Untangling customer emotion and satisfaction are the hot topics of 2021. Everybody in the C-suite wants to know the emotional stance of their customers, why they make purchase decisions, what makes them loyal, and why they sometimes take their business elsewhere. Ultimately, the goal is to deeply understand customers in order to increase their satisfaction, even in the most challenging situations.

The key to understanding your customers lies in meeting them where they are.

Understanding starts with listening, and there’s no better way to listen than to put yourself in your customers shoes, in the exact place they are digitally “standing.” Here are five tips to reassess your digital experience, meet customers where they are, and turn the channel into an actionable listening tool.

1. Understand customer goals

Customers generally want the same thing from your product offering, and each behavior in your mobile customer journey is usually driven by a common goal. Below is an example customer journey, with customer goals at each stage highlighted.

Note that in the image above, the goals change depending on their matched behavior. In the beginning of the mobile customer journey, the goals are much broader than they are at the end.

Individual mobile customer goals may align with what you’ve used for your traditional marketing funnel, or they might be different. Neither is right nor wrong so long as you take the time to understand the real drive behind why customers take the actions they do within your mobile experience. And the best way to truly understand customer goals is to listen to feedback, which leads us to…

2. Proactively ask for feedback

Customer experience can no longer be done reactively. Reactive CX is stuck—and consumers are beginning to notice. Across all verticals, people gravitate to highly-personalized experiences, and not just the ones solely based on what they’ve clicked, viewed, visited, or purchased.

App retention based on proactive interaction

As consumers, we now expect the brands we love to deliver the right message, to the right person, via the right medium, at the right place, and at the right time across all of their digital and onsite experiences.

3. Keep customers in their current experience

This tip requires you to literally meet customers where they are: at the exact time and place they land within your mobile experience. It’s crucial to understand your customer journey in order to understand and pick out the best communication points within your app’s experiences so you can minimize disruption and maximize listening.

Finding the right mobile moment looks different for every brand as the placement, timing, and customer segment the in-app message is intended for will vary due to endless variables.

Keep customers in their current experiences

To start, think about the in-app message you’re sending to figure out timing and placement. If the message is proactive, it should occur after customers take a high-value action within your app (like completing a purchase or a level) rather than in the middle of an action. If you’re asking customers to leave feedback through a survey, it should occur at a non-disruptive moment rather than interrupting the action the customer came to take. Most importantly, your message should never make the customer leave your app in order to engage.

By identifying who to talk to and where in the app to talk to them, you can elevate your mobile customer experience by avoiding annoying, impersonal, irrelevant messages.

4. Understand emotion behind customer actions

In order to truly measure sentiment, you must understand the individual customer emotions that drive digital actions. Capturing emotion data gives product and marketing leaders a holistic view of their customer base, down to the individual level.

Capturing and analyzing customer emotion is at the heart of understanding, measuring, and improving customer relationships. And it’s the key to making informed decisions when thinking about digital transformation. Once you have this emotion data, you can evolve your business, product, or service to meet your customers’ needs right now.

Now is the time to lean into customer sentiment and feedback initiatives. The uncertainty of the future shouldn’t paralyze your brand; it should ignite a fire to better understand customers’ needs.

5. Act on what you learn

Far too often, companies don’t action based on the feedback their customers provide. A lack of communication and implementation of customer feedback can affect brand loyalty and customers’ willingness to provide feedback in the future. Our (Apptentive) data shows that it’s important for customers to feel heard when they give feedback, because when they are heard, they are loyal.

How companies act on feedback

As such, communication and listening play a large role in establishing and improving customer loyalty. Listen to your customers wants and needs, then build solutions to meet those desires.

There are two primary ways for the voice of the customer to positively influence your business plan:

  • Let feedback drive your product roadmap: Use customer feedback to continually improve your product. Customer feedback provides publishers with pre-validated ideas to fix or improve their experiences. These insights should inform your product roadmap and rally your development team around a single, centric point: the customer.
  • Let feedback influence your marketing initiatives: Feedback doesn’t just impact your product. Listen to customers to find ways to adjust your marketing initiatives, like running deals around certain products or time frames, adjusting language to better resonate with the group, and more.