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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:
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:
as to how they can promptly improve the customer experience at critical moments in the customer journey.
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).
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."
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.
What works one day may not work the next. Customer feedback helps stay on top of ever-evolving customer expectations.
Companies must always find new insights and opportunities to better meet their customers’ needs, expectations and perceptions across the customer journey.
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).
would choose word-of-mouth if asked to pick only one source of information.
When executed properly, closing the feedback loop can benefit not only your customers but also different members of your organization.
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.
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.
"Customers don't expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong."
“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:
A well-executed Voice of the Customer (
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.
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.
You should collect feedback from your customers on any touchpoint where they are interacting with your brand. For example:
This closed-loop feedback approach allows you to:
on these different touchpoints across the customer journey
across each stage of their journey, more easily.
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:
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.
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:
in launching a Voice of the Customer program and how to approach your feedback collection efforts across the customer journey.
to ensure the right feedback gets into the right hands as quickly as possible so they can act as soon as possible.
that help you easily visualize and compare how your Customer Experience is being perceived at each stage of the customer journey.