Good B2C relationships depend heavily on customer satisfaction. If you can give your customers a satisfying experience, you encourage brand loyalty and invaluable word-of-mouth marketing. These go a long way in growing your business and ultimately bringing in greater profits year over year. For some it may seem obvious that customer feedback is important for business growth, but it is not as obvious as you might think. In fact, according to HubSpot, 42% of businesses don’t survey or collect feedback from their customers.
How can you make sure that your marketing efforts will bring your desired results? You need to engage in conversation with your audience. Your audience and customers’ experience with your business, good or bad, is highly useful information that can help you gain insight about how to move forward. With accurate customer feedback, the path ahead becomes a lot clearer.
In this blog, we will explore what exactly customer feedback is, why it is important, and we will also look at some case studies to give you a tangible idea about the value of feedback for business growth.
What is Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is valuable information you can receive from your customers. This could be about a positive experience, or a negative one, but either way you will have learned something about your business.
Your customers’ opinions are a strong resource you can use to tailor and improve the overall customer experience. Surveys and social media comments/posts are excellent feedback tools, known as ‘prompted’ and ‘unprompted’ respectively.
Successful companies understand the value of feedback. Feedback is essentially your customers’ voice, and listening to that voice can really pay off. Prompted or unprompted, positive or negative, customer feedback should be acknowledged and closely listened to.
Benefits of Customer Feedback
The many benefits of paying attention to customer feedback include:
- Improved products and services
- Measure customer satisfaction
- Shows you care about customers opinions
- Improves customer retention
- Informs business decisions
Improved Products and Services
Before launching a product or service, you will have already determined the wants and needs of your customers. But this information is limited, given that they haven’t actually tried the latest product or service. It is only post-launch that you can gain accurate feedback about how useful your latest venture is for the customer.
You can find out what works well for customers and what isn’t working so well through customer feedback. Feedback is an excellent tool to help you meet customer expectations, problem solve, and satisfy their needs through optimised products and services.
Measure Customer Satisfaction
Your financial performance is linked to customer satisfaction, which highlights the importance of providing a satisfying customer experience. The most accurate way of finding out about the level of customer satisfaction is an obvious one – ask them. You can do this by using a satisfaction rating system, known as a Net Promoter Score (NPS). This a rating scale from 0-10 and determines how likely a customer is to recommend your business to a friend.
Showing that you Value Customer Opinions
The act of asking for customer feedback highlights to customers that you care about their opinions and satisfaction. By involving customers in your development as a business, you make them feel important and validated. By listening to customer voices, you forge stronger B2C relationships.
Improve customer retention
Gaining customers is important, but equally important is retaining those customers. Feedback can help you adjust your products and services so that they provide an enjoyable customer experience, increasing your chances of keeping customers coming back. Unsatisfied customers are likely to search for another business to satisfy the needs you were unable to fulfil. If a customer has a negative experience with your business and then you immediately solve their problem, they will appreciate your care and will be more likely to remain loyal and even recommend your products or services.
Valuable Information for Other Consumers
Potential customers are more likely to trust other consumers when it comes to product or service recommendation, at least more so than advertisements. Sharing customer feedback lets potential customers know how others have experienced your business. You can share positive feedback to improve your reputation, or you can share negative feedback along with your solutions, which also improves reputation.
Informs business decisions
While expertise and intuition are important for big business decisions, one great opportunity to better inform those decisions and increase the likelihood of positive outcomes is the use of customer feedback.
Feedback is reliable and provides realistic data that can inform business decisions. With accurate customer insight, you can better understand their wants and needs, which makes it a lot easier to know the next steps to take in keeping existing customers satisfied and attracting new customers.
Customer Feedback Case Studies
Uber is a vehicle-hire company that places strong emphasis on customer feedback in order to improve the customer experience. Drivers are rated and their job performance is based on these ratings. In this way, Uber ensures that the best and safest drivers rank higher in job performance, which means that customers get the best, according to other customers.
“Real-time feedback about drivers means Uber can correct for issues big and small – while ensuring that only the best drivers stay on the road. We take this feedback seriously – depending on the circumstances, rider feedback may lead to deactivating a partner from the system or serve as validation that the driver is providing great service.” – Uber
After every Uber trip, a prompt appears on a user’s screen asking them to rate their journey out of five stars. This only takes a second, but means that Uber gets insight into almost every journey taken.
In the footwear industry, Timberland is one of the biggest, most well-known names. Their success at least partially depends on the fact that as a business they realised the importance of customer feedback. Marketing shoes based simply on the idea that their customers like shoes is a bit too vague to promote significant growth.
When you go after lots of consumers, with lots of messages, the odds are higher for a misfire…The fact that we didn’t stand for anything distinctly meant we didn’t really resonate.”, says Stewart Whitney, former Timberland Brand President.
Customer feedback then became a priority for Timberland. In collaboration with VF Corp they used surveys and reviews to collect mass customer feedback. Nowadays, each time a purchase is made on Timberland’s online store, customers are prompted to write a review.
Starbucks, known and loved by many for helping customers start their mornings, employed an innovative idea to help them listen more intently to customer feedback. In 2008, they launched My Starbucks Idea, a virtual suggestion box that let the company know about what customers wanted, directly from the mouths of the customers. In the year of the launch they received approximately 70,000 suggestions, and over 190,000 by 2015.
The most valuable source of information for business growth is customer feedback. Your products and services are created for them, so their experience matters. In order to promote tangible business growth, it is essential to listen to your customers, show them you care, and make adjustments to fulfil their needs. Customer feedback is everywhere, from online comments and review, to surveys, to conversations.
In conclusion, listening to and sharing customer feedback is a simple yet effective means of demonstrating to your audience that you are focused on customer satisfaction, so never stop listening to the customer!