Whether a business is in manufacturing, telecommunications or software, its success relies on positive customer experiences. When end users are satisfied with the goods, services and support they receive, they will keep coming back. Just as important, companies can use customer feedback to beat the competition and boost their bottom line.
Happy customers are loyal, and recurring customers save companies money on new lead generation. Customers can also operate as a cost-efficient source of new leads, serving as inadvertent brand ambassadors if they share rave reviews with others in their network.
Gathering and analyzing customer feedback to ensure end users are satisfied is critical to business success. Positive comments can reaffirm a company’s success, while negative reviews can help companies identify areas in need of improvement.
This data can improve overall offerings, giving companies a competitive edge. Here’s how to make the most of it.
Customer Feedback: The No. 1 Weapon
Knowledge is power, and this is especially true when it comes to meeting customers’ unique needs. With detailed feedback from real-world clientele, companies can:
- Monitor ongoing customer satisfaction levels;
- Gain insight into customers’ unique needs;
- Improve product or service offerings; and
- Show customers care and avoid alienating them.
All of this can add up to greater customer satisfaction, which helps win over new customers — possibly even taking them from the competition. Companies can also nurture loyalty among existing clients, as satisfied consumers won’t be tempted to look for competitors’ solutions.
4 Ways Customer Feedback Can Help Beat The Competition
Here’s how companies can use customer feedback to gain a competitive advantage in the modern business landscape:
1. Understanding & Meeting Customers’ Needs
For example, consumers might be happy with a product but turned off by a negative customer service experience. Important customer success metrics could include wait time to have an issue resolved and support method versatility (or lack thereof).
Many businesses are quick to assume that dissatisfied consumers mean a problem with the product or service. The issue may be a much easier fix, like tweaking an ad campaign or updating a chat bot.
2. Gaining Customer Insights Into Employee Performance For Superior Service
Customer feedback helps monitor employee performance, especially for those who deal directly with clients. For example, when offering in-house telephone support, companies should ensure that workers are dealing with callers courteously and professionally.
A simple training and feedback loop for customer-facing teams can significantly impact business success. In the case of a call center, the process might involve recording calls, reviewing positives and negatives and using that data to inform coaching and future training.
Many consumers will switch to a different provider after a bad service experience, so this added step toward accountability can improve the overall customer service experience.
3. Gathering Competitive Intelligence To Assess Advantage
Companies shouldn’t just look at customer feedback — they should also consider the feedback consumers are leaving competitors. Organizations should scour the internet for reviews in public forums to see how their products and services compare to those of the competition.
Further, companies should ensure they’re meeting the benchmark set forth by others in the same field. For example, it might seem reasonable for 80% of clients to be satisfied, but what if the industry standard is 95%?
Reading competitor reviews can also help identify their weaknesses — if clients complain about a rival’s lack of telephone support, organizations can highlight this as a value-added proposition (if provided with confidence).
4. Avoiding Reputational Damage & Losing Clients To The Competition
Not all customer feedback is positive — that’s normal. If a customer isn’t happy with a company, be it the product or the consumer experience, find out why. There is opportunity for improvement while avoiding similar scenarios with future consumers.
Additionally, targeting negative customer feedback allows companies to fix the situation. Let’s say a person purchases a product, discovers it’s defective and then writes a scathing complaint. Organizations can remediate the issue and, if the client is satisfied with the response, they likely will continue with the business relationship. It’s about turning a negative into a win.
Elevating the consumer experience is becoming even more critical in the wake of Covid-19. The most successful companies in the crisis were those that were able to identify and adapt to consumer behaviors, needs and experiences. That kind of flexibility requires granular, real-world data — which is where customer feedback comes into play.
Christopher Daniels is the Chief Revenue Officer for Televerde, an integrated sales and marketing technology organization based in Phoenix. Seven of Televerde’s 10 engagement centers are staffed by incarcerated women, representing 70% of the company’s 600+ global workforce.