There was a time when customers & businesses used to choose their vendors based on the price alone. Even quality as a factor is not a big yardstick to measure when compared with customer experience. Surprised much? There are so many competitors these days that the only way you can show your differentiation is by offering a kick-ass customer experience.
Customer experience is a generic team because it encompasses everything that the average customer comes across including their first interaction with you till the time they make the payment to become your customer. No, it does not stop with that. The kind of experience that you give your customers after they have become one is also of paramount importance.
How would you get to know if your business is treating your customers in the right way? This is where getting real-time customer feedback becomes a huge part of your identity. Imagine being presented with real-time data from your customers as and when they are using your product. Another reason why you should try real-time customer feedback is that there are high chances of customers forgetting the experience of using your product after a period. This is where real-time customer feedback makes all the difference. A study by Gartner says that feedback collected at a customer touchpoint is 40% more accurate than one that is collected after 24 hours. Imagine that!
Also, do you realize that while asking for real-time customer feedback, you are creating an atmosphere that makes the customer’s experience positive and productive with you. If you can take the customer’s grouse with you and close the feedback loop by solving the customer’s issue, you are gold! You will have a customer for life when they see that you care and will not certainly think of your competitor unless they can promise the moon and deliver the same on an a mavasya (no moon day).
Here is how and when you can ask for real-time customer feedback!
Timing is a thing that affects us little mortals at most points in life. You don’t ask a prospective client if they would be willing to wire transfer an advance on your first discovery call where the objective is usually to see if both of you are fit for each other. You don’t ask a lady’s hand for marriage on your first date. You don’t ask if you have Saturdays off on your first interview.
So when do you ask your customers for feedback in real-time? Thankfully, people are tuned to expect a customer feedback survey when they sign up for a product. Real-time feedback should be asked when they are using your product. You can ask your customers for their feedback at each customer interaction touchpoint. As a business, you need to map out a strategy to find out all the areas where a customer interacts with you, it could be the contact page, email newsletter, CX call and so on. Write down the questions that can be asked at each of these junctures without putting them off. Remember that there are a lot of things that you can learn from your customer at specific touchpoints.
The data that you get from collecting customer feedback in real-time can not only help you change your customer’s experience in real-time, you can also use this data to find patterns when collating all the feedback and make drastic changes to your business processes.
#Respect the time of your customers
While it might look tempting to ask a plethora of questions that you might not necessarily want, please refrain from asking questions that will not add value to both of you. Respect the time of your customers by asking only the most pressing details that you want. Of course you need to segment your customers, but you can do the same by sticking to the important questions itself.
#Keep questions to a minimum
Another aspect that respondents don’t like in a survey is having to address too many questions. Stick to just 3–5 questions. Remember that you are expecting your customers to reply to a bunch of questions after they experienced a touchpoint, just a few questions would suffice.
#Close the feedback loop
Remember that you are not the only option for your customers. It is a privilege that they chose you and you are duty-bound to give them the best that they deserve. What should you do then? Take immediate action based on the feedback that you get from your customers. If the problem is not solved immediately, make sure you get in touch with the customer and get all the information and re-work on solving the issue. If you can close the feedback loop for all the complaints that you receive, you can reduce customer churn, increase the lifetime value of the customers and bring in more referrals.
#Create CTAs for each response
It is understandable that there will be a lot of respondents based on how long you have been in the market, but it is best not to leave any customer unsatisfied. For every response that you receive, make sure there is a call-to-action for each of them based on the specific response. Even if it is a positive comment that has been left, ensure that you ask them to post a positive comment on a review site where your potential customers throng. In short, take relevant actions immediately.
#Make answering surveys effortless
Choose a great customer feedback software that of Survey Sparrow that makes responding to surveys as smooth as devouring honey-glazed ice cream on a hot summer afternoon. When you provide your customers an easy way to answer, you can expect a lot more responses as it will decrease the number of drop-offs.
Remember, when you go above and beyond for your customers, they will know it even if you don’t go advertising it. The positive reviews that you get for your service will only increase your resolve and make you provide greater service in the times to come. Empower your customers to close the feedback loop and you can certainly keep saying ‘Hello’ and ‘Welcome’ to new customers.
7 Advantages of real-time customer feedback
Instead of having to guess what your customers think about your product and how they are using it, you can directly ask for real-time customer feedback that will give you deep insights into their minds. When there were no good online survey tools that you could send to a customer immediately, it used to take a lot of days to get solid data from the customers and by that time, you can safely assume that your customers would have left you.
1. Most effective to right your wrongs
When customers get an immediate resolution, they are extremely likely to forgive you for faltering. In fact, research says that more than 95% of customers are more likely to buy from you again if you apologize immediately and resolve the issue quickly.
The first step in creating a fantastic customer experience is to identify if there are any problems that your customers are facing. There are customer feedback surveys to do that, of course. There were times when it was all right to send surveys every quarter or once in a month, but here is what you need to do- real-time customer service. Real-time customer service helps you identify the problems immediately and if you have agents who have been empowered to close the feedback loop, you can gain back their trust and business if you resolve their issues immediately.
When there is no provision or process to close the feedback loop, the customer will have to get back to you to resolve the problem. It is highly dissatisfactory for a customer to do that since according to them they have already mentioned the shortcomings to you in the feedback survey.
Also, this is the age of social media where a negative feedback loop can easily go viral and tarnish your reputation in ways that are irreparable. The only way you can minimize such a damage is by getting real-time customer feedback and having a provision to solve the problem immediately by closing the feedback loop.
2. Real-time feedback goes beyond vanity numbers
Most of the time when you have a large set of data points involved, you don’t look at it as people on the other end who have aired their grievances. When there is no emotional connect, there are chances that your customer executives won’t take their job that seriously. The best thing about real-time feedback is that it usually doesn’t come in huge volumes and when you have a policy where you close the feedback loop, there is individual attention given to the respondent which creates a bond for the customer service executive with the customers.
When you associate a face with something, there is more seriousness involved. Empathy for the customers increase when they are not regarded as a mere number that adds to the company’s bottom-line. When the CS executive receives real-time feedback, there are higher chances of them having empathy for the respondent and will be able to respond more intuitively and with more consideration.
Also, the onus to create such a culture lies entirely on the management who also should get their hands dirty sometimes by taking care of the customer service. This will open them up to a lot of issues that they missed because they were handling the entire operations of the business. With a hands-on C-suite team, it is impossible to go wrong.
3. Creates a culture of learning & improvement
Real-time feedback helps you in creating more and more opportunities to learn and improve. Remember that real-time feedback can be a highly successful phenomenon if you also have a policy of closing the feedback regularly. This can make a huge difference to your efforts in pleasing the customer. Promoting a culture of collecting constant feedback would also help you to find out the best performers in your company while helping you to improve your product and course correct your way to become a customer favourite.
There are huge positives in planning strategies to collect real-time customer feedback and concentrating on closing the feedback loop simultaneously. There is no need to create separate KPIs for your employees, all you need to find is how well they are handling the feedback. Simple things like how they are wording the replies, the speed at which they are attaining resolution and if they were able to satisfy the end customer is a parameter that is big enough to consider as a KPI.
4. Builds customer engagement & trust
When customers know that any form of communication made with your brand will be reciprocated from your side with appropriate replies, they wouldn’t shy away from airing their grievances with you. This not only makes them much more likely to engage with your brand on various platforms including your social media handles (which can be highly rewarding for your brand), it creates trust among your customers.
When customers freely engage with you, the same can be expected in the real-time customer feedback responses that you get from them. All you need to do is close the feedback loop by asking follow-up questions and taking appropriate action. Equip your employees with the ability to deal with tools to engage with your customers.
Once you set up a process to resolve a customer issue, it behoves a well-oiled machinery like your business to follow it to the T. The ability to respond to your customers in real-time improves customer engagement by keeping the conversation between the respondent and CX executive run smoothly.
5. Increases your competencies and reduces shortcomings
Real-time customer feedback helps the business identify shortcomings that makes the customer unsatisfied. It also helps you identify characteristics of your business that the customer enjoys. On one side, using the real-time customer feedback, you need to recognize your strengths, put more energy into it and make it one of your business highlights.
The weaknesses that you find through the real-time customer feedback should be rectified immediately. If it is a process-based issue, you need to entirely overhaul the mechanism with which you work and make the necessary changes. If it is a problem that happened with the particular customer alone, you need to make amends immediately so that they are not put off by it. Offer some sort of apology gift to reduce the damage caused for your customer.
6. Improves performance of your employees
How does getting real-time customer feedback improve the performance of your employees, you might ask? Well, that’s a reasonable question. It is because when you get positive consequences for doing something, it will be repeated, while actions that have unpleasant consequences are less likely to happen again.
When you go out of your way to create an amazing experience for your customer, you will end up with rave reviews. Would it enthuse you to create more such experiences for yourself and your customers? Yes, of course. So your employees will put their heart and soul into delivering more for your customers.
7. Helps build customer loyalty
Many customers think that responding to surveys are a waste of time. That is so because they rarely see any changes based on the survey responses. If you happen to resolve the problems faced by them quickly with your closing the feedback loop process, then you can expect them to respond more to you in the future. This will not only increase customer loyalty but also help you with more detailed responses in the future since they know that you will act upon them. In fact, customers wouldn’t even get to know earlier if their response reached the business. Responding immediately to customer feedback empowers the customer and makes them realize that they are in good hands.
To create more and more ‘promoters’ in the company, you need to collect regular customer feedback that too in real-time to create a deep impact. When you create loyal customers, they will be more than happy to stay with you and will even go out of their way to recommend your products and service to their friends and family.
The only way to create promoters is to get real-time feedback from your customers so that you can understand their experience with you and if there are ways to improve that. Ask them how you have delighted them and if they find a reason to complain as well.
While getting real-time feedback is pivotal to your business, please do not forget to close the feedback loop since acting on solving the problems faced by your customers should be your aim. Also, the process of asking customers for feedback creates a deeper bond for them with the brand.
Guest Blogger at SurveySparrow
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Originally published at https://surveysparrow.com on February 21, 2019.