How to Turn Passive Customers Into Passionate Followers By Closing the Customer Feedback Loop
By Ron Welty, Founder & Chief Client Officer
The customer feedback loop is one of the most effective ways to understand your customers’ evolving needs and expectations. But simply gathering customer feedback isn’t enough. Closing the customer feedback loop can be an equally important part of the process.
When customers know their feedback is valued, it can inspire them to continue to give their feedback in the future. Closing the loop can help reduce churn, build trust, and turn passive customers into passionate followers. It can also be a powerful brand differentiator. While 95 percent of companies actively collect customer feedback, Gartner found that only 10 percent actually leverage it to improve their product and only 5 percent bother telling their customers that they did.
Brands can close the customer feedback loop by responding to and acting on customer feedback―solicited or otherwise. To do so requires more than just an automated “thank you” message when customers submit their feedback. Follow these best practices for closing the customer feedback loop within your organization.
Set Customer Expectations
Closing the loop doesn’t only happen at the end of the customer journey. You can start by setting customer expectations right from the start. Create channels to communicate with your customers about how you collect, manage, and use their feedback. Provide examples of how you’ve used feedback in the past to implement some of your customers’ favorite product, service, and experience offerings. This will help customers understand why their feedback is important and how it can help improve their experiences with your brand.
Get Ahead of Negative Feedback
Along with setting expectations, you’ll also want to be transparent about any known issues or concerns. Be proactive in addressing these sources of friction with your customers ahead of time. A good example of this is Chik-Fil-A telling everyone they are closed on Sundays, so customers don’t show up hungry only to find the restaurant is closed. This is much more effective than saying, “We know our fries are soggy and we’re working on it.”
Keep Customers in the Loop
When closing the loop, make sure you aren’t taking your customers out of it. Maintain constant communication to keep customers engaged throughout the process. Be sure to:
- Acknowledge their feedback. The majority of customers expect responses within an hour when engaging with brands on social media, and ignoring negative feedback altogether can decrease customer advocacy by as much as 50 percent.
- Address any negative feedback and take the necessary steps to turn their experience with your brand into a positive one.
- Inform customers of the action(s) you took to improve the customer experience.
Personalize Your Responses
Customers crave authentic, personalized experiences in all of their interactions with your company, including touchpoints where feedback is given. Forgo canned, templated responses in favor of personalized responses that covey your acknowledgement of the issue and commitment to working on it, or your appreciation for the positive feedback from the customer. Also, be sure to address the customer by name (rather than “Valued Customer”) and incorporate some details from the feedback in your response.
Open Another Loop
Receiving feedback is great, but don’t let it stop there. Closing the customer loop should be seen as the start of a conversation, not the end of one. Customers who provide feedback are already engaged and can be ongoing resources for feedback in the future. Use this as an opportunity to continue to meet the customer’s needs, now and in the future.
For example, after receiving complaints about a slow website and taking steps to speed it up, you could ask customers to provide their feedback again to see how their experiences have changed.
When opening another loop, be careful to avoid sounding like a salespitch. It’s important to earn the customer’s trust and permission first, then build your community. Once you’ve converted your customers into passionate followers and brand advocates, you can then ask for additional feedback on the other products and services you offer.
Closing Your Customer Feedback Loop
Whether you actively seek customer feedback or not, many businesses struggle to understand what to do with the feedback they’re given. IntelliShop can provide the solutions to not only gather customer feedback you need but also define the next steps for closing the loop. When you partner with us, we’ll take the time to understand your core values, needs, and goals to design feedback and improvement solutions accordingly.
Contact IntelliShop today to request a consultation.