How to build an effective feedback management program and find valuable information

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While there are various ways to invest time and resources in gathering and analysing indirect customer information from online reviews, comments, emails, or even phone conversations, undoubtedly, surveys – or polls to use a more popular term – are the most effective tool for building valuable customer knowledge.

Let’s start by delving into the etymological definition of the verb “SURVEY”: it signifies an exploratory action that leads to a discovery. And this is exactly what surveys do: they meticulously and accurately DISCOVER the needs, expectations and interpersonal experiences of customers.

Feedback necessitates KNOWLEDGE and DISCOVERY.

Only survey-based listening and a well-structured Voice of the Customer program can generate profiled customer data and consistent information throughout the customer journey. In essence, surveys always provide the most accurate and reliable feedback. However, for this to be true, aspects like redemption rates and representativeness must also be taken into account.

Redemption rates, or the percentage of customers who respond out of the total number of those contacted, typically range from 10 to 20% depending on the industry, size of the company and method used to administer the survey. A rate above 20% indicates a strong and solid relationship between the company and customer. I have seen redemption rates as high as 30% in some projects where highly loyal communities were interviewed!

But why is it not always simple to obtain high-quality answers and data? And what are the key factors to emphasise in order to maximise the ROI of a Feedback Management project?

Ask the right questions.

To ensure the customer feels valued and heard, it is essential to ask relevant and appropriate questions. Surveys that are too brief or that include questions that respondents do not understand properly in relation to their actual experiences are inappropriate.

The choice of feedback methodology is of utmost importance! Avoid:

  • Asking quantitative and numerical questions in situations where respondents live richly nuanced experiences
  • Offering pre-packaged and often quiet restrictive answers that may irritate or frustrate respondents
  • Starting the survey with the N.P.S. question, which may give the impression that it’s the only real objective of the survey, diminishing the importance of the other answers
  • Forgetting to include open boxes for free responses
  • And lastly, asking questions that are solely of interest to the company and have little bearing on the company-customer relationship. Questions about competitors are an example of this.

Basically, if you want to listen, it is essential to put yourself in a situation where you can really listen without influencing the outcome.

Explain to your customers why you are asking for their opinion.

Make it clear to the customer that you have initiated a feedback management program and that you will now listen to them on a regular basis. It is important to clearly communicate the intent and objectives of the company. A “homemade” survey sent once in a while does not convey a sense of genuine listening and paying attention.

Customers should understand that this is not a one-time survey and that they will actually benefit from the improvement in services. One-time surveys are ineffective since insights are often revealed by evaluating the relationship over time.

One of the most effective ways to increase survey participation is to inform customers about actions taken based on their feedback. If you opened your company’s chat channel because your customers specifically requested it, say so clearly. If you launched a new service in response to a request expressed by your customers, let them know and thank them

Eliminate any unnecessary questions

Nobody likes answering too many questions, especially ones that do not concern them. This leads to frustration and wasted time.

How can we avoid asking unnecessary questions in a survey? By using suitable methodologies and technologies. Some technologies enable questions to be self-administered based on responses, preventing irrelevant questions that fatigue the respondent. In this way, surveys are built based on the experience of each respondent.

In practice, it is possible to thoroughly examine the experience of a particular group of respondents by asking questions that align with their actual experience.

This significantly decreases the drop-out rate.

Make your survey empathetic

This is when the task becomes challenging. The empathetic quality of a survey hinges on the ability to empathise with the emotions of the customer. Using the right words and images that resonate with the lived experience is one way to foster empathy. I suggest authenticity and clarity.

Reconstructing the experience in both verbal and visual forms undoubtedly fosters a sense of closeness with the respondent.

Give the respondent freedom

The respondent’s freedom is often found in the words and stories with which they can enrich the questions. Allowing customers to share their stories without constraint engages them more deeply. Today, text analysis tools offer expertise in understanding these stories and in enriching the analysis with profound insights.

The free-to-tell respondent often allows us to discover touchpoints that had not been forcefully revealed and sheds light on unexplored aspects of the customer journey.

In conclusion, adhering to these five rules increases both the redemption rate and the quality of your survey data. Make sure to follow these rules. They undoubtedly represent the crucial first step in establishing an excellent feedback management program.

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