Collecting and analysing feedback is one thing, but bringing it to a profitable conclusion by taking action is what makes the whole feedback process worthwhile. We refer to this last step as ‘closing the feedback loop’. This is a key concept in managing the online customer experience, which is why it’s important that this step is not overlooked. It’s also imperative that this step is carried out as efficiently and effectively as possible. To do this, close collaboration is often required. The question is, what does this collaboration look like?
Within a digital feedback programme, there are a number of different questions you and your team must ask yourselves:
- What are your team’s objectives with feedback?
- Who will be involved and how will the tasks be divided up?
- How can this collaboration process be carried out systematically?
- How will your team harmonise internal and external actions?
Let’s take a look at each one of these more closely.
1. What are your team’s objectives with feedback?
The first step of the process - as with any project - is to set up a game plan. In other words, you’ll want to lay all of your objectives out on the table to be sure everyone is on the same page and understands what is expected throughout the process. After all, if you fail to determine both what your customers need and what benefits your business, you may find yourself wasting both resources and time.
Here is an example.
Say your feedback has revealed an important trend regarding what your visitors think of your product pricing (e.g. some products are too expensive) or online sales funnels (e.g. the process is complicated or confusing). While it’s good that you and your team have discovered this trend and have a collective urge to rectify the issue right off the bat, there are other factors you may want to consider first.
For instance, you should ask yourself - will it be profitable in the end for your business to address the issue? It could be the case that if you were to lower your prices to indulge those particular customers, your profit margin might end up too low. You may also want to consider the segment of customers that are providing you this feedback. How much of your profit do they account for? These are the things to think about it in this stage of the process.
Key takeaway: It is vital to maintain a broad view, prioritise your actions and be sure that you and your team members are on the same page.
2. Who will be involved and how will the tasks be divided up?
Once you’ve got your goals and objectives lined up, the next step is to identify who will be involved and to which extent. Note: this varies from company to company. There are a number of scenarios in which you will want to involve particular teams, while also avoiding a disruption to those who are not involved in the issue.
The involvement of these teams depends of course, entirely on the nature of the issue. If you see in your feedback results that a large number of visitors are experiencing an error in the ordering system, this is will likely require the attention and support of your IT department.
Alternatively, if it is an issue around your pricing model, it’s probably better to get your sales team involved. The same goes for other issues such web design (where you would involve your web development team) and product specifications (where you would seek out the product development team). This task delegation flow is a great way of keeping operations efficient.
Key takeaway: Sharing is caring. No more isolating your data to just one team!
3. How can this collaboration process be carried out systematically?
The best option is to choose a software that allows you to assign tasks to multiple team members and track their status from start to finish. This not only helps your team member stay on top of their tasks, but it is also a very convenient way for managers to monitor progress.
Additionally, applying tags to feedback items, adding notes for yourself or colleagues and setting deadlines are great ways to organise and clarify issues and tighten communications among teams and team members.
By ‘tagging’ or categorising certain items with a label, it’s very easy to search and group similar feedback items together. This also makes it easier to assign tasks to the right teams. For example, if you add the tag ‘bug or error’, it is immediately clear for your IT team to see that that particular item is for them to solve. Alternatively, if you add the tag ‘expensive’ or ‘pricing’, your sales team will know to involve themselves in the matter.
Adding notes for yourself and colleagues is another great way to further simplify the process. Many tools are capable of doing this. It is a quick and easy method for communicating suggestions or comments about a particular feedback item. What’s great about this too, is that rather than sending a separate email to a colleague, all details are in one centralised location.
Deadlines are another important aspect of team collaboration [on feedback]. For both the team member and entire team, and in terms of prioritisation, it’s important to know when feedback tasks must be complete - an aspect of the process which leads us to our next point - harmonising internal actions with colleagues and external communications with customers.
Key takeaway: Streamlining this process with a versatile software that allows you to sort and annotate feedback items is critical.
4. How will your team harmonise internal and external actions?
There are two different actions required when handling feedback: internal actions (e.g. fixing a technical issue on the site, case management workflows, scrum tools) and external actions (e.g. contacting the customer in response to their feedback - in order to build up loyalty/retention). So how can you bring these two together and make sure they’re both being handled smoothly?
First of all, it’s important to understand that one will influence the other, as internal and external actions are often linked. In other words, they are symbiotic in nature, creating a win-win if both carried out successfully.
Let’s look at an example:
One of your customers has identified an issue. The first step you’ll want to take is to alert the appropriate teams (in a timely manner) so that the issue can be diagnosed and steps can be taken to resolve it. However, this doesn’t mean that the feedback item is then ‘closed’.
There are a lot of cases in which businesses collect feedback but never inform the customer of the result. This can be detrimental to customer retention and satisfaction - mainly because you’ve left the customer in a sort of ‘limbo’ where they don’t know if their voice has been heard or not. The perfect example of this? A customer awaiting a confirmation before they go on to purchase your product.
As you can see, the level of importance in resolving the issue is just as high as keeping the customer informed of the issue.
Key takeaway: There is nothing worse than your business going silent on an issue – it is much better to show you are working on a resolution and value the opinions of your customers.
And there you have it...
You’ve successfully closed the feedback loop. As you can see, this is not usually something that can be done single-handedly. By collaborating in your team, you can achieve much more - making your feedback programme much more efficient and successful.
About the Author: Kees Wolters (Mopinion)
Kees Wolters, is co-founder at Mopinion, has a background in digital marketing, web development and design. He has worked for both large enterprises, such as Philips, as well as smaller web agencies. With this experience under his belt, he ultimately started up his own web and mobile app development agency with two former colleagues. A wise decision, as it led him and his team to discovering the importance of user and customer feedback and subsequently the development of their own platform - Mopinion. After taking off in its first year and signing on some major clients, Mopinion is now one of the fastest growing companies in the digital customer experience space.