When you hear the word engagement as it relates to the customers, the first thing you’ll typically think of these days is social media. Have you considered how your customer feedback program enhances engagement, and in turn, increased sales?
I’m not talking about customer feedback surveys that point customers to the brand’s social media sites so they can stay connected; instead, I’m referring to an interesting piece of research that lends to the thought that if you can get customers to provide feedback, and keep them continuing to offer that feedback, it will lead to increased engagement. And of course, those customers who are more engaged will likely spend more, resulting in ultimately a piece of ROI for your customer feedback program.
PeopleMetrics recently published an article on this very topic. They shared the above theory and wanted to see how it would play out. They conducted some research that looked at customers who repeatedly provided customer feedback over time to measure their engagement and spend.
They found that engagement and spend moved in the positive over time; those who were tagged as “disengaged” at the beginning, yet continued to provide feedback over a period of time became more engaged customers, and those that were already engaged at the beginning of the study were even more engaged. Even better, both groups showed an increase in spending.
This was conducted in a B2B setting, though I wonder if the results would be similar in a B2C setting.
The article cites three reasons why this may hold true:
1. It gives customers a way to express their thoughts and opinions from their point of view. Talking about themselves is rewarding, and by giving customers a chance to share their thoughts and how your company affects them, it gives them a reason to feel more engaged with your company.
2. By asking for feedback, it sends the message that the company is committed to the customer and providing the best experience possible.
3. Customers who get a more tailored experience on future visits feel that their feedback was valued, and companies are working hard to provide them with a great experience that will keep them coming back.
In reading this article, I believe that this is a great way to think about customer feedback. However, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that you are making the most of your feedback program to ensure that you will get those repeat customers who are willing to share with you:
1. Respond to feedback when possible: making things right during an unpleasant experience, or simply thanking a respondent for a great suggestion can go a long way in creating a positive relationship with customers.
2. Sharing company changes as a result of feedback results, whether publicly or with specific customers who made specific suggestions, can go a long way in sending a very strong message that not only do you listen to your customers, but you take their thoughts and suggestions into consideration. If you’re seeing a trend revolving around a particular issue customers have, perhaps long wait times at the register, it’s time to look carefully at this to see what changes can be made. If, perhaps, you decided to open additional registers during the busy periods, it’s a great idea to share this new development with customers. Something along the path of creating signage that reads “Thank you, shoppers, for your suggestions. We are now providing additional help at the registers to better serve you.” That may be a bit cheesy or simplistic, but showing customers how you respond to feedback can be important.
3. Share the results with the staff that matter the most – your customer facing, front line workers. Many times feedback doesn’t trickle down this far, unless it’s significant or negative in nature. Employees that deal directly with your customers need to know what is working for customers and where they feel service is lacking. Sometimes just sharing this information with employees will get them sharing their own thoughts about service related challenges, giving you another opportunity to see how you can do things better.
Customer feedback has been around forever, and continues to prove to be a useful tool to capture customer sentiment, opinions, and suggestions. Thinking of it as a tool to increase ROI and engagement is interesting, and one that should not be overlooked.