feedback.
On the other hand, if you do Close the Feedback Loop, the benefits are too many. Let's explore them here.
Benefits of Closing the Customer Feedback Loop
- It helps to improve Customer Loyalty
- It helps to prevent Customer Churn
- It helps to save Goodwill of the company
- It helps to improve Employee Performance
- It helps to increase Sales and Profits
Let's learn how Closing the Feedback Loop effectively helps to derive these benefits:
1. It helps to improve Customer Loyalty
Every action has a reaction. So when you take action on Customer Feedback and satisfy the customers, there is always a positive reaction of the customers. When you work on feedback given by the customers, resolve their issues, and improve their experience, they realize this.
When you take feedback seriously and do changes in your business as per their suggestions, and inform them that you have done so, they feel listened, valued and connected with your business. This increases their loyalty towards your business and they can literally become your marketing agents. In this way, you can not only shift your passives towards becoming promoters, but can even convert your detractors into promoters.
2. It helps to prevent Customer Churn
Why do customers churn? Either because they had a poor experience with you, or they got a much better offer from somewhere else. But if you focus on providing the best Customer Experience, they will not even look for any cheaper options. Studies suggest that 86% of customers are always willing to pay for a great Customer Experience.
Closing the Customer Feedback Loop helps you provide a much better Customer Experience. Customer Feedback tells you about what they feel about their experience. And working on it and Closing the Loop improves their experience to a large extent.
By working on complaints and resolving their issues, a negative experience can change into positive that helps in customer retention. Moreover, working on customers' opinion makes them happy and boost their confidence into the brand which in turn motivates them to stay with a brand.
3. It helps to save Goodwill of the company
Goodwill or reputation of an organization is also an important factor that affect your sales. If you do not ask for feedback from your customers, they share it anyway through online reviews or social media. But if you collect for feedback but still do not do anything about it, it adds to their frustration especially in case of negative feedback.
This can lead them spread a bad word of mouth in the market. And word of mouth promotion is the most trusted of all forms of marketing. 86% of customers trust word-of-mouth reviews and recommendations. Moreover online reviews and social media are great medium of spreading word of mouth like a forest fire. 88% of customers trust online reviews.
Whereas if you work on feedback, customers will give positive reviews and spread a good word of mouth about your brand in the market. Therefore you must work on Closing the Feedback Loop in order to save your goodwill.
4. It helps to improve Employee Performance
If Customer Feedback helps to track Employees' performance, then Closing the Customer Feedback Loop helps to improve it. By practicing the process of Closing the Feedback Loop, the employees get to know the right things to be done and the right processes to be followed.
Moreover, they learn how to resolve certain issues and find solution to the problems. This helps them to develop skills of fixing up the things and improving Customer Experience.
5. It helps to increase Sales and Profits
Following the process of Closing the Feedback Loop ultimately benefits you in terms of sales and revenue as working on this process leads to a great Customer Experience that directly motivates the clients to stay a longer period of time with a brand.
Moreover, the positive word of mouth and positive reviews help to build a good reputation in the market that attract more customers directly increasing your sales and revenue.
How to Close the Feedback Loop?
Now, when we have understood the importance of Closing the Feedback loop, the question arises how this process should be carried out. The first thing you need to do to Close the Feedback Loop is to collect the Customer Feedback.
Customer Feedback is an important and valuable information and taking this from the customers is not such an easy tasks. Many customers don't reply to feedback emails and SMS due to various reasons. So you need to follow a proper process of taking feedback and then working on it. For this, you need to follow these steps:
- Set up team: First of all, you should set up a team for collecting Customer Feedback. You should assign activities to your staff to collect and work on various feedback.
- Configure Alerts and Notifications: You should deploy an effective Customer Feedback Software that can help you create beautiful and customizable surveys to seek your customers for feedback. A good Survey Software like Zonka Feedback helps you to configure alerts and notifications for feedback and negative feedback. This will really help you to look into the concerns at the right time and Close the Feedback loop effectively.
- Take Feedback: Then you need to take feedback from the customers through surveys. Zonka Feedback helps you to send surveys through various channels like SMS, emails, kiosks, online and offline surveys in order to collect feedback.
- Categorize the Feedback: As soon as you get survey responses, you can categorize the feedback through Zonka Feedback on the basis of customer responses. To categorize, you can:
- Use Filters - You can use filters to pick a particular type of feedback.
- Use Response Tagging - You can also use Response Tagging feature of Zonka Feedback that allows you to segregate the feedback into categories like negative, positive, neutral etc.
- Use Contact Lists - You can also use contact lists to divide your customers on the basis of their attributes like their location, age groups, and purchase history.
- Take Action to Close the Loop: Here comes the main step of the process for which all hard work you had been doing to collect Customer Feedback i.e. to take action on the feedback to Close the Loop. For this, you should respond to the customers at the earliest. First of all, you must thank the customers for their feedback and acknowledge that their feedback is taken. Then you should look into the feedback for the action required at your end.
- Automated Responses to Customers: At first, an automated response like a formal email or an SMS should reach the customers for acknowledgement and thanking them to spend their valuable time for giving feedback.
- Tasks created: You should create tasks related to actions to be taken on Customer Feedback and assign them to team members.
- Taking Action: Then you should take appropriate actions towards as per the feedback given by the customers.
- Adding Notes: After that you should add notes for internal teams about the customers' concern and actions taken for that or anything required for that to Close the Feedback Loop.
Setting up a Team
Addressing feedback doesn't happen in isolation. A team, be it as small as 1-2 persons (or yourself), needs to be made responsible for receiving the feedback and addressing issues.
With Zonka Feedback, you can easily set up your team by adding Users in your account. Users are your team members who you have given access to view and control information about the feedback and survey responses you're capturing using Zonka Feedback. They can invited with their email address to your Feedback Account.
The Team Members and Users you add in your account can have different roles and can be assigned to different locations. If you have multiple locations and don't want Location A Users to access data for Location B, assigning locations comes very handy.
While inviting a User to your Zonka Feedback account, you have to select a Role for them. This Role will define what access your Team Members have and what access they won't have while in the account.
The different User Roles & Permissions are as follows.
- Account Owner: The Account Owner is the person who signed up for the Zonka Feedback account.
- Administrator: Admin users have complete access to all modules, except Subscription.
- View & Respond: View & Respond Users can view Responses and Reports and can Respond to Survey Responses using Tasks and Notes.
- View Only: View Only Users have access to view Responses and Reports.
- Device Users: Device Users are Users that only can log into the Device to take feedback and manage Devices. When you're using Survey App and Kiosk Surveys, Devices Users are very important for managing the iPad Surveys and Android Surveys on ground.
Benefits of Setting up your Team
- Looping all team members: By setting up a team, you don't need to separately loop in team members for taking action or to respond. You can loop the whole team so that all can view the raised concerns and the appropriate person can take action accordingly.
- Reducing time for taking action: Setting up a team helps in reducing time taken for taking action on Customer Feedback. If one person is not available, others can take action.
- Ability to measure Team and Staff Responsive to Customer Issues: Setting up a team gives you the ability to measure the responsiveness of your staff to customers' concerns. It enables you to recognize your proactive staff who can take initiative and bring back the miffed customers on time before they churn.
- Helps build Accountability amidst team members: It helps to build accountability of the team towards Customer Satisfaction and motivates them to provide a great Customer Experience.
Configure Alerts & Notifications based on your Feedback Form
It's really impractical to expect someone to read all feedback in real-time and continuously assign to the right team members. Even if you can afford an extra team member just to do this task — we prefer you utilize the team member to do more actionable things, rather than do something that an easy automation can achieve.
With Zonka Feedback, you can configure alerts and notifications to keep your team members clued in, in the moment, without having to constantly rely on looking at an app. Let's explore all the amazing things you can do with Alerts and Notifications in Zonka Feedback.
Set up Real-time Notifications for every Response
Want the team to be updated for every response? Set up real-time notifications for the team to get on email as soon as new Survey Responses comes in.
Set up Real-time Notifications based on Metrics (NPS, CSAT and CES)
If you're getting a lot of responses, from various sources, getting notifications for every response may be very redundant and may defeat the purpose of setting these up entirely. Because eventually if there is an influx of a lot of notifications, the important ones will eventually get missed out. So, you can instead set up notifications for Detractors (based on NPS), Unsatisfied Customers (based on CSAT) and High Effort Customers (based on CES). This way your team will be updated as soon as there is a negative feedback and they can trigger action on it immediately to prevent churn.
Set up Custom Alerts based on any conditions
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to feedback and surveys. Keeping that in mind, we have designed 'Custom Alerts' in Zonka Feedback. With Custom Alerts, you can set up any condition in your survey to trigger a notification to your team member (or even your respondent). The email notification is completely customizable and are send when the conditions are met. Here's how this helps:
- Set any conditions: Set multiple conditions and filters based on which you'd like to trigger the Feedback Alerts.
- Send to different team members: Have an issue that's relevant to the admin team? Send the notification only to the admin team and leave the rest out. This ensures that no one in your team receives irrelevant updates and when they do receive an update they know it's something need to action on.
- Customize your Email Alert: Customize your Feedback Alert entirely to include response information, contact information or anything else you may find relevant for your team to action on the feedback.
- Send to Respondents: Besides sending automated notifications to Team Members, you can also trigger messages for the Respondents and send it to Survey Respondents.
- Send Custom Alerts through Slack: Using Zonka Feedback and Slack Integration, you can set up notifications for your team members to receive on Slack directly or on Slack Channels. The conditions for the Survey Alert on Slack, the message and the questions can be customized. Condition-based alerts can be set for different channels and team members.
Taking Feedback from Respondents
To work on Customer Feedback, it is a prerequisite to collect it first. Zonka Feedback helps you to collect feedback from your customers in effective and easy ways. You can collect feedback on-premises, off-premises, on your website, after transaction, after home delivery and so on. You can use these different channels to collect feedback based on different situations and based on where your customers are most likely to be and to respond. Here are some ways in which you can collect feedback.
- On Premises Feedback: You can collect on-premises feedback from your customers when they are still at your place. iPads, Android Tablets and Kiosks are ideal to use for this purpose. You can reach your customers with the iPad or Android handy and hand it over to the customers for some time to fill the feedback survey. You an also set up kiosks at various touch points of your workplace like reception, waiting area etc.
- Online & Website Feedback: You can also collect Customer Feedback online on your website. On the website, it is ideal to use Web Surveys, Web Popups, Web Embedded Surveys. Web surveys are a great option that should be always available on your website so that customers can easily find it and provide their valuable feedback. Web pop ups are great to prompt the visitors to give feedback, and Web Embedded surveys are a great way to ask customers for feedback. Zonka Feedback helps to collect feedback through all these methods.
- Remote Feedback: You an also gather remote feedback from your customers with the help of Email Surveys and SMS Surveys. Zonka Feedback enables you to send survey emails and texts with embedded surveys and survey links to multiple customers in a matter of few clicks.
- Home Delivery or Post Appointment or Post Visit or Post Purchase Feedback: You can also gather Customer Feedback after a home delivery, an appointment, a customer visit or a purchase or billing. Zonka Feedback enables you to gather feedback survey responses through QR Codes and feedback links that can be printed on bills or delivery boxes or through email and SMS surveys.
- Automated Feedback: For obtaining Customer Feedback by sending them surveys automatically, it is ideal to connect your Survey Software to your tools using Integrations, APIs and Webhooks. This helps in triggering Surveys based on an event or transaction. As soon as a transaction or billing is done, it triggers the system and an automated survey email or SMS is sent to the customer asking for feedback with a feedback link or an embedded survey.
In this way, Zonka Feedback helps you to obtain Customer Feedback through multiple channels easily as per your requirement.
Categorizing the Feedback
Now you have got all the survey responses and you have collected a rich data on which you need to act. Can you take the same action on all the feedback? Certainly not! You cannot give the same reaction and solution to a fully satisfied customer and a typically irate customer.
Imagine you are a dissatisfied customer with the services of a restaurant. You provide your feedback complaining about the pathetic services of the restaurant. And in return you get an automated message saying "Thank You for your feedback. We are happy to know that you enjoyed dining at our restaurant. Keep giving us opportunity to serve you!"
How would you feel? This is something that shows that you are not valued and hot even heard! Same is with your customers. Even if you are using automated messages for thanking the customers for feedback, there must a process followed to categorize your respondents.
Zonka Feedback doesn't leave you with a loads of feedback. It also helps you to categorize your customers on the basis of their feedback and ratings given by them so that you can work on the feedback thus received and Close the Feedback Loop on the following basis:
1. Based on Customer Satisfaction Metrics
You can divide the respondents into different categories based on the scores they give you in the Customer Satisfaction metrics survey. Here is how Zonka Feedback helps you to categorize your feedback.
- NPS Survey: When you take Net Promoter Score survey, you ask your customers to rate their experience on the basis of their likeliness to recommend your brand to others a scale of 0-10. Zonka Feedback automatically categorizes the respondents into categories of Promoters, Detractors and Passives and provides you the data of number of these three. Customers rating 9 and 10 are put into the category of Promoters, those rating 7 and 8 are put into Passives and those rating 0-6 are put into the category of Detractors.
- CSAT Survey: In a CSAT(Customer Satisfaction) survey, the customers are asked to rate their satisfaction as Pathetic, Bad, Average, Good and Excellent. Zonka Feedback enables you to ask this question and give options in the form of emoticons of your choice. Moreover, you will get the data categorized by the number of respondents selecting each smiley so that you can categorize your customers on the basis of the extent of their satisfaction.
- CES Survey: In a CES or Customer Effort Score Survey, customers are asked whether they agree with the statement "The company made it easy for me to resolve my issue." or not. The option s given to them are Strongly Disagree, Agree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, Disagree and Strongly Disagree. Zonka Feedback helps you to categorize your respondents by giving you the exact data as to how many people selected which option.
2. Based on any other question in your survey
You can also categorize your respondents on the basis of any question in your survey. Zonka Feedback provides you filters to use in order to view specific responses . You can use filters and apply Tags to your Responses in the Response Inbox with date, question or anything you want to view and categorize with.
3. Based on Location, Devices, Time and more filters
If you have multiple locations, you can use locations as groups within the company or brands within a location and categorize them with that. Zonka Feedback helps you to apply filters on location groups, time on which the customers provided their feedback and customer attributes like age group, gender etc. to have a detailed report on you customers groups and their feedback.
4. Based on Comments / Text Analytics
You can also categorize your Customer Feedback on the basis of their comments. With Zonka Feedback, you get a feature of Text Analysis that help you to categorize your feedback as negative, positive, or neutral. It gives you a word cloud. You can choose words to pickup like great, excellent, good, pathetic, poor, thank etc. It gives you a report as to how many customers use these words how many times. This enables you to categorize your feedback even through comments from your customers and know how many negative and positive feedback you have got.
Taking Action to Close the Loop
Now comes the most important task for which you have build teams, collected Customer Feedback and categorized it. This crucial task is to take appropriate actions in order to Close the Feedback Loop.
Imagine this - you ask your staff to get feedback from customers. The customers tell the staff that they are unhappy. But because you haven't equipped the staff to take action, they are only receiving feedback. No action gets taken. How would the customers feel? They will get even more frustrated with this which will certainly result in customer churn.
When you have collected feedback, you reach a stage where you know what customers think and feel about your products and services, processes and the brand. So why not take action on it? Whether the feedback is negative or positive, it is necessary to Close the Feedback Loop properly to build a great customer relationship.
For this, you should assign tasks to your team and team members to take actions and revert on the feedback from the customers. Here is what you should do for different types of feedback.
1. Positive Feedback
When you receive a positive feedback, you feel good but you can't stop there. You should always acknowledge the feedback and close the loop in an effective way.
- You must revert the customers with a Thank You message or email to show gratitude towards them.
- You can give offer them discounts on their next purchase.
- You can give bonus discount on referrals if they refer other persons and any other schemes to motivate them to stay loyal with your brand.
All these small free bees make the customers feel valued it and motivate the customers to stay with you for a longer time. It also increases Customer Loyalty which is very good to increase your sales and business.
2. Negative Feedback
Negative Feedback is the most crucial feedback you need to deal with. If not done anything on the negative feedback, the customers not only themselves leave your business but also stop other people to opt your brand through their negative word of mouth and negative reviews on social media.
But wait, negative feedback not always means that your customers will leave you. In fact, it means that they trust you and have that confidence in you that yo will do something about their concerns. That is why they share it with you. that gives you an opportunity to change a negative feedback into a positive one. Here is what you should do to Close a Negative Feedback Loop.
- Deal with Negative Feedback on Priority as miffed customers can't wait for long. 50% of the customers wait for a week for a brand to respond to their questions or concerns raised before they stop doing business with that.
- Listen to your customers with patience. Give them opportunity to express their negative emotions as it is necessary to calm them down. If you don't do so, they will express it somewhere else and will affect your goodwill.
- Accept your mistake and apologize when you see there is something wrong at your end and assure them to fix it as soon as possible. Even if it's not your fault, empathize with them and look what you can do to make their negative Customer Experience a positive one.
- Take appropriate action to improve Customer Experience and give your customers a timeline to fix the things up for them. Also, do remember that improving their experience may cause you some more expenditure, but losing them can cause you a great loss for lifetime.
- After you take appropriate action, do inform them what you have done for them and what changes you have taken in your business to avoid such experience in the future. This is really important and final step towards Closing the Customer Feedback Loop effectively. Doing this will not only improve their experience but make their experience positive and can even entirely change their mindset about you and your brand.
- You can also offer them certain discounts and schemes for their next purchase as a token of apology and a compensation in regard of their negative experience. This will motivate them to again opt for your brand and will thus prevent Customer Churn.
3. Neutral Feedback
When you get an average or a neutral feedback, Closing the Loop is still important. In fact, they are your most vulnerable customers who can try your other brands as soon as they get a little better opportunity, and your competitors can take advantage of it. Here is how you should Close the Feedback Loop with neutral feedback.
- Thank them for providing their feedback as this is the most valuable information they can give.
- Ask them what you can do to make their experience better.
- Ask for suggestions if they have any be it bringing a change in your products or processes or anything. Welcome their suggestions and see what you can follow.
- Make business decisions as per their suggestions as far you can and inform them that you are doing this. This will make them feel more connected with the business and shift them towards becoming your loyal customers. This will result in their business continuation with you for a longer period and will even help in bringing more customers to your business.