How to Shrink Your Customer Feedback Cycle
The process of creating products and services and then delivering them to customers often feels fairly linear in nature. In fact, for centuries, this one-dimensional approach has been the path that most businesses have taken.
However, ever-evolving modern communication and technology have led to a more customer-centric 21st-century business model. This has challenged the traditional linear aspect of running a business, leading to the concept of the customer feedback cycle.
What Is a Customer Feedback Cycle?
A customer feedback cycle replaces the “action-reaction” mentality of a linear business model with a mutual causality or mutual causal interaction alternative. In other words, it eliminates the “we create and you accept the results” attitude by inviting customers into the product refinement process. This creates a cyclical model in which:
- A business creates and sells a product or service.
- A customer purchases the product or service and uses it.
- The customer provides constructive feedback about the product or service.
- The business uses its contact center software to collect various forms of feedback.
- The business organizes and analyzes the feedback collected by their CCaaS software.
- The business comes to conclusions and creates actionable steps for improvement of the product or service.
- The cycle is repeated.
Also called a customer feedback loop, this model provides a path of continuous improvement for an enterprise’s products and services.
The Benefits of a Customer Feedback Cycle
There are many natural benefits to a customer feedback cycle, such as:
- Naturally initiating customer engagement.
- Helping to refine and maintain quality customer service.
- Serving as a fountainhead of innovation for both organizational processes and offerings.
- Acting as a quality assurance test, not just for products but for business ideas and concepts, as well.
The various benefits of feedback loops can have a powerful effect on the long-term success of an organization.
The Problem with Customer Feedback Cycles
While feedback cycles can have many positive effects, they can also introduce a number of concerns.
For instance, they can often become complicated and overwhelming to manage. Poor communication with CRM reps or unclear objectives can make it difficult to glean actionable advice, as well.
When this happens, the solution shouldn’t be to eliminate your customer feedback cycle. Instead, look for opportunities to reign it in.
How to Shrink Your Customer Feedback Cycle
Here are five suggestions for simple ways that you can shrink your customer feedback cycle to make it as efficient as possible.
The first step should be addressing the organization factor. Is your feedback loop clearly defined? Are objectives understood by your entire staff? Is a clear system established to identify the necessary work required to improve products and services?
If you want to avoid overcomplicating your feedback cycle, it’s essential that you stay focused and orderly in your approach. Your cycle should hone in on three steps:
- Gathering information.
- Interpreting information.
- Taking action.
If any activity doesn’t fall into line with one of these three goals, it should be eliminated.
You should also have people clearly assigned to each required role in your cycle. These roles can be assigned to either a single individual or multiple employees collaborating together. Roles that should be considered include:
- Providing overarching guidance and drive to your feedback system.
- Identifying questions and quality feedback that is required for improvement.
- Finding internal contributors who can provide critical information about how to improve products and services.
- Approving ultimate decisions based on feedback and then propagating said decisions and related information to those who need it to improve the product or service.
These are all critical activities in the customer feedback cycle. If they aren’t clearly assigned, they may go unaddressed. Even worse, they may be half-heartedly addressed by different people throughout the customer feedback cycle process.
Focus on Smaller Loops More Often
If you feel your feedback cycle is unwieldy, consider getting into the habit of applying your cycle on a regular basis. It may sound counterintuitive, but addressing your customer feedback more often can create a smaller, easier to handle cycle.
It’s similar to conducting regular car maintenance rather than waiting until something major breaks down. Small feedback loops can be simple, timely, and easy-to-apply. Larger feedback loops can lead to complicated analyses, multiple corrections, and getting bogged down making larger changes all at once.
Maintain a Focus on Improvement
Remember, feedback loops should always be focused on improvement. If you’re generally getting approval and pats on the back through your customer service channels, you may want to change your format.
Create surveys, poll social media followers, and request specific feedback that encourages constructive criticism. Otherwise, you’ll end up with generic positivity that does not generate change. Even worse, you may end up with generic negativity that merely creates more stress and difficult-to-pinpoint problems.
Inform Customers of Changes
Finally, as you implement feedback and complete each cycle, let customers know about the changes you’re making. When customers discover that they’re being heard, it will foster brand loyalty. It will also encourage quality feedback to continue to pour in far into the future.
There are many ways to shrink the customer feedback cycle. However, the process can only start if leadership is willing to scrutinize the current state of affairs within its own company’s customer-facing activities. If inefficiencies abound, refer to the above recommendations and begin looking for ways to shore up your particular customer feedback cycle. If you can do that, you’ll be able to utilize a high-quality feedback loop to perpetually improve and enjoy the many other benefits that it provides.