Learn what managing customer feedback is and why it is essential. Understand how managing customer feedback fits in with other aspects of shaping customer experience. Learn definitions for related terms, including voice of the customer (VOC).
- What is managing customer feedback? Let's clear up some of the confusion around the many different interpretations of what it is and involves. We can define managing customer feedback as the process by which an organization collects, analyzes, and acts on customer feedback. This applies whether you're helping a specific customer, or whether you're referring to managing all the feedback across an organization. Now, if you do a search on managing customer feedback, you're gonna find a lot of different perspectives, but they tend to fall into one of two categories.
One is tactical. This is when we act on feedback as it happens to solve problems or deliver personalized service. Here's an example. Let's say I'm working a flight and you're a customer, and I find out in a casual conversation in the boarding process that you and the debate team you're traveling with just won a national competition. It's awesome, so I can make an announcement to the entire plane. Just imagine the memory you and your team will have of the applause from your fellow passengers. Or maybe there's a problem.
You're sitting at your seat and you note on Twitter, "so much for getting work done on this four-hour flight; "the tray table's broken and tilting." So the service team is able to respond with an apology and a credit. Those are tactical examples. The other category is strategic. From this perspective, we collect and analyze feedback from many different customers and look for recurring problems or opportunities. This insight's essential in knowing where and how to improve products and services, and processes.
So, in our example, are seat back trays a recurring problem? Is this a matter of inspection or maintenance after a flight, or maybe telling the manufacturer what's going on? There's so much potential here. Amazon.com analyzes customer feedback for ideas on improving their self-service platform. JetBlue looks for clues on benefits customers love, so the airline doesn't have to compete on price alone. So tactical or strategic, which of the two definitions is correct? Actually they are both correct.
Both are essential and closely related. There are many cases where of course we've gotta act on feedback as it happens, but managing customer feedback is especially powerful when we link it to a strategic approach. You may be familiar with the closely related term Voice of the Customer. Is Voice of the Customer the same thing as managing customer feedback? Well, it often overlaps to a large degree. An effective Voice of the Customer program captures input on what customers experience and provides information on what's happening, and their perceptions, and, ideally, some insight into their needs and wants.
Here is my caution. In some cases, the Voice of the Customer program tends to be too narrow in focus, or it's too tightly controlled with only limited involvement from the rest of the organization. So an existing Voice of the Customer program might be just part of what it takes to comprehensively manage customer feedback. My recommendation is to view managing customer feedback as a way of doing business. It involves the entire organization, and it's transformative when it becomes part of the culture.
- Why tracking and using customer feedback is so important
- Establishing goals
- Managing feedback in real time
- Responding to positive and negative feedback
- Collecting feedback
- Analyzing feedback
- Acting on feedback
- Assessing results
- Hearing the voice of the customer