What To Do After Gathering Customer Feedback

7 min read

Gathering feedback from your customers and users is critical to understanding how to foster a better overall experience. But, after you’ve gathered this feedback, how can you actually use it to improve?

You can collect feedback in tons of ways, but this might lead you to a pile of information that is hard to decipher. Since each piece of feedback is so valuable, it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do with all of these opinions.

In this blog, we’re going to look at some basic steps to tackling your pile of feedback so you can build a better business with happier customers.

First, identify common feedback positives & negatives

This first step may be the most difficult one, but after this, it will be much smoother sailing. The best way to begin combing through feedback is by sorting it into categories.

  1. First, create a place where you can map this information out. Separate your document into two sections: positive feedback and negative. The positive stuff will inform you what you are doing right, and therefore, what you should continue doing. The negative items will be your improvement areas.
  2. Now, begin sorting through your feedback. Depending on the way you collected it, this might include compiling multiple sources into a single content management system where you can sort and search. If you aren’t dealing with hundreds (or even thousands, yikes!) of feedback, you can take a simpler approach and just start reading.
  3. Cut the outliers. As you’re reading, sort any unhelpful feedback into a trash pile. This might be specific things that only a single person complained about, it could be emotionally charged complaints, or it might just be something that you know you cannot change (like if a customer complained about where you are located in town, but you know you cannot move). The best rule of thumb is if there are only one or two people complaining about a topic that no one else mentions at all, you shouldn’t focus your resources on it.
  4. Find the lowest hanging fruit. Now, we will do the opposite. Begin highlighting all of the topics that are mentioned most frequently. As you notice these themes arising, consider searching for common keywords throughout your feedback as well to discover more instances.
  5. List the positives and negatives. Use those common themes and sort them into our initial two columns.  Keep in mind, many things can likely be grouped together so you aren’t left with enormous lists. For example, if many complain of a long hold wait time and more complain of unhelpful IVR, those could easily be grouped into one issue.

Now, what do I do with all of this information?

  • For the positive items, keep those in mind and continue implementing them. Also, consider using those same strategies to improve your negative areas.
  • For the negative items, we will explore some different ways you can improve below.

Improve customer experience by updating your user journey

It might be a good idea to focus on updating your customers' journey including everything from pre-purchase to post-sale and support. Consider this option if any of your negative feedback includes comments like:

  • I don’t know which product I should buy and what will match all of my needs.
  • I’m not sure how I can order or find products online.
  • I cannot tell which products are compatible with what I already own.
  • How do I register my product, and am I eligible for a warranty?
  • I do not know how to set up my product.
  • I cannot figure out how to use X, Y, and Z features.
  • The product is too complicated to use and I cannot find help online.

So what can you do to resolve this negative feedback?

Ease these processes by adding more easy-to-use experiences to your website or in-person stores. Have you ever wondered why Amazon is so easy to use? It’s because they empower customers to do all of the above on their own, with ease, by using self-service.  

Now, overhauling your entire site with self-service might sound like a ton of work. But you can start small. Pick the process that most people complain about and try to smooth it out, making it easier for customers to utilize. For example, if tons of people are struggling to register products, consider adding a product registration guided form to your website so they no longer need to call and wait on hold.

A great option for building such experiences is starting with a self-service template provider. For example, with ServiceTarget, you can pick and choose pre-made templates for any of the scenarios above (or all!) and add them to your website in minutes.

Improve customer satisfaction by updating your product roadmap

While half of what impacts your customers' success is their experience, the other half is the product itself. Based on your feedback, you might discover what your customers are expecting your products to become in the future. This might include:

  • Many customers loving a certain feature and hoping to continue utilizing it in the future. If this is the case, consider maintaining this function, even if that wasn’t your original plan.
  • Many customers hating a certain feature. Sometimes, products don’t work as expected, and what you thought your customers would love, they actually hate. In this case, even if this feature was your company’s biggest plan in the future, you might want to consider changing paths before driving away customers.
  • Lots of feedback surrounding features you currently lack. This is a great indicator of where you should move in the future. Customers are always demanding more, so the best thing you can do as a business is listen to these demands and work to meet them.
  • Any product or feature ideas and suggestions. This one is fairly obvious, but asking your customers for direct ideas is a great way to develop a future plan.

The most important thing here is to remain flexible. Businesses are always evolving and so are your customers' needs. What you thought customers would like two years ago may not still be the case. The world is quite unpredictable today and the best thing you can do is remain agile and keep an open mind to change. While it is great to plan for future product and feature enhancements, leave some wiggle room for feedback-inspired change. People are happiest when their voices are heard and actual change occurs.

Take another look at your customer service management strategy

A huge aspect of your customer experience (so huge, we needed to make it its own point) is customer service. This includes all interactions that a customer must make with your company. And unfortunately, this is often a huge pain point with most businesses. It’s often hard to allocate the proper resources to your support and service teams so they can successfully serve the hundreds, or even thousands, of contacts they get per day.

If this was one of the negative feedback items on your list, the good news is there are some great ways to improve without dumping money on the problem. Often, companies think hiring a dozen new front-line agents will solve their customer service challenges, but that only puts a bandaid on the problem.

So, how can you resolve this feedback from its source? If customers are complaining of long wait times, not receiving support, and not reaching helpful agents, they need a solution that can resolve all of these problems, all of the time. The answer is self-service.

Self-service empowers customers to help themselves with guided troubleshooting, knowledge articles, intelligent contact routing, and much more. This prevents customers from ever calling for easy, preventable issues and frees up your agents to focus on the more complex problems. By equipping both customers and teams with this knowledge, the overall experience is improved and can be scaled as your company grows. Plus, you can reduce support tickets, wait times, churn, and abandonments.

But how can I build such a system? It may sound complicated, but luckily there are tons of systems out there that can get you started with simple templates. ServiceTarget’s self-service template includes all of the experiences we mentioned above and more. Plus you can track all customer data, contacts, and inquiries in a convenient data management system so agents can stay ahead on customer needs, reducing resolution times and improving efficiency.

Update your content management system

Odds are, the majority of your negative feedback could be resolved with adequate knowledge resources and content. Educating customers is the most scalable and reliable way to ensure their success. But when content is fragmented across all different sources, pages, and sites, it can be hard for customers to easily find what they need.

If you discover that there is a lot of negative feedback surrounding your help articles, search process, and content navigation system, it may be time to update your content management system.

There are tons of options out there that can help you manage all of your content, across sources, in a single place. This can help unify your experience and make it easier for customers to find support. This is also another feature that the ServiceTarget self-service template includes.

When updating your content management system, consider the following:

  • Source integrations
  • Content organization (tables, fields, etc.)
  • Content editing & curation
  • Collaboration tools
  • Update flexibility

Inspire change within your team

All of these improvements we’ve gone through thus far cannot successfully work without a motivated team. Often, employees who have been with a business for many years become too accustomed to their current work-life and may not feel excited to change. But business evolution is necessary. And therefore, getting your team on board with change and improvement is critical to successfully pulling off all of these updates.

How can I get my team on board?

  • Define clear day-to-day changes. If your employees need to improve in any way, you must make it clear exactly how you would like them to do so. Include the day-to-day activities you would like changed.
  • Define long-term goals. Create measurable and trackable goals for employees to reach. Be sure to choose ones that match up with their day-to-day goals.
  • Offer incentives on improvements. Align these incentives with long-term goals to motivate employees to want to be better.
  • Keep up with these changes with day-to-day meetings, progress reports, and more. Sometimes businesses might enact change but fall through on the execution of it. Be sure to show your employees that you are serious about these changes.

Continue the conversation

The final step to resolving negative feedback and implementing the positive is to continue the conversation. Gathering feedback is not a one-and-done procedure. Especially as your business changes, it is crucial to continue collecting feedback to make sure that you are still on the right path.

As you make changes, consider sending more targeted surveys and questions surrounding the specific updates you make. Gauge how well certain changes are perceived and focus your resources toward the ones that reap the most results. As always, continue evolving based on your customers' needs.

Next, continue learning about all of the different ways you can collect customer feedback and user feedback.

I love to write with one goal in mind - to help you build amazing customer experiences. Our content is tailored to help you understand your customers, design great products and deliver world-class customer self-service. I share my knowledge and experience through my articles, videos, podcasts, templates, and more - so you can take your customer experience to the next level.‍

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