WHAT DOES "CLOSING THE FEEDBACK LOOP" MEAN?

The Customer Experience (CX) is one of the (if not the) primary criteria on which brands compete nowadays.

Collecting customer feedback has always been crucial for brands to gauge the success of their efforts. However, just collecting this feedback is not enough for your Customer Experience Management (CEM) efforts to flourish.

You need to act on it. You need to empower your employees with it. You need to close the feedback loop.

People may call it many different things:

Closing the
feedback
loop

Closed-loop
customer
feedback

Closing the
customer feedback
loop

Closing the
loop

But whatever you call it, it all refers to the same idea:

Closing the feedback loop is the continuous collection of customer feedback on your digital touchpoints (i.e., website, mobile app) and offline touchpoints (i.e., in-store, call center), and leveraging the insights gleaned from this feedback to:

Alert front-line and customer support staff

as to how they can promptly improve the customer experience at critical moments in the customer journey

Help CX teams identify root causes of friction

in the existing Customer Experience design

 

Better inform internal stakeholders

when making key decisions that will impact overall CX design

 

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It’s a two-pronged approach to which Bain & Company refers as the inner and outer circles1:

The "inner circle" focuses on "training employees" to deliver great experiences

 

The "outer circle" focuses on "implementing structural improvements" based on the insights gathered when closing the inner loop (as well as other analyses).

 
 

Why is it important to close the customer feedback loop?

 


1. The Customer Experience is a top criterion on which brands compete

Brands should leverage customer feedback in their CX design efforts, and cannot afford to leave their front-line employees shorthanded when trying to improve individual customers’ experiences.

64 percent of people

think that CX is more important than price when choosing a brand, according to Gartner2.

$1.6T (estimated)

is lost every year by US companies due to poor customer service, according to Accenture Strategy3.


2. Collecting and acting on customer feedback helps brands better meet customer expectations

What works one day may not work the next. Customer feedback helps stay on top of ever-evolving customer expectations.

According to Salesforce4, 67 percent of customers say:

1. Their standard for good experiences is higher than they’ve ever been

2. They will pay more for a great experience


3. Closed-loop customer feedback helps inform your short-term and long-term CX efforts

Companies must always find new insights and opportunities to better meet their customers’ needs, expectations and perceptions across the customer journey.

32 percent of customers

stop doing business with a brand they love after only one bad experience, according to PwC5.

57 percent of customers

have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience, according to Salesforce4.


4. Closing the customer feedback loop plays a crucial role in reputation management

Companies must identify poor experiences early and notify support staff in real-time so they can quickly remedy these experiences before they get worse (e.g., vent on social media).

71 percent of people

recommend a product or service because they received a “great experience,” according to Convince & Convert6.

50 percent of Americans

would choose word-of-mouth if asked to pick only one source of information.

Who benefits from closed-loop customer feedback?

When executed properly, closing the feedback loop can benefit not only your customers but also different members of your organization.

 


How your customers win from closed-loop customer feedback

In exchange for their time in providing you with their feedback, customers have the potential to:

Hear from a support agent who already has the pertinent information and feedback they need within your ticket management system to improve their experience.

Feel more valued by the company, especially disgruntled customers who initially ran the risk of going to a competitor or venting to other people.

Help future customers receive better experiences as a result of the brand continually tweaking their CX.

 


How your organization wins from closed-loop customer feedback

By implementing the proper measures and workflows to automatically push relevant customer feedback into your ticket management system:  

Your front-line staff can have access to timely, actionable insights on which they can act to deliver better service.

Your CX professionals get feedback that gives them an idea of just how well (or poorly) their current CX efforts are paying off.

You can have access to a continuous source of feedback, both from your customers and front-line staff, as to how you can improve your overall CX design.

When should brands close the feedback loop?

“As soon as possible” is the name of the game when it comes to closing the feedback loop, especially for poor experiences.

Once you have collected feedback that indicates a poor experience, your chances of remedying this experience evaporate every minute it sits idle in your database. It is critical for your team to have the tools they need to be informed in real-time when there are poor experiences to remedy.

Here are two steps you must take to quickly close the feedback loop: 

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Put in place a structure to collect the right feedback at the right time

 

  • A well-executed Voice of the Customer (VoC) program will help you collect customer feedback and pinpoint poor experiences across your customer journey.
  • You should also provide customers with a means to securely share their contact information if they wish to be contacted by one of your support agents.

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Set up automated workflows to detect poor experiences in the feedback

 

  • Due to the urgency relating to poor experiences, you should avoid a manual approach of sifting through all your feedback and forwarding critical comments to the right stakeholders.
  • Set up workflows that detect customer feedback in real-time that meets your definition of a "poor experience" as soon as it comes in (i.e., Very low CSAT rating AND mentioned the word “buy”).
  • These workflows should also be programmed to automatically send critical feedback to the appropriate front-line staff so they can act on it right away.

Where can you collect the feedback you need to close the customer feedback loop?

You should collect feedback from your customers on any touchpoint where they are interacting with your brand. For example:

During the experience

Website (Desktop and Mobile)

Mobile app

On-location / in-store

 Following an experience

Email

SMS

Call center / IVR

This closed-loop feedback approach allows you to:

Create a clearer map of the experiences

on these different touchpoints across the customer journey.

Compare how customers perceive your CX

across each stage of their journey, more easily.

Better know your CX's strengths and weaknesses

across the customer journey, and how you can improve it.

 Closing the feedback loop is a two-way street, though. Once you collect the feedback, you also need to determine the best channels through which to contact the customers who consented for you to reach out to them, which a great CEM partner can help you do. 

These channels can include:

SMS

Social Media

Phone / Interactive Voice

Email

Ultimately, it’s important to consider the survey and follow-up experiences as a whole, as well as to choose the right channels that make it easy for your customers to help you close the feedback loop.

Closing the customer feedback loop is essential to effective Customer Experience Management

Brands must continually find ways to offer an experience that is better, faster and more memorable than everyone else. Not to mention, brands must be prepared to immediately address and rectify a customer's poor experience.

Closing the feedback loop is not a new concept. However, its importance becomes increasingly accentuated as the Customer Experience takes a stronger stance as the key competitive differentiator.

To help you accomplish your closed-loop customer feedback goals, you should look for a CEM partner that helps you every step of the way to effectively close the feedback loop and improve your Customer Experience efforts, including:

Provide guidance

in launching a Voice of the Customer program and how to approach your feedback collection efforts across the customer journey

Implement workflows

to ensure the right feedback gets into the right hands as quickly as possible so they can act as soon as possible

Generate shareable dashboards

that help you easily visualize and compare how your Customer Experience is being perceived at each stage of the customer journey