We’ve talked about the importance of sharing feedback with colleagues, now we explain why you should encourage colleagues to respond to feedback, too.
In this blog we’ve talked many times about the importance of responding to customers when they give you feedback. Acknowledging customers’ experience and where necessary telling them what you are going to do (and doing it), will immediately get you significant kudos. If you want to provide an excellent customer experience, this is a must.
But many businesses are concerned about how to do this, worried that they will get lots of feedback from customers and struggle to respond. Understandably there are worries about resourcing or having to create a new team or little cottage industry to deal with responding to feedback.
You don’t need to do this. The key is to avoid keeping customer feedback centralised. Of course, someone needs to own the customer feedback programme, but organisations are most successful when they channel the feedback to colleagues who deal with customers, and empower them to respond (and give them the tool to do it easily). You don’t need extra headcount, you just need to think through roles and responsibilities before you start collecting feedback, and to avoid resourcing bottlenecks you also need to make sure you don’t survey every customer at once.
This approach delivers outstanding results. A practical strategy for prompt follow-up increases customer satisfaction and retention and this directly improves the financial performance of any business.
Every business is different, of course, and who sees which customer feedback (and should duly respond) will vary. Customer feedback obtained following a transaction with a contact centre agent is perhaps best channelled to that particular agent, so they can see the feedback which relates to them and learn from it. In some businesses, the agent is best placed to respond, in others it might be channelled to a colleague who can respond appropriately.
This is one of the ways our client Marmalade Insurance has seen success, not only do they share feedback at an organisational level, but they share with individuals too, which has helped improve morale and motivation of frontline staff.
In business-to-business environments, an Account Manager might be responsible for certain clients, and they should receive and respond to the feedback. This might also be the case in B2C situations where some customers or segments are regarded as ‘the most valuable’ and require personal account management.
In high performing customer-centric companies, the feedback programme isn’t siloed. Colleagues are encouraged to read, take ownership and respond accordingly. The culture of the organisation actively promotes and celebrates this.
The essential point to realise is that your goal should be to make customers feel that giving feedback was a positive experience, not one which left them feeling ignored when they‘ve given you an actionable suggestion or a cry for help.
We’re not suggesting getting to this point is easy. People will think they haven’t got the time to do this, and some managers will be reluctant to add another task to their list. However, in reality, it takes less time and bandwidth than people imagine. Most pieces of feedback will simply require a personalised acknowledgement note, with a smaller minority requiring some action. But by doing this, the customer is happier and any issues are nipped in the bud before they escalate.
With the right tool, responding to feedback can be done quickly and easily. Incoming feedback can be categorised, enabling people to prioritise which feedback to respond to first (for example, those who have an issue or something has gone wrong and they need an immediate fix, or from most valuable customers).
Owners of the customer feedback programme should be able to see how many and which pieces of feedback are ‘open’ (not responded to yet), and where appropriate channel them to colleagues to deal with. Closing the feedback loop in this way positively impacts customer sentiment without overwhelming the people responsible for doing it.
Colleagues feel involved and closer to the customer, the customer loves the fact that someone has read their feedback (or distress signal) and replied, and the business has a greater handle on what is important to customers and what they need to focus on to improve.
We have a helpful guide on how best to respond to customer feedback.
At CustomerSure, we’re fanatical about helping our customers drive tangible business benefits through their customer feedback process. To help, we produce a wide range of guides and resources to assist at every stage of the journey.
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