7 types of customer feedback and how to use them
Knowing what your customers think and feel about your product or service – along with how they experience it and what they expect of it – can open the doors to an array of improvements. Whether your product itself could benefit from a new iteration, or your customer service is missing the mark, understanding customer pain points is the first step in tightening operations.
On the other hand, getting to grips with everything consumers love about your brand and what it’s delivering lets you know what you’re doing well – allowing you to confidently continue your chosen path. Either way, collecting customer feedback can give you a goldmine of information to act on.
So, let’s look at seven of the most common types of customer feedback, and how to use them.
What is customer feedback?
Customer feedback is what your customers share with you about their experience with your product or service. This feedback represents their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and can be influenced by a wide range of factors – from your product itself, to interactions with your employees, and comparison with your competitors.
There are two main types of customer feedback:
- Feedback that you reach out for, such as customer satisfaction surveys
- Feedback that customers give you without being asked, like bug reports
You can gather customer feedback in the form of focus groups, reviews, surveys, in-app chats, and even via social media. Regardless of the format, the feedback you glean is invaluable for helping you to spot any shortcomings, improve your products and services, and see how you stack up against the competition.
This level of understanding not only gives you the opportunity to make sure your existing customers keep on choosing your brand over any other, but also allows you to attract new customers with greater ease. After all, what’s better than a brand that’s listened to its customers and attuned its products and services to what people want, based on real-life feedback?
Right then, let’s look at seven types of customer feedback that you should be using, and what to do with the data when you have it.
Different types of customer feedback that you should be using
- Product feedback
Coming in strong at number one is the staple of customer feedback: product feedback. If you’re putting a product out into the market, you need to know how it’s being received – otherwise, you’re just shooting in the dark and hoping for the best, which isn’t the best business strategy, now is it?
Can’t I just look at my sales figures, we hear you ask? Well, no, because that’s not an accurate reflection of customer experience. You might entice customers to purchase from you as a one-off, but that doesn’t guarantee repeat business; nor does it give you an understanding of what consumers think about your product.
Collecting feedback about your product specifically – whether that’s through focus groups, surveys, or monitoring online mentions – will afford you a real insight into how people are interacting with and experiencing your product. You can then use this data to fix bugs, make changes, or do more of what’s working.
- Online reviews
Review sites are a treasure-trove of information for potential customers looking to make a purchase; they’re also a great way for businesses to get a handle on their reputation in the marketplace. But when are people most likely to head online and write you a review? When they’re unhappy, of course.
Review sites can turn up some glowing recommendations, but often, people take to review sites when they’re particularly disgruntled; with that in mind, it’s crucial that you keep on top of your online mentions. From review sites to social media, set up alerts to notify you whenever your name (or a relevant keyword) is mentioned. That way, you can swoop in and diffuse any negative situations when they arise.
It’s also a nice touch to respond to positive reviews: thanking your customers for taking the time to leave you feedback shows that you value customer opinion, and that you’re prepared to listen and act on what consumers are telling you.
- Customer service feedback
Today’s customers expect a first-class level of customer service as standard; if they don’t get it, they’re very unlikely to stick with you – no matter how whizzy your product is. With that in mind, you should make it common practice to gather customer service feedback whenever your customers have an interaction with your brand.
You can collect customer feedback through Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT), Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and Customer Effort Scores (CES). The data you elicit will allow you to gauge how happy your customers are, measure their level of loyalty, and make any necessary changes to your company’s customer service.
- Customer satisfaction feedback
As well as monitoring how happy your customers are with your customer service, it’s important to consider customer satisfaction as a whole. Every point in the customer journey will feed into how customers feel about your brand – from how easy your website is to navigate, to your after-sales care. The more satisfied your customers, the more likely they are to keep coming back for more.
You can measure customer satisfaction using Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT), but make sure you send out surveys at different points of the customer journey to get an overall picture of how people interact with your brand. The data you collect at each stage will allow you to pinpoint any areas that may be letting you down.
- Customer complaints
Ah, the dreaded complaint. No company likes receiving bad press, but when a customer tells you they’re unhappy, you have a prime opportunity to make amends – and make improvements for the future. But if you’re going to use customer complaints to your advantage, time is of the essence.
If you don’t deal with negative feedback as soon as it’s given, you risk losing your customer to a competitor, as well as anyone in their network who may come to hear about their experience. So, whether a complaint is made to you directly, or put out into the world through social media, you need to act on it without delay.
Setting up alerts – or using software to monitor your mentions – allows you to jump on any grievances for a speedy and satisfactory resolution.
- Feature requests
A great way to understand where improvements can be made to your products or services is by enabling feature requests on your website or app. From bug fixes to suggestions for new iterations, feature requests give you a direct line to the mind of the consumer; you can even give your customers the power to raise tickets for any issues – putting them in the driving seat.
As with any other type of feedback, it’s important you respond quickly to any suggestions, and explain how you plan to act on that feedback.
- Sales feedback
Collecting feedback at the point of sale, followed by a customer satisfaction survey, is a great way to gather key data concerning your sales process; you could even use the recordings of any sales calls to get a handle on how smooth the sales process is, and how well customers respond.
Sales data is also telling: have sales spiked following the launch of a new product? Have some iterations performed better than others? What about sales to coincide with a marketing campaign, or in the wake of bad press? This data is all valuable for forming a picture of what impacts your sales, and how you customers perceive your brand.
How can Forsta help?
Forsta’s Voice of Customer Software gives you the unique ability to listen to the voice of your customers, understand it, and improve it.
It can be challenging to keep on top of every piece of customer feedback, but our nifty software lets you see the entire customer journey, across every channel, on every device. Whether you opt for self-service or managed service, everything’s set up to show what your data means in the real world – allowing you to turn data into insight, at top speed.
We’ll give you the tools to take action that drives real change, by showing you which areas of your customer journey need some attention – and because we can get all your data resources working as one, you’ll see your costs drop quickly, too.
Request a demo of Forsta’s Voice of Customer Software to see what we’re all about.
The importance of acting on customer feedback
Whichever type of customer feedback you gather, the most important thing is to act on that feedback. The data you collect through surveys, review sites, and even complaints give you a critical insight into the minds of your customers: these insights, when acted on, can be used to make real improvements to your products and services – helping you to keep customer retention high, and your market offering relevant.
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