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20 Best Practices for Customer Feedback Programs: Method and Reporting

Below is the next installment of the 20 Best Practices for Customer Feedback Programs. Today’s post covers best practices in Method and Reporting.

Best Practices in Method and Reporting

Customer requirements are those aspects of the customer experience that are important to the customers. Establishing a comprehensive list of these customer requirements is necessary in any feedback program. The list of customer requirements is an evolving list, one that drives the customer feedback program and is impacted by the customer feedback program. Data collection methods assess how well we are meeting customers’ current requirements and also help us understand customers’ future requirements.

Figure 4. Structured surveys, social media and online brand communities provide methods for collecting customer feedback.

Figure 4. Structured surveys, social media and online brand communities provide methods for collecting customer feedback.

The method of customer feedback data collection addresses the means by which the organization collects customer feedback data (See Figure 4). There are various methods by which customer feedback data are collected. One method is typically through a structured collection process like a survey that asks standardized questions about the customers’ experience with the service/product/brand. Another data collection method is less structured and includes the use of social media sites and online brand communities where customers can communicate (“tweet”) in a free-form format about their experience or seek support for a problem. All methods provide a rich source of data that can help companies gain deep customer insight regarding customer loyalty, customer satisfaction with the customer experience and customer sentiment.

Loyalty leaders adopt a Web-based survey approach to collect customer feedback across a variety of survey types (e.g., transactional, relationship, targeted). Web surveys and can facilitate the integration of the customer feedback into business processes and systems (e.g., CRM), thereby helping loyalty leading companies easily and quickly understand different customer constituencies.

Loyalty leaders measure various components of customer loyalty that are designed for the company’s specific needs. Rather than relying on one single measure of loyalty (Reichheld, 2003, 2006), loyalty leaders measure different types of loyalty (retention, purchasing), gaining insight that helps them grow their business through new and existing customers (Hayes, 2011, Hayes, 2008a, 2008c; 2009; Keiningham, et al. 2007; Morgan & Rego, 2006).

The quality of the customer feedback program does not stop at the collection of the customer feedback. Loyalty leaders know how to best summarize and present the customer feedback so the company is able to make useful business decisions. Analyzing, summarizing and disseminating the customer feedback results are essential components to uncovering insight about the customer relationship.

Loyalty leaders apply the following two general loyalty management approaches: 1) micro approach and 2) macro approach. The micro approach is focused on addressing the concerns of a specific customer. The macro approach is focused on addressing systemic issues that impact large customer segments. Table 4 below summarizes these two general approaches.

Table 4. Loyalty Leaders’ Loyalty Management Approach
Micro Approach Macro Approach
1. Addresses special causes of disloyalty, one customer at a time 1. Addresses common causes of disloyalty across entire customer segments
2. Focus on special actions unique to the problem 2. Focus on process/system changes
3. Immediate implementation 3. Operational/Strategic changes
4. Customer-specific improvements 4. Organization-wide improvements
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As a general rule, reporting of the customer feedback results needs to be guided by the overarching company goals: improving customer loyalty. Loyalty leaders analyze the data to identify the reasons that cause customer dis/loyalty. Knowing these causes of customer loyalty, they can make better business decisions to maximize customer loyalty. The analyses and reporting of the results need to assist executives and frontline employees in making these correct business decisions that will improve the customer experience. A list of best practices for Method and Reporting is located in Table 5.

Table 5. Best Practices in Method and Reporting.
Best Practices The specifics…
10. Use automated (e.g., Web) tools to collect and report customer feedback metrics Web tools not only facilitate data collection, but with the ever-increasing adoption of a Web lifestyle, they are also becoming a necessity. Data collection via the Web is cost-effective, allows for quick integration with other data sources and speeds reporting of customer feedback.
11. Use different measures of customer loyalty Selecting the right mix of customer loyalty questions will ensure you can grow your business through new and existing customers. Understand the dimensions of customer loyalty (retention, advocacy, purchasing) and how they relate to your business growth strategies. The use of multiple loyalty questions improves the reliability of the survey results (Cronbach, 1951; Nunnally, 1978).
12. Use multiple methods to collect customer feedback Use a variety of sources of customer feedback to get comprehensive picture of the customer experience. Relationship surveys are effective at assessing general attitudes about the overall quality of the customer relationship. Transactional surveys are effective at assessing the quality of a specific interaction with the company.  Social media sites and online brand communities offer another vehicle for customer feedback. Multiple methods of collecting customer feedback will help the company ensure they get a reliable measure of the health of the customer relationship.
13. Present customer feedback program results throughout the company Build a customer feedback portal on company’s intranet site to house all information related to the customer feedback program. Use Web-based reporting tools for easy access by all employees, no matter where they are located in the world. Regularly publish customer research results in the company communiqué.
14. Incorporate customer contact management of the customer feedback program into the CRM system Integration with existing customer information systems helps ensure the right customers are surveyed at the right time. This integration supports the linkage of survey results to specific Contact(s) within Accounts, helping you understand both attitudinal and behavioral measures of the health of your customer relationships.
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Take the Customer Feedback Programs Best Practices Survey

You can take the best practices survey to receive free feedback on your company’s customer feedback program. This self-assessment survey assesses the extent to which your company adopts best practices throughout their program. Go here to take the free survey: http://businessoverbroadway.com/resources/self-assessment-survey.

 

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