As we move into 2018 it’s time for making plans to get the next year off to a great start. If you’re working with feedback you’ll already know how essential it is to know if you’re on the right track. Here are our top 3 New Year’s resolutions to make feedback a success in 2018.

Resolution 1: Be respondent-centric. High response rates and excellent insights will follow.

Survey fatigue is a real problem. You as a company have to stand out from the pack – your invitation really has to invite, and make it easy for your respondent to give feedback. Step one? Put yourself in your respondents shoes; be respondent-centric. For high responses you need to be doing things like:

  • Asking your first question already in an email (who wants to click here to begin a survey?).
  • Keeping your invitations short, sweet, relevant and address people personally. Has the respondent bought from you? Include the ‘Product Name’. Did they meet with your advisor? Include the advisor’s name.
  • A/B testing your sending timing, subjects, texts, senders, etc. We all do this non-stop with our website and ads, why not with customer feedback?

A good invite doesn’t compensate for a bad survey. In 2018 say goodbye to long, boring surveys in which someone has no idea how far they’ve come, and how far they’ve got to go. Black boxes simply don’t work, the drop off rates are too high. The silver bullet: fit your survey all on one page and keep the ‘submit’ button always in sight. You’ll quickly find that only the most important questions remain, the fluff is removed, and more people will fill out the whole survey.

Keep the mantra in mind: “Am I making this as easy as possible for my respondent to be heard?” This will mean being minimalistic in your survey, but not overly so. If you only ask a Net Promoter Score recommendation question you’ll never learn why someone is recommending you or not. Be sure to limit the amount of open questions you’re asking – steer your respondent through the survey quickly and easily and make sure you allow them to give comments if they want to, don’t force them to.

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Resolution 2: Follow up on feedback to boost loyalty

In 2018 set yourself apart from the pack by actually following up with your respondent.

It’s little wonder feedback has a bad reputation. Ask a bunch of people why they rarely fill in customer feedback surveys and many will tell you “they won’t do anything with my feedback anyway.” This year you can be the change. Loop back and tell them what’s been done with their feedback. Once you’ve got this implemented as a business process you’ll notice how feedback comes to life in your organisation.

For the survey itself, make sure you’ve got dynamic Thank You pages which respond to your respondent’s mood. Do away with those awful pop-ups saying “Thank you, you can close this tab” – these are a huge missed opportunity. Is your respondent extremely dissatisfied? Follow-up on this by showing them a Thank You page which tells them someone will be in touch (and then make sure they actually do! Automated notifications are your friend here). If you’ve got a happy camper you’ve got an evangelist and you need to leverage their positivity – get them to leave you a review!

We already see an increase in customer loyalty with our clients that follow this advice. So don’t refer to B2B or B2C in 2017, but to H2H: Human-to-Human.

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Resolution 3: Be smart with feedback: go multichannel, automate, integrate.

The number of channels through which you can reach your customer base is ever increasing. Which channel fits your company best? I’ll answer that: the channel your customers use. Don’t look at it as work, but as an opportunity! Because when you collect feedback on the contact via this channel you’ll see exactly how every channel is experienced by your customer. Add the costs per channel in your analysis, and you will know exactly which channel is the most efficient per target group. Redirect your customers to the right channel and you will see significant cost-decrease and a high satisfaction increase. We see this happening a lot via WhatsApp for example, but the channels and methods will evolve constantly.

If you’re working smart with data then More is More. Integrating many of your feedback sources will yield much richer insights. Besides the feedback you’ve asked your customers for via surveys, there’s always the unsolicited feedback that customers proactively give via Social media, for example. This kind of feedback can be found on your Facebook page, in reviews on Trustpilot, your Twitter feed, in Customer Service, and so on.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well, text- and speech-analytics are advancing and this big pile of feedback is looking more and more mineable for information. Why only act on the feedback you’ve directly asked for, and not on the feedback freely given?Combining these two fields is still new but will be more and more important in 2018. Social media monitoring solutions like Buzzcapture, Coosto, OBI4Wan, Media Injection and Tracebuzz are developing fast in integrating these two worlds.

It’s amazing how many companies don’t have their customer feedback automated and still trust the annual customer feedback survey. Besides the never ending questionnaire this results in, it’s also dangerous to build your improvement plan on feedback received at one moment in time. I recently spoke to a company that had a big breakdown shortly before they sent out their annual survey. Probably no surprise: the results turned out not so positive, while the company had had one of their best years ever. 2018 will be the year for every self-respecting company to automate their feedback process, because this brings along so many advantages:

  1. You’ll prevent cherry picking: more honest feedback
  2. You’ll democratise customer feedback
  3. Feedback will be a Continuous Measurement
  4. It’s a lot cheaper
  5. You’ll have more time on your hands to actually get to work on the given feedback
  6. A CRM-system that is up-to-date
  7. It’s safe (no more CSV files with client data sent back and forth)
  8. It’s automatically set on the agenda

Going for automation doesn’t mean that your email marketeer or customer service manager will soon be jobless. Rather, it will make them available for the actual important aspects of customer feedback: following up and making changes, and increasing the impact of the customer on the company agenda.

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Go for customer happiness in 2018

In 2018 it’s time to put yourself in your respondents shoes. See things through their eyes and question how they will experience your invitation for feedback. If you wouldn’t fill in your own survey how could you possibly expect your customer to? See your response rate as a score for quality and keep changing and optimizing to increase this score.

It’s also very important to remember that your customer is automatically more satisfied when you ask for his or her opinion, with the right set-up of course. By acting on the feedback, you will close the backdoor for customers to leave. The tips in this article for respondent-centricity are in line with the growing customer-centricity we experience more and more in companies we work with.

Be aware that expectations increase. Your customer has more comparable alternatives within reach than you would expect. Where you used to only be compared with your direct competition, customers now have choices available in companies that will do everything for a smile. These alternatives set the bar higher and higher for excellent customer experience. A satisfied customer isn’t good enough anymore, a happy customer should be your number one goal for 2018. With these resolutions on being respondent-centric, and being smart with feedback, you’ll be well on your way to making feedback a vital instrument in customer happiness.*

Starred is making feedback better for everyone. Want to find out how this can work for your company? Get in touch with us and let’s talk.