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How to unleash the power of Customer Feedback

How to unleash the power of Customer Feedback

By Carolyn Hall, Product Marketing Manager, Confirmit.

In 2010 there is no excuse for keeping your marketing insight languishing in a silo, away from your core business processes.

Thanks to today’s Web-based technologies, an unprecedented number of opportunities exists to generate real business value from this information.

By embracing a customer feedback programme, you can gain insight into customer attitudes, and learn important truths about today’s buying behaviour as well as the evolving attitudes that will determine future buying behaviour.

Understanding customer attitudes enables you to undertake rapid remedial activity to prevent customer churn. Additionally, you can maximise cross selling opportunities.

The marketing department can use this programme to drive tailored marketing campaigns and strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customers. These programs are not just about making customers happy, they deliver real commercial value too.

1. Exercises for the brand

By implementing a feedback programme you initiate a two-way customer conversation, helping your customers become truly entrenched within your brand – from product creation to response to complaints. This increased consumer engagement forges far tighter purchasing relationships and builds significant brand value.

This constant, relevant communication also provides an excellent platform for the creation of personalised, relevant promotions, creating a win-win that further builds the relationship. Better still, as you capture customer experiences and embed this insight into your business, you are able to make better-informed business decisions.

2. Learn how to share

However, few organisations today have created the tightly integrated framework required to truly maximise the value of customer conversations across the company. In many cases, feedback data sits in a series of silos. Keeping it completely separate from other customer data reduces its value to little more than ‘mildly interesting.’

This lack of visibility into customer data by the marketing team means that irrespective of investments in customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing resource management (MRM), marketing’s interaction with the business remains, at best, a sporadic provision of leads to the sales team.

3. Time is of the essence

Timing is crucial in getting the most from the feedback you gather. If one of your customers has a poor experience with your contact centre, leading them to defect to a competitor, there is little point in contacting that customer three months later.

The moment has passed and the opportunity has been missed. If you had gained insight into that customer’s attitude when the problem occurred, with alerts to the relevant customer complaint team, the issue could have been resolved immediately and the defection avoided.

Volumes of evidence show increased loyalty amongst customers whose issues were resolved successfully. Improved customer retention and increased loyalty—what’s not to like?

4. Marketing team harnesses customer insight

Timely, focused surveys can also transform the speed, relevance and value of product development campaigns and foster unprecedented customer loyalty and commitment.  This information is critical to infusing the value of customer attitudes directly into your business.

Consider this example, in which loyal customers stood ready to share their experiences. Egg, the world’s largest online-only bank and now a Citigroup division, used its feedback programme to reduce the time to market of an, innovative product from up to one year to five weeks.

Egg surveyed 30,000 existing customers about the proposed customer proposition. A key success factor here was the fact that Egg’s customers were already accustomed to regular personalised online contact. The company had been using online surveying technology for five years to manage the customer experience. The customised nature of these surveys – with customer name and recent activity – led to higher response rates. .

Building a programme that enables you to continuously take your customers’ pulse and build an on-going dialogue in times of trouble is crucial in aligning your business with your customers’ attitudes.

To avoid generic feedback that you can’t act on, you should ensure that this pulse check happens in conjunction with key customer interactions. For example, a retailer feedback request would coincide with a purchase, return, or a contact centre enquiry.  With the right tools and approach, you can use an alert system to ensure immediate action.

It is only by combining this real time understanding of customer attitude with true business integration that you can fully leverage the good work done in creating a customer dialogue. Silos are so 2009, so get integrating!

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