Description: Customer feedback isn’t about resolving complaints. Smart brands know that it’s insight on the customer service, and have learned how to apply this information.

If you’re under the impression that customer service is about fixing isolated issues, your brand is focusing on the wrong problem entirely. Listening to feedback is really about learning how your organization can better solve humans. Companies that thrive are the ones who put the customer experience first, according to customer service expert Kristin Smaby.

Businesses who have systems in place to efficiently capture and use feedback know that their customers are teaching them “how to make [their] product, service, and business better.” Your customers are able to provide the best insight on how your brand looks and feels from the outside. We’ve highlighted several ways that you can better leverage this feedback for growth and improvement.

Surprised Telephone Operator With Good Or Bad News

You’re Listening on Social Media

Research has shown that 96% of unhappy customers will never share their experience with a brand. However, the chances that they’ll never purchase product from your business again are almost equally high, at 91%.  If your company isn’t listening to social conversations, and taking this opportunity to provide resolution whenever possible, it’s essential to get started.

  • 71% of brands don’t currently respond to negative Tweets. The average consumer expects a response in 2 hours or less. (Maritz and Evolve24, Oracle)
  • Americans tell an average of 15 people about a good experience, and 24 about a negative one. (American Express)
  • Roughly 80% of customer service Tweets are negative or critical in nature. (Touch Agency)

You’re Incorporating Social Proof

Your prospective customers don’t want to hear you perform a hard sell on your website, and if you do, they probably won’t believe you. 75% of consumers believe that companies don’t tell the truth in advertising, and 70% routinely consult reviews or ratings before purchasing. Sharing positive customer feedback on your company website will likely carry more weight than your own glowing words about your product or service, or even manufacturer descriptions.

  • Customer reviews on a website have been shown to improve feedback 20%. (Rypple)
  • 70% of consumers trust opinions posted online more than newspapers, magazines or search engine results. They come second only to personal recommendations from friends and family. (Nielson)
  • 46% of consumers believe that online reviews are a better source of information than editorials. (Nielson)

You’re Proactively Asking for Feedback

The internet has fundamentally changed the way that consumers interact with brands. Your company has the opportunity to efficiently apply consumer feedback in real-time, but only if you simplify the process and understand the value of removing barriers to conversations. Companies that dive a little deeper than resolving the surface-level pain point can make connections to solve larger needs that represent your consumer-base as a whole. Simplify your feedback forms and customer service process to maximize the chances that you’ll hear from unhappy customers directly, in order to best retain their business and salvage damaged relationships.

  • Loyal customers typically have a lifetime value of 10 times their initial purchase. (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
  • Your probability of selling to a prospect is between 5-20%. Your chances of selling to an existing customer are between 60-70%. (Marketing Metrics)
  • It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.

It doesn’t really matter what you think about your brand. The insights that matter come from the individuals who contribute to your bottom line. Complaints are actually an invaluable tool for discovering how you can better fit a constantly-changing market. Simplify your feedback forms and improve your social listening skills in order to capture as much insight as you can. Analyze, improve and continue listening. Remember, your prospects care what your current customers think, too.

What’s your experience with using customer feedback? Have you come up with something extraordinary due to the help from your customers? Please share everything in comments.