Customer Feedback Is a Pot of Gold

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Are you making it easy for customers to share their opinions about your brand? Are you focusing on channels that patrons can use to voice and share their thoughts? As a retailer, do you welcome feedback and reward your customers in return for their feedback?

Because all the hoopla about customer experience and the intense push and pull to create the most engaging interactions, is pointless if you're not tapping into what the customer really thinks about you.

Feedback—whether positive or negative—is what ultimately oils your marketing engine and makes it perform better. Consider this: A whopping 70% of customers find online user reviews trustworthy when making purchase decisions. Consumers are very comfortable sharing their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about products as well as about the quality of service they get from brands.

With the online world opening up diverse channels of communication such as social media, online surveys, reviews, and ratings, it's becoming increasingly easy for shoppers to voice opinions—especially through Web-enabled mobile devices. When you implement a disconnected or suboptimal feedback capturing program, you're feeding a potential PR disaster with an open public forum for the customer to voice negative feedback. With your target audience present everywhere, you can no longer make excuses for not having a structured feedback program.

Every touchpoint matters

Social media, websites, email newsletters, mobile apps, sales reps, or the purchase counter itself—these are all decisive touchpoints that reveals insights into what customers think about you. Customer feedback today is not confined to post purchase surveys, call centers, or focus groups.  The horizon has expanded to include true ongoing brand/customer relationships. Manage and listen to customers across all channels to pick up valuable feedback and address critical pain points.

Analytics + feedback = results

Retailers are pumping big investments into analytics to study behavior, profile customers, and derive insights on how customers react to different offers and campaigns. Tracking feedback from various touchpoints gives power to analytical insights because you can get real-time input on what your customer really wants.

Men's apparel retailer Bonobos recently hit the jackpot with a customer-led design of a better-fitting dress shirt. The campaign simply asked its customers a series of questions on their shirt-related preferences—how they wear them, reasons for return, choice of fit, etc. Modeled purely on customer feedback, Bonobos sold 50% of the newly launched line in just one week.


The power of urgency

A recent study from Empathica has thrown light onto why customers don't take the effort to give feedback. Forty three percent of customers surveyed think it isn't worth complaining because the brands simply don't care! More than 80% said they'd more likely give feedback if it was followed up by an instant response.

These are remarkable statistics that reiterate the urgency in responding to customer feedback. An immediate response can also help minimize the impact of negative feedback from being splashed all over. The last thing you want is distressed customers ranting in public about your slackness in responding to a critical remark.

This is especially vital for an e-commerce portal where reviews are essential in coaxing a purchase, and where the diligence shown in attending to queries can resonate positively with potential customers. In short, the cliché “We'll get back to you shortly” can go a long way in appeasing an aggrieved customer.

The importance of the human touch

Sales reps can form strong relationships by interfacing and interacting with customers. A casual chat can reveal deep insights into what customers feel about a brand which can potentially help it deliver enhanced products and/or better services. You will benefit immensely by capturing this information from sales associates and weaving the feedback into marketing for further action. That's what customer experience is all about.

Your customers are constantly talking about their experiences with your brand and these conversations are heard by their family, friends, and acquaintances. You can imagine the dynamics at work here. Any negative feedback and you will not only lose your existing customers, but also lose potential leads through referrals. The bottom line is this: Keep your customers happy by delighting them at every interaction and ensure you go the extra mile to convert their bad experiences to good. Use their feedback to bring them back into the fold.


Aneesh Reddy is cofounder and CEO of Capillary Technologies, where he works with enterprise customers to help them put the right communications for the right products into the hands of the right customers at the right time.

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