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Insight Blog

Read the latest thinking from the crossroads of marketing, insight and technology.

A Deep Dive into the Customer Feedback Loop

Picture yourself searching for a new car. You know what you want in a car, but you’re not picky about where you get it from – so you start searching online and in showrooms for the right one.

Now, think about the service you expect to get. Your experience, whether good or bad or just plain average, is what brands want to know everything about. So, at the end of your experience, you interact with the brand in a meaningful way; maybe you get offered a survey to complete, asking you simple questions to get a sense of how your experience was with the dealership. Or you simply get in touch with the brand and ask for a resolution to an issue.

If you’ve bought a car or a car-related service from our scenario, then you might get a survey sent to you asking about your experience with the product or service. These are two very simple examples of how insight professionals take advantage of even the smallest touchpoints, the littlest customer-brand interactions to generate insights that are capable of supercharging organisation-wide change through customer feedback.

The way the insights from these interactions supercharge change, is through The Customer Feedback Loop.

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The Customer Feedback Loop allows us to turn brand interactions into intensely actionable insights capable of supercharging organisation-wide change. But how do we use it for maximum impact?

The Customer Feedback Loop

The Customer Feedback Loop is a great strategy for collecting and implementing customer feedback. This is one of the most essential strategies to implement if you want to gain a working understanding on your customers’ experiences with a product, website, service, etc. Julia Hartz calls customer feedback the “ultimate truth” that allows you “really get grounded”.

There are four general stages to the Customer Feedback Loop:

1. Asking/Receiving Feedback

Feedback can come in many different forms: from NPS surveys, experience surveys, an invitation to join an online market research panel or community, an interaction through social media or customer service processes, etc. Each interaction with your brand is an opportunity to gain insight into your customers’ opinions, requirements, and experiences.

2. Analysing Feedback

Once this data is collected, now you can identify what it is they’re providing feedback on, and pick out key themes in the data. These themes are vital signposts that will point you in the right direction to improve all CX touchpoints in your organisation. After identifying issues with your product or service, the other vital result of this is that you can gain insight into the overall trends of customer satisfaction over time.

3. Actioning Feedback

This is a pretty obvious one, once you know exactly what customers are and aren’t happy with, you can start the process of cementing the good aspects of your customer experience in place, and change the aspects that are causing the most trouble. This latter part of the process will require some agile market research so you can be sure that you’re evolving the bad aspects in a way that will benefit the customer experience as a result rather than guessing at what might make it better. The Voice of the Customer really is the key to attaining and maintaining a good relationship with said customers.

4. Closing the Loop

Obviously, you can’t please everyone, but you can take the most common complaints and work to please those who are affected. For those that are left, there are ways to respond to this feedback and prove that you are taking it on board even if you aren’t directly actioning it, that will help build up their trust in your brand. Transparent communication is the key to closing the loop, whether it’s like Allianz managing expectations in regards to how long the front-line customer service process would take, or Grohe’s approach reworking their approach to customer relationship management with three set priorities to rekindle a connection between the brand and their customers.

To put it extremely simply, the positive feedback a brand receives is an indication of what you’re doing right, and bad feedback are indications of what needs innovated and evolved to be more relevant, easier to use, and generally more appealing to your customers. But to take things further, pay attention to the specifics of that feedback, as it will help point out what needs to change and in what way in order for your customers to have the best experience possible with your brand.

The Customer Feedback Loop doesn’t just directly impact the growth and evolution of your brand, product, service, or brand experience, it indirectly impacts other very important aspects:

  • Consumer Trust (in your brand)
  • Brand Perception
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Marketing/Sales Procedures
  • Market Research Success Rates

Using the Customer Feedback Loop to Gain Trust

I’ve briefly mentioned the concept of rekindling customer trust in When a customer has a bad experience, this immediately colours their perception of your brand – they will then spread this perception through word of mouth and you might lose a good number of potential customers through that one bad experience.

What’s more, second chances don’t grow on trees, and once a consumer is turned off your brand it’s harder than ever to fight for a chance to change their mind. But this is fixable with a bit of effort. Shifting your brand perception is something that can be done through the inclusion of CX research and this customer feedback loop into your market research plans.

The Customer Feedback Loop is an essential tool for customer-centric businesses, and those businesses like Allianz, JetBlue, and Slack use them on a daily basis to help drive their businesses forward. The CEO of Slack in particular states that they “take user feedback in any way [they] can get it” which includes in-app feedback functionality as well as extensive market research and social customer support services. The intense focus on the customer experience, helps all employees across the whole organisation to understand the pain points customers experience, and the insights from those pain points are embedded into each decision-making process on all levels.

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Closing the loop can be the hardest part of the Customer Feedback Loop, creating a meaningful interaction and resolution for the customer - but transparent communication and market research can help simplify this.

The effect of this is that most if not all customer insights are actioned on and have a great impact on the way the organisation runs, the direction it takes, the products and services it supplies, and the way it communicates with customers, all based on their terms. Believe it or not, customers notice these changes when they don’t clash with the company, and so a level of trust is built up over time. To find out more about how trust can benefit a business, take a read through our whitepaper dedicated to the subject here.

Working the Customer Feedback Loop into your MRX Strategy

The Customer Feedback Loop is a form of market research, just very specifically targeted to the customers who have already interacted with you. With this very specific targeted market, the Customer Feedback Loop can be integrated into a wider market research strategy to cover all consumers necessary.

The Customer Feedback Loop sources feedback from multiple sources, most of them external such as social media, and customer service enquiry sources that identify customer experience issues across all possible touchpoints, but it’s hard to get back in touch afterwards to see if the issue is resolved to their satisfaction. As mentioned above, online dedicated research communities or panels are incredibly valuable assets to a customer-centric, insight-orientated organisation, and are right on tap to answer any questions you have when fixing those issues identified through sources from the Customer Feedback Loop. They can providing valuable input that informs each stage of the agile research and production process to help you mitigate or fully erase any pain points in the customer experience.

The sign of a mature insights strategy, is a strategy composed of a variety of different research components, with each strategy tailored completely to the organisation it benefits. Within that tailored strategy will be a few common components, with one being the frightfully effective Customer Feedback Loop.

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Emily James

Written by Emily James

As a graduate of Creative Writing, Emily has a passion for content creation. She brings our global vision to life through her excellent writing and editorial skills across a broad selection of our content, and manages communication through social media channels. You can follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Topics: NPD Community, Insight Innovation, Market Research