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We’ve spoken a lot on this blog about the value of customer-initiated feedback and how this is the only way you can truly get to grips with what your customers really think about you. Undiluted feedback from empowered consumers in free text format is the key to an optimized CX. With all that being said, if your customers feel you’re not listening to them then they’re not going to want to engage with you. So how do you take the feedback you receive and turn it into something meaningful – and most importantly – actionable?

1) Make sure you have a goal defined. Why are you collecting customer feedback? Look at the structure of your comment card and your measurement tools/questions and ask yourself: are these as aligned to my objectives as they could be? How you direct your customers through the process also needs to be consistent with this objective…do you want information on location and/or digital customer experience? Ensure feedback is channeled correctly before your customers even get to the response card by having them self-select. When you identify a common issue or problem, trigger automatic responses to specific key words entered in the free-text boxes of your comment card to provide your customers with the information they seek.

2) Keep your comment cards short and succinct. Your customers don’t want to complete a huge form with lots of fields. They want to tell you what they have to say quickly and effectively. Use open-ended questions – rather than dropdown menus – and encourage verbatim text response so that your customers can speak to you on their own terms.

3) Get VoC data into right hands. You have to define a process for how you’re going to use customer feedback before you collect it. Identify buckets consistent with your business objectives (be this the type of feedback you receive, where it comes from or any other factor important to you) to ensure it’s funneled to the correct person. At OpinionLab, we offer Real-Time Alerts that enable you to separate this information however you choose and then send it to most suitable individual in your organization as soon as you collect it. This makes the data you receive far more actionable.

4) Always respect your customer. Don’t ask your customers things you should already know. Instead, use a solution that captures all this contextual information – such as browser type, operating system, customer email address etc. – automatically. When you’re asking them to provide you with information, talk to your customers like they’re human beings in your brand’s language. Try to bring a humanistic element to your questions so that they think someone is on the other end. In particular, you can leverage the header and footer space of the comment card so that they know you appreciate the time they’ve taken to give you their feedback. They’re taking time out of their day so that they can help you improve your brand. They’re doing you a favor so let them know you appreciate it.

5) Constantly refine. Just because you’ve launched your VoC engagement post, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t be more effective in capturing the CX information you seek. You should therefore be constantly looking to refine and improve. Are your questions getting you the answers you need? Is the call to action (placement of the engagement post) effective? Are you getting only happy people? Only irate people? Why? Think of creative use cases for the solution and have fun getting your customers to talk to you.

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