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Companies have acknowledged the importance of customer experience. They have embraced the idea of becoming a ‘customer-centric’ or ‘customer-led’ company. For this reason, they have made investments in strategic planning to deliver a customer experience that meets their expectations.
Companies deploy surveys or VOC programs or interview their customers to monitor the customer experience and prevent any gap. They understand that timely intervention can help resolve customers’ pain points in their experience.
They know the significance of ‘closing the feedback loop’. However, merely responding to customer feedback and ensuring the effectiveness of it are two different things. Interventions that are poorly targeted and ineffective in reducing negative experiences can lead to customer churn. Moreover, ineffective strategies result in a waste of resources and put more workload on employees.
So, how can companies respond to customers’ pain? How can they deliver a better experience to influence customers’ decisions about the company?
According to research by Ipsos, 65% of their research participants claim that personal experience has influenced their decisions about which company they want to do business with.
Customer experience is a significant factor that impacts a customer’s decision-making process. Customers trust their own experience with a brand to decide whether to continue doing business or not. They recommend a brand to their family and friends based on their own experience.
Companies solicit customer feedback to offer a customer experience that represents their needs. We have mentioned some effective ways you can ensure that you are effective in addressing customers’ feedback and closing the feedback loop.
Customers will have various complaints about you. You cannot resolve them all at once. Brand’s need to identify and prioritize the critical issues based on the impact it is likely to have.
Managing and providing a consistent customer experience is not an easy task. Moreover, with an increase in channels for communication, it has become more difficult to offer an on-brand experience all the time to all the customers. However, it is important to track the critical issues.
The critical issues account for not only negative but also positive experiences. Identify the issues that are likely to have the highest impact on customers.
Impact of negative critical issues:
Impact of positive critical issues:
Certain critical issues impact customers’ shopping behavior and repeat purchases. It also causes a snowballing effect via social networks and word of mouth. While in the case of the positive experience the impact may not be too noticeable. In the case of negative experience, it leads to an increase in complaints to customer service until a solution is offered.
It is better to prioritize the issues that majorly influence a customer’s decision. Brands should strategize on how they can efficiently close the feedback loop on such issues while simultaneously tackling other minor issues.
Customer Effort Score is a buzzword. It is a metric that measures the effort a customer has to put in to have their issues resolved. However, this does not measure the effort that customers believe the company has made.
More often than not, customers believe that they put more effort than the company to get issues resolved, especially after a complaint or negative critical issue. 65% of consumers believe that they put more effort than the company to get things resolved.
According to Gartner, 96% of customers accounting for high effort experience are more likely to become disloyal to a company.
A brand aims to lower the Customer Effort Score. However, measuring CES in isolation may not provide the full picture. You will also need to measure Company effort along with Customer Effort to predict a customer’s inclination to do business with the company again after a negative experience.
The outcome of feedback collection depends on properly resolving the issue. Closing the feedback loop does not end with just offering a resolution. The solution must properly eliminate the issue.
Customers expect proper and effective intervention from the company when they complain about their negative experience. It has been seen that 78% of customers are less likely to use a company that fails to address their negative experience. On the other hand, 50% of customers are more likely to use the company that has addressed their issue.
To provide an effective solution that has a positive impact on customer decisions you need to begin by identifying the issues that require urgent intervention. Let’s say after analyzing customer feedback you find a recurring pattern of complaints about bad customer service behavior. Companies must decide whether a soft or hard intervention is appropriate.
You may decide on a softer approach by apologizing to the customers and train staff to treat customers with respect. You can send personalized emails to all those affected customers to show how sorry you are for the bad service they received. Or, you may decide to use hard intervention and compensate with a discount or freebie. An incentive may convince customers to give you a second chance.
It is important for brands to know which issue is important and how to best address it. Without this understanding, the companies may lose valuable resources as well as customers.
Don’t cut customers off after collecting their feedback. Begin by responding to them by thanking them for their feedback. Continue to involve them in the process of closing the feedback loop by sharing with them the actions you plan to take to resolve the issue. Or, consult with them to learn how the issue should be resolved. Customers may surprise you with ideas that you may not have considered and make your work much easier.
Keeping customers up-to-date about the progress will keep them calm. They would appreciate you for informing them and wait patiently for the outcome. In case you don’t inform them, customers may call every day to complain about the same thing or may become frustrated and leave the company. 50% of consumers stop doing business with a brand if they don’t respond to a query in a week.
It is better to keep customers informed rather than agitate them. Send them an email to inform them of the actions taken or the progress made in closing the feedback loop.
You may be receiving lots of feedback from your customers – with different needs, issues, inquiries, and suggestions. You cannot pay attention to all. You may even have to say “No” to some and it is okay to do so.
It is always better to say ‘no’ to certain feedback than making fake promises of offering solutions. Trust is important in a customer-company relationship. A brand cannot expect customers to be loyal if the brand offers broken or false promises to them.
Customers are smart. They know you receive a humongous amount of feedback and you can’t resolve it all. They understand you cannot implement all of their suggestions. They appreciate it when you are upfront about it rather than promising to resolve their issue only to do nothing.
Closing the feedback loop for every customer in order to offer the best customer experience is an arduous task and requires proper planning. Companies cannot aim to resolve all issues nor can they turn a blind eye. Understanding which issues have a high impact on customer experience and what intervention would result in a better experience is a smart way to go about it.