Customers have endless options when it comes to choosing new brands and services, which means their expectations are high. Immediacy, personalization, responsiveness, and product quality are a handful of the primary reasons customers will choose to be loyal to one brand over another.

But one major component holds the key to earning and solidifying customer loyalty: correctly leveraging customer feedback.

Here are six tactics to help strengthen your customer loyalty through feedback.

1. Be proactive

Customers are hard-pressed to leave feedback in any form, and the wall between customers and businesses makes it all-too-easy to forget that there are real people on both ends of the exchange. Most brands today may think they build products around their customers, but in reality, our data shows they only hear from less than 1% of their customer base, which we call the “vocal minority.” That means about 99% of their customers are in the “silent majority,” and their feedback and loyalty aren’t being fostered or prioritized.

The Silent Majority

Additionally, customers who are proactively engaged with are four times as likely to use your app after three months.

Proactive engagement stat

Providing a place to receive feedback is a great start, but most customers only reach out unprompted if they have an issue they need help fixing. To get in front of customer frustration and to gather feedback from the bulk of your customers, you need to make a proactive effort to show how important feedback is to you.

To do so, let customers know you are listening and want their feedback by proactively engaging with them at smart times throughout their digital experience. For example, you can start with a simple survey asking a question about their recent experience, but without waiting for them to run into an issue to trigger the survey. Most customers aren’t used to being asked for feedback and need encouragement. Be there for them and include a “Give Feedback” button in the menu or a well-timed prompt asking for feedback as a way to show customers you care.

2. Engage at the right moment

We covered proactively engaging at smart times above, but let’s discuss what a “smart time” within a digital experience actually look like.

Encouraging feedback is about starting a conversation with a customer, and it’s important to ask for feedback at the right moment in order to give conversations the best opportunity to begin. For example, mobile devices can be more personal than desktop devices as they are kept with people all the time, so the “right moment” in a mobile experience will look different than it would on a desktop, tablet, or other connected device.

It’s crucial to understand your customer journey and to pick out the best communication points within your app’s experiences (e.g. after a customer has completed a purchase, if they view a certain page, when they complete a level, etc.) to find the right time to ask for feedback. Most importantly, be conservative on how often you ask for feedback and give the customer time to engage with the experience before you ask the first time. Nobody likes to be bombarded with prompts or questions, especially when they’re being asked to give feedback.

3. Listen—really listen—to feedback

Far too often, companies don’t take 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 data shows that it’s important for customers to feel heard when they give feedback, because when they are heard, they are loyal.

In a recent survey, we asked respondents what it would take for companies to make them feel their opinions were valued, and here’s what they had to say:

How companies act on feedback

In the same survey, more than half of respondents said they are not likely to continue being a customer of a company that ignores their feedback. The majority of respondents said they are not confident they are heard after leaving feedback. While 39% are not sure, and 23% say no, it’s clear many customers feel unheard. In contrast, the majority of respondents who said they did feel heard by a company after leaving feedback received a response within a week.

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.

4. Validate feedback, and be kind while doing it

Customers who leave feedback drive your business forward, and every piece of feedback—whether praise or criticism—should be valued and then validated. If your goal is to drive customer loyalty, it’s important to let customers know they have been heard and that the suggestion (especially the time it took to give it!) was appreciated.

There are a few rules to follow when validating customer feedback:

  • Say thank you: Always respond with a “thank you,” even if the feedback was incredibly rude or it was something you have heard a million times.
  • Follow up: Always follow up with your customers after they leave feedback with another thank you, the status of their request, etc. For customers who may have had a larger issue, consider giving them something for free for their time.
  • Be honest: Sometimes it’s not possible to solve a problem on the spot. If a customer leaves feedback around an issue that can’t be fixed or is a low priority, be honest and tell them why.
  • Give credit: When there are updates or changes made to the app, give credit where credit is due by thanking your customers who drew your attention to the issue in the update notes. You can even take this one step further by personally reaching out to those who gave feedback and thanking them privately. Customers who get their problems solved become some of your biggest fans!

5. Use feedback to drive your product roadmap

Using customer feedback to prioritize your product roadmap might seem like an obvious strategy, but very few companies actually do it. Your customers expect you to ask them for feedback, and this feedback is a massive opportunity to essentially have an insurance policy on your roadmap, and to ultimately improve customer loyalty.

Your best bet in driving loyalty is to use customer feedback to continually improve your product. Customer feedback provides publishers with pre-validated ideas to fix or improve their digital experiences. Whether the sentiment is positive or negative, customer feedback is insanely valuable and should always be treated as an opportunity to learn how you can make a better product for your customers. These insights should inform your product roadmap and rally your development team around a single, centric point: the customer.

Apptentive Insights

6. Measure your progress

Executing a strategy to improve your customer experience—and therefore driving loyalty—is the first part of the battle, but measuring success is equally important. You’ll never know how much progress you’ve made if you aren’t tracking along the way.

How can you measure the effectiveness of your customer experience and improve over time? Consider the following six metrics:

  • Use an app analytics tool to report regularly on metrics like number of downloads, app usage, lifetime value, retention, MAU, DAU, ARPU, and more
  • Gather in-app feedback (as detailed above) for more detailed sentiment explanations
  • Keep track of (and respond to!) app ratings and reviews
  • Understand user sessions by looking at average session length, frequency of sessions, bounce rate of various pages, and activity per sessions
  • Look at detailed customer demographic data to better understand usage patterns
  • Track customer sentiment through NPS

Now it’s your turn

With today’s ever-expanding markets, consumers have no shortage of options to choose from when determining their loyalty toward brands. But when customer feedback isn’t asked for or taken seriously, they’ll jump at the chance to find a company who prioritizes it.

We hope the six strategies above help you approach customer feedback in a meaningful way, and in turn, help drive deeper customer loyalty throughout your digital experiences. If you have other strategies for strengthening customer feedback, please share them in the comments!

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