The voice of the customer is the most important. As brands seek to differentiate themselves and dominate in a competitive market–it is something that they aim to most pay attention to. The goal is to create products and services that not only fill a gap, but provide a key value to the customer’s way of life. Something that goes the distance in creating a measurable and noticeable difference–and provides a sense of completeness that creates happiness and contentment for the customer.
A High level of customer satisfaction, also, is directly correlated to retention, loyalty and long-term profits for the brand. Poor satisfaction levels, on the other hand, can actively harm it, and its reputation. Knowledge of what the consumer thinks and feels, hence, is one of the most important parts of your business strategy. It is also a vital measure of the effectiveness of the product and services you offer. To know what a customer wants, a brand has to first know how they feel. Customer feedback, hence, is very, very important. It is vital for brands and organizations to achieve it in its most precise, unbiased manner.
This, of course, comes with its own sets of hurdles and challenges that need navigating. Let’s explore, in terms of process, how they can be overcome:
Step 1: Identify Organizational Reluctance as a Pain Point
In order to first improve the customer feedback process, it is important to look at one of the most important pain points: An organization’s reluctance to conduct it. This can be attributed to many factors. Some prominent ones being: an organization’s lack of regard for consumer input, a lack of resources, or a lack of clear direction and purpose. In the long run, this is detrimental, and can go a long way to hurt the overall confidence an organization has towards its product or service. Either way, it is often noticed that brands and organizations can often hesitate to know what their customers are thinking.
This reluctance can also come from the customers themselves. When surveyed, they can be shy about answering questions honestly, and feel like it doesn’t reward their time. They often can be noncommittal and dishonest about answering them, and just like the organization itself, display hesitancy and reservation. Since the feedback loop is a two-way process, it can be harmful for one or both parties to be compromised this way.
Before going about solving it, the first step is to acknowledge it.
Step 2: Recenter Focus on the Client/ Customer
When things get complicated, a back-to-basics approach always helps. More specifically, it helps to view things from the lens of the customer. An organization needs to be collective and proactive in taking measures to ensure that decisions that are made, always offer a big incentive and value proposition to the customer. Hence, when it comes to surveys and feedback, there is a need to offer a sense of transparency and openness. It goes a long way in helping both the brand and customers have a shared perspective. And one that is beyond just purely transnational, and is more about creating value and mutual benefit.
Customers should always know/ be made aware of:
- How many questions are in the survey
- Estimate time needed for completion
- How their feedback will be used
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is identified as the most important metric related to clients and customers. It acts as a strong indicator of both retention and product repurchase. More importantly, it offers a direct, unbiased overview of the customer’s needs, sentiments towards a particular brand and their expectations. Brands often use it to identify the value and positioning they hold inside the customer’s mind. Hence, the unbiased, transparent approach towards gauging the mindset of the customers themselves, is what will help brands arrive at their most accurate score–which can be further evaluated to improve or modify the nature of products and services to exceed expectations and bridge gaps.
Building lasting, valuable relationships with clients and consumers is about thinking about feasible, long-term processes. Hence, focusing on them is absolutely vital. Open and honest communication with the customers is what will bridge this gap–and create an inherent sense of participation in both the brand and customer. Both parties will need to know that they exist for each others’ mutual benefit. And the goal is to make the relationship last.
Step 3: Fill-up Gaps and Discrepancies
Problems and challenges are inevitability. And the goal is to address them head-on and solve them–and keep on making the process smoother, even if it’s incremental. Brands and organizations need to be acutely aware of their customer’s journey. Identify the key areas within it, and learn about how they behave. They should also be keenly aware of how it stacks up against their competition. It is, as always, a collective process–and the organization needs to possess the talent and skill set within it that can accurately track it.
If a brand and organization can cross this hurdle, it can cross others as well. It can identify gaps that arise (and they will). Which then will help in making systematic, organized changes to the process, in order to eliminate them? The business environment is dynamic, fast and ever-evolving. Hence, it is to be understood that this is a constant, long-term process. If brands and businesses are in it to win it for the long haul, they have to be committed to the same. As customers evolve, so does the product–and so should the brand and organization. Hence, it is important to keep any gaps and barriers to progression at bay.
As mentioned before, it is an extremely competitive business landscape. Businesses that aim to make an impact, not just in the market, but in the customer’s lives as well–need to be focused on it, one hundred per cent. Organizations need to have insight on the needs, wants and tastes of the customer. Hence, there is an urgent need for them to ensure that the communication between them always remains clear–and is always geared towards both parties mutual success and satisfaction.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications