The Gist

  • Feedback channels. Successful customer feedback strategies diversify communication avenues for customer preferences.
  • Integrated mechanisms. Embed feedback within customer-facing tools for faster responses.
  • Data leverage. Utilize data and AI for enhanced insights and prompt action. 

Crafting a successful customer feedback strategy requires providing multiple easy ways for customers to share their feedback, and it is important to support all types of end users and cater to their preferences.

For customers who prefer verbal communication, regular touchpoints with customer experience teams can be established to allow them to provide vital feedback as part of ongoing conversations. To ensure comprehensive feedback collection, having product owners, champions or team leads working on the customer side can help collate feedback from their respective teams.

"This feedback can be integrated into regular call engagements and discussions, creating shared assets and trackers that assign clear ownership and actionable next steps," explained Andrew Fairbank, VP of Sales, EMEA for FullStory.

He said for users within the platform who may experience frustration or have ideas for product improvement, it is beneficial to provide a feedback mechanism within the tool itself. This integrated feedback system, connected to internal tools, ensures that information is logged and visible to the account and product teams, facilitating prompt action and follow-up.

"However, it can still be a challenge to obtain feedback from all customers," Fairbank said. "In such cases, leveraging data becomes valuable."

Multiple Factors Prevent Consumers From Leaving Feedback

"There are a wide range of psychological factors that could influence a consumer's decision not to leave feedback online," said Daniel O’Sullivan, director analyst in Gartner's customer service and support practice.

Some consumers may not feel comfortable sharing private information, others may be concerned about the time commitment while others may feel their feedback will go unheard. 

He said the best requests for feedback are targeted, personalized and recognizable to the end user.

"Achieving this requires organizations to use a mix of technologies that bridge the gap between internal customer data and external customer messaging and alerts," O'Sullivan explained. "Many organizations rely on VoC platforms as the primary technology for coordinating this process." 

These platforms can help to manage requests for feedback, ensuring that requests are targeted, timely and utilize effective language. 

Fairbank said in terms of feedback response generation and crafting a voice of the customer strategy, the responsibility typically lies with multiple stakeholders within an organization.

"This may include the customer experience team, marketing team, product development team, and senior management," he noted. 

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Strategy Needed for Comprehensive Customer Feedback, VoC Goals

Swetha Ramjee Kumar, KPMG's advisory managing director and US voice of customer lead, said ultimately, customer experience (CX) and a customer-centric culture must come from the top.

"Leadership needs to set a clear CX vision and continuously encourage and invest in a focus on customer experience across all functions," Kumar said. "A key capability the CX team owns is customer feedback collection — which requires a voice of customer tool that captures both solicited and unsolicited feedback from customers across their end-to-end journey."

The CX team needs to think holistically about the customer journey and collect comprehensive feedback to get an accurate, actionable picture of what customers are saying, doing and feeling so that the organization can appropriately respond.

"The CX team — and leadership — need to empower cross-functional teams to action on feedback and enable them to do so by providing them with relevant, actionable customer feedback specific to their role," she explained. 

O'Sullivan said the best customer feedback strategies are developed with strong internal governance. This means that the strategy is developed to incorporate the requirements of multiple different stakeholders and their objectives, ensuring that requests for feedback are coordinated and consistent. 

"The best organizations look beyond direct customer feedback — typically gathered via surveys and reviews — and incorporate a range of additional feedback methods into their strategy as well," he said.

Learning Opportunities

Indirect feedback (such as feedback collected via social media, online communities or over the phone) can be more challenging to analyze, but potentially offer a wealth of insights beyond traditional, and often limited, direct feedback methods. 

Kumar added insights need to be operationalized with an adaptable, comprehensive approach to successfully impact operating models and drive meaningful change.

"This model needs to span across monitoring customer feedback, analyzing feedback and incorporating data from various sources, and continuously optimizing people, process, and technology to deliver highest value experiences to customers," she said. 

From her perspective, overall feedback strategy needs to connect to clear business outcomes and be part of a broader shift toward customer centricity and empowering the organization to drive change based on feedback collected. 

Related Article: 5 Ways to Optimize Your Customer Feedback Program

The Role of Generative AI in Customer Feedback

O'Sullivan added the process of analyzing, and ultimately driving action, based on large volumes of text-based customer feedback has long proved difficult for many organizations.

"Generative AI has the potential to significantly improve this process through the ability to rapidly summarize text to generate new insights," he said. "For organizations this could help to minimize the time it takes to go from feedback to insight to action."

He added the best organizations realize that gathering high-quality feedback requires more than simply issuing blanket surveys and requests for reviews.

"Instead, these organizations use data and analytics to combine what they already know about a customer with specific requests for feedback that can help to highlight or illuminate a particular aspect of the customer experience," O'Sullivan noted. 

Kumar agrees feedback collection must be a part of a broader VoC program that translates feedback into insights that connect to actions in order to drive true impact.

"As part of that program, advanced data analytics and AI become methods to enrich feedback and connect it to other key customer data points collected in platforms across the business," she said.

This creates a fully integrated customer analytics framework incorporating full end-to-end prioritization, driving automated decision-making across a wide range of the customer engagement ecosystem.