One of the best ways to put your customer first is by implementing a customer feedback loop. In this guide, we’ll go over the stages of creating a customer feedback loop and explain why you should be utilizing customer feedback as a primary line of defense in business process improvement.
What is a customer feedback loop?
A customer feedback loop is a customer experience strategy meant to constantly enhance and improve your product based on user reviews, opinions, and suggestions. This feedback loop is based on the concept of mutual interaction between both the business and its customers.
Taking customer feedback into consideration is not only necessary for collecting Voice of Customer data, but you can use this data to actually develop products, processes, and strategies that enhance the overall functionality of your business.
The 4 stages of the customer feedback loop
Your customer feedback loop can be broken into four stages:
Collecting customer feedback.
Analyzing feedback data.
Applying feedback and beginning to test.
Following up with customers.
Let’s go through each stage to learn how to apply a feedback loop in your business.
Stage 1: Collect customer feedback
Before the customer feedback loop can begin, you first need to collect feedback from your customers. This can be done in a variety of ways, including:
Online review platforms.
Call data from your virtual phone system.
Product suggestion forums.
Social media monitoring.
What’s important is that you actually collect feedback so you know what you’re doing well and what to improve upon.
Depending on the industry you’re in, you could also rely on online reviews for collecting feedback:
Brick-and-mortar businesses like bars and restaurants often rely on Google reviews to track customer satisfaction.
Software companies often rely on software review platforms to see how happy or unhappy customers are with their products.
Ecommerce businesses often rely on product reviews directly from customers.
Regardless of the type of business you run, there are plenty of ways to get customer feedback.
Focus on short-form feedback and increase your response rate
Data shows that shorter surveys often perform better than their longer counterparts, so asking fewer questions at a more frequent cadence can be a great strategy for improving your response rate.
Tools like Help Scout’s microsurveys are great for connecting with customers in the moment. The platform makes it easy to:
Collect feedback: Surface one of six targeted microsurvey types from any page on your website or within your app.
Analyze and learn: Each microsurvey has a dedicated dashboard for viewing insights and responses.
Communicate impact: Microsurveys is fully integrated with the Help Scout platform. When it’s time to follow up, simply start a new customer conversation directly from the survey’s results page.
Another bonus of software like Help Scout is its ability to incorporate the feedback loop into the existing customer experience. This makes the feedback process quick and easy for your customers and often can lead to a boost in survey engagement.
Stage 2: Analyze feedback data
Once you’ve gathered a substantial amount of feedback, you need to analyze it to understand how to take action. Survey tools, chat tools, phone analytics, and other feedback collection tools typically have dashboards where you can extract this data.
During the analysis process, you’ll probably start to notice patterns. Maybe you’ll see that among the less-than-satisfied reviews, customers are bringing up the same issues or pain points over and over again.
Is your desktop app crashing when using a certain OS? Maybe the in-app chat tool doesn’t actually help answer customer questions. Perhaps your product's dashboards are confusing to understand? Whatever the concern, you’ll start to notice similarities in both the negative and positive feedback you receive.
Intaking feedback allows you to address issues and feed them directly to your product team.
For example, if there’s a technical issue like a malfunctioning widget, you create a short brief of the issue and then loop in your dev team. If there’s a non-technical issue like a confusing onboarding process, your customer success team can address this. Now you can see the feedback loop starting to turn.
Even the less directly customer-facing teams (i.e., teams other than sales or customer service) should keep feedback top-of-mind. Using this approach will put customers at the forefront rather than as an afterthought in product development, content creation, and process implementation among every team and department.
Stage 3: Apply feedback and begin testing
After reviewing your feedback data, it’s time to begin testing (where applicable). For example, if you need to update your support page for more clarity, you can A/B test one variation against another and collect feedback. Your new version should be the winner. If not, you need to hit the drawing board again.
It’s also a good idea to source additional feedback from customers — particularly those who made suggestions, corrections, or gave feedback the first time around. Send an email making them aware of your updates and ask for additional feedback. This is a key step in the third stage of your loop.
Using feedback even throughout the testing process can improve your relationship with your customers. In fact, 88% of U.S. consumers want to engage with brands that strive to meet customer expectations.
Stage 4: Follow up with customers
It’s time to close the loop and follow up with your customers.
When customers offer suggestions in their feedback to your team, you should follow up with them directly. For example, if you’ve taken a customer’s suggestion to improve your product — resolving a bug, repairing a broken submission form, adding new integrations — send them a personalized email to let them know the impact of their feedback on your team.
Not only will you demonstrate the importance of their feedback, you’ll also make the customer feel heard. It’s one thing to acknowledge that feedback was read and “understood” by your team; it’s a completely different ball game when your team takes action based on customer feedback to impact larger business goals.
While responding to customers who provided feedback, you can also ask those who left low or negative reviews if they’re willing to update their reviews now that you’ve implemented changes, improving your overall review score.
Similarly, you can ask your customers who’ve provided positive feedback if they’d allow your team to use their feedback on a testimonials page on your website. Having customer testimonials on your landing page is a great way to display social proof.
Keep in mind: Timing is everything. If your team is crunched for time intaking feedback and following up with customers, you could automate this process with a marketing automation tool.
The benefits of having a customer feedback loop
Creating customer feedback loops is a great strategy for keeping your team committed to providing a great customer experience.
These feedback loops give your team a firsthand look into your customers’ experiences and pain points. If you want to learn more about how your customers think and feel, use a feedback loop to enhance their experience with your brand and give yourself a competitive edge.
Customer feedback loops also offer data-driven insights into customer sentiment, which informs your teams about how to approach creating deliverables for every type of customer related to every department company-wide.
Finally, feedback loops enhance customers’ perception of your brand and how you approach their unique concerns, feelings, and experiences. So why wait to implement one? It’s the easiest way to enhance customer happiness and can be scaled with automation. It’s a win-win.