Two-thirds of business leaders feel that innovation is essential to their business success. When they begin their journeys toward innovation, most leaders face obstacles. Customer feedback is precious. Understanding what your audience wants and needs can alter the course of your business and result in many unique, exciting discoveries.

Market leaders who responded to customer feedback have created some of the most praised and widely used product features. Tech giants like Apple, Netflix, and Uber created demand and met it by purposefully deciding to provide what customers wanted. As a result, they gained fervently devoted customers and created significant financial value.

How to Approach Customer Feedback?

Brands need more commitment and follow-through on CX-led innovation and development that uses insights from consumer behavior and feedback. Here are 3 ways in which a CX-focused business should approach customer feedback:

1. Focus on What the Numbers Represent

2. Explore Customer Feedback Strategically

3. Give Your Customers What They Want

It seems reasonable to assume that practically every company needs to be totally focused on reacting to customer feedback. There are only so many businesses that will acknowledge they don't care deeply about the customer experience (CX) or that they don't care what their customers have to say. But is this really happening today? 

"Most brands are not spending enough time listening to and talking with their customers. This is always surprising to me because without customers, we don't have a business! They are literally the most valuable asset of any company, yet too often the focus is on acquiring more of them rather than keeping the ones we already have. Collect feedback frequently across channels, via surveys, ratings and reviews, customer service calls, focus groups, and one-on-one conversations. Analyze the responses and look for actionable insights. Listen for what you are doing well and do more of it! Then listen for what parts of the experience are missing the mark and try to x the underlying issue," Dan Gingiss, Chief Experience Officer, The Experience Maker, LLC as per the Clootrack report.

Does every business gather and review consumer feedback that motivates action? 

Do they have a strategy for substantially incorporating those insights into new product development? 

Brands need more commitment and follow-through on CX-led innovation and development that uses insights from consumer behavior and feedback. Let's explore how a CX-focused business should approach customer feedback:

1. Focus on What the Numbers Represent

Many business leaders monitor team performance and often provide incentives based on KPIs related to the CX. Nonetheless, the typical approach to handling consumer feedback could be better adapted. So, what's wrong with the general approach? Well, it doesn't:

  • Get specific about what transpires when customers use your products and services.
  • Consider the reasons behind how things work.
  • Focus on whether things could be improved.

Meanwhile, everyone has three numbers on their customer dashboard: churn, NPS, and customer happiness. You can focus on other things because they have been condensed, gathered, and tracked after making them comparable to provide a quick overview of how your brand is doing.

However, you need more than just keeping an eye on satisfaction levels to help you develop new ideas. To continuously produce ideas, you genuinely need tools and tactics for mining feedback. So, you must:

  • Create a system for finding opportunities and making adjustments that will have a significant impact.
  • Automate the procedure for gathering feedback and understanding.
  • Apply the findings to your knowledge of your target audience. 

2. Explore Customer Feedback Strategically

"Listen to your customer! This may seem like an obvious answer, but I'd like to dig a little deeper. Listening to your customer is more than reading customer satisfaction surveys. It's allowing your front line to bring back comments, feedback, etc. from the customer. There must be an easy way for front liners (salespeople, customer service reps, and others on the front line) to share the feedback," says Shep Hyken, CAO (Chief Amazement Officer), Shepard Presentations, LLC.

When you review customer feedback directly rather than through an algorithm, it is more valuable. It has made it possible for my company to respond strategically and remain close to the needs of our customers, consequently implementing it for innovative product design.

But what's wrong with acquiring feedback generally? It might be unpleasant to hear about the times when your offerings and experiences miss the mark. That drives the impulse to:

  • depersonalize feedback
  • decrease it to topline numbers
  • keep the customer's voice at a distance 

But the truth is that you would only lose your business instincts with such thorough consumer feedback. The real way you interact with the market, the way you spot an opportunity to enhance your product offerings and move toward it, is through the lived experience of how people actually use your goods and services.

The issues that genuinely motivate what customers say and the ratings they give us can be found by digging beneath the feedback's surface. As a pattern emerges, you may share that insight with your product, success, sales, and marketing teams. 

3. Give Your Customers What They Want

Most businesses solicit direct feedback to identify customer demands. Each company's following steps with this data differ in scope and order. But usually, organizations:

  • listen to feedback from both solicited and uninvited sources, such as surveys and social media
  • combine it with operational data, such as call wait time and transaction volume
  • extract insights
  • share those insights with the appropriate parties
  • address the issues raised by the feedback, such as closing the loop with dissatisfied customers. 

Running an effective Experience Management (XM) program requires this as good practice. However, how many businesses go a step further and provide customers with what they need instead of just what they desire based on their feedback?

Providing customers with what they want differs from giving them what they need. Most businesses address complicated processes first—not wholly alter them—when customers complain about them. By only acting on consumer feedback data, a firm would become reactive and fixation-oriented over time rather than one that will actually "reinvent" the customer experience. 

How to Implement Customer Feedback to Churn Innovation?

1. Know Where to Look for Feedback
2. Curate Your Content
3. Modify Existing Products
4. Boost Retention Rate
5. Classify the Feedback to Customize the Strategy

Your first step should be to listen to what your customers have to say. You can improve your decision-making when producing content, advertising products, and expanding your brand by listening to the users' feedback on your website. You may see your strengths and flaws by paying attention to how customers are made to feel when they enter your establishment. Find strategies to improve your existing products to help with retention while using your strengths to maintain customer happiness skyrocketing. 

"I would suggest establishing a Voice of Customer (VoC) program; one that is a virtuous cycle of listening, learning, acting, and acknowledging customer feedback. By consolidating the feedback and analyzing it for common themes and trends and pinpointing the deeper root cause, they'll enable a more intentionally designed solution that serves the broader customer population's needs, instead of the needs of only a few. And by consistently communicating with their customer base and acknowledging the feedback received and improvements delivered, they'll build greater trust. With greater trust, customers will be more willing to continue providing valuable feedback that will continue to strengthen the products and solutions offered. It's a win-win for everyone!" says Serena Riley, VP of Experience Management, SkySpecs in the Clootrack report.

Do you wish to churn innovation? In that case, let's look at a few strategies for using feedback to improve your offerings.  

1. Know Where to Look for Feedback

Generally, there are three types of feedback: the given feedback, the requested feedback, and the observed feedback. Let's go through them:

Given feedback: It is an unsolicited customer response. It typically happens on support tickets, social media, or reviews. The given feedback will find you; you don't need to go hunting for it. 

Requested feedback: This type of feedback happens when you ask customers to post reviews for your goods or services by email or pop-up message. Here, it would help if you put forth a little effort. You can get ready to gather requested feedback by creating forms and email templates. 

Observed feedback: Observed feedback occurs nearly always off your website, social media, or other online forums. In a group chat about your industry, you might hear someone mention your brand. Positive or negative feedback from them is regarded as witnessed feedback.

Some of these venues may offer you more feedback than others depending on your sector. You're moving in the right direction as long as your audience provides helpful feedback. Let's examine how you may use this knowledge to expand your firm. 

2. Curate Your Content

What you discover from user feedback can be used to curate material for your blog and email newsletters. There's a significant probability that the products and information that appeal to your customers differ.

You can use this information to develop appropriate material for each customer if you can group them according to their feedback. For instance, you can get customer feedback by asking new email subscribers what kinds of postings they would like to see.

Utilize this information to categorize your content. You should expect higher engagement and conversions if your email marketing campaign includes messages tailored to each user's preferences. 

3. Modify Existing Products

Feedback can also be used to enhance everyday items. Say you run a tech company. You see that most of your customers are asking for a new function on social media.

Instead of feeling like you were off-target, look at this news as an opportunity. Customers will remain committed to your brand if your software has that highly desired feature.

An innovative strategy to evolve your product to meet the market is to pay attention to user feedback and make changes in response to it. Users are aware of the services and products they desire. If people ask for a feature and you can add it, do it. After modifying, you'll probably notice favorable ratings and feedback increases. 

4. Boost Retention Rate

All of this feedback can also be used to boost audience trust and retention rates. Allowing customer feedback, mainly when a customer is about to cancel or unsubscribe, can drastically improve the user's experience.

Consider the scenario when a person joined your email list but decided they didn't want to receive any more promotions. You may stop them in their tracks with a complimentary present and a discount on their subsequent purchase.

A significant component of feedback is determining why consumers want to leave and making it an excellent experience. Your marketing plan can be improved by being aware of your areas for growth.

You'll need to gather more feedback as your company expands if you want to keep growing. As you gather positive written evaluations and word-of-mouth appreciation, you'll organically attract more visitors to your website by paying attention to your audience.

5. Classify the Feedback to Customize the Strategy

The "one plan fits all" strategy has clearly lost its effectiveness. Therefore, you must create a feedback chart by categorizing the feedback and adjusting the approach in accordance with the type of response. It is essential to sieve the feedback loop according to the strength and impact degree before closing it.

Next, quickly assess the problem regions and grade the data further by classifying the sources into individual consumers (when the problem only affects one person) and groups of customers (the issue impacting many).

After the filtered feedback chart has been created, talk with other corporate stakeholders, dig up solutions, and develop an action plan with customer happiness as the ultimate aim.

As part of an ideal action plan, you must:

  • Instantaneously and quickly respond to your customers. Quick responses can boost your brand's reputation and promote customer retention. A faster response gives your customers reason to be optimistic about your items.
  • To help your teams deal with the problem, provide them with customer service training, ticketing systems, toolkits, and other unavoidable resources.
  • Create customer-specific initiatives, develop standardized enterprise procedures, and deliver them to customers.
  • Track your performance and gauge the results of the provided initiative by keeping the following factors in mind:
    • the problem area
    • prioritization of the problem area and its consideration
    • the number of customers impacted
    • the amount of value added to the customers
    • commercial feasibility
    • customer satisfaction rate

Employ quality time in ongoing monitoring to stop dissatisfied customers from becoming critics and to motivate happy and neutral consumers to become natural boosters. As a result, there is a transition between a CX program and a customer advocacy campaign.

The Bottomline

The most resilient and long-lasting businesses do more than develop innovative concepts and discover how to market and sell them. Their ongoing dialogue with the market influences all they do. They are constantly considering their customer, actively listening, and waiting for the next chance to take action.

The most fundamental truths, or "first principles," are the ones we can always rely on and base new theories on. When supported by insights, first principles can provide solutions for your customer and your business.

Instead of relying on the opinions of intermediaries, stakeholders have tremendous confidence in customer feedback derived directly from customer reviews, open-ended comments, social forums, and customer forums.

Create a continuous process for gathering consumer insights and product innovation. Successful businesses continually innovate, driven by continuing customer insights. 

Read More: 6-Step Plan to Convert Customer Feedback into Profitable Actions