[The LoopVOC Playbook] How to Improve Customer Experience Marketing Strategies with Customer Feedback

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What makes the difference between a customer experience program that drives revenue and retention throughout the customer journey and those that fall flat?

Access to and action on customer feedback.

Powerful customer experience solutions require real-time access to customer feedback. This feedback is the fuel of customer experience programs and initiatives. Without it, we’re making educated guesses (at best) about what is and what is not working for our customers.

LoopVOC exists to centralize customer feedback so that all teams have the opportunity to listen, understand, and respond based on the greatest risks and opportunities to your business.

This playbook will provide your CX team with customer experience tools and help them understand how to use LoopVOC to:

  1. Listen for feedback across channels 
  2. Identify and understand the problems impacting the customer experience 
  3. Benchmark customer feedback against competitors
  4. Adapt your customer experience strategy to improve results

1. Listen for customer feedback across channels

Customer feedback is everywhere, and growing at an overwhelming place. The first step in enhancing customer experiences is to identify the places where your customers are sharing feedback about your company, products and services.

One of the best channels for customer feedback is online review sites. 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. B2B customer review sites are being used by our customers to drive purchase decisions.

Feedback shared on these sites is trusted by customers, and should be acted on by companies. Prioritize this channel not just for brand awareness and leads, but for constant learning and improvement.

Additional Public Channels:

  • Social Media Posts and Groups
  • Customer Communities and Online Forums
  • Email listservs
  • Public Slack Channels

Qualitative NPS feedback is another critical channel for customer feedback. In addition to asking customers whether or not they’re likely to recommend your company or your products and services, ask them about their experience. Understanding the feedback driving the Net Promoter Score will provide guidance as to whether you should start, stop, or continue dedicating resources to specific initiatives.

Additional Internal Feedback Channels:

  • Customer Support Tickets
  • CRM Notes from Sales and Success calls
  • Email
  • Phone calls with customer service
  • Collaboration & chat tools
  • CSAT, and Win/Loss surveys

Connect your customer experiences and feedback in Loop

Once you’ve identified your feedback channels, you’ll want to connect this feedback in Loop. This step is easy, but it’s the most important step of all.

Using natural language processing, 
Loop extracts meaningful insights from customer feedback, so that customer experience marketing leaders can proactively identify issues impacting the customer experience, and pivot company initiatives to address them. 

Your feedback data is what makes it possible for Loop to run its magic and extract real-time customer insights.

  1. Select the feedback channel you would like to integrate with.
  2. Complete the steps for adding your feedback data.
  3. Your data will be automatically cleaned, tagged with topics, and integrated into Loop.

Connect Customer Feedback Channels in Loop

2. Identify and understand the problems impacting the customer experience

Once your feedback has been connected in Loop, the next step is to identify feedback trends related to the customer experience, such as Service, Onboarding, and Support.

Step 1: Review the topics related to CX, and identify those with a high amount of negative feedback.

  • Service: How responsive is the frontline to customer needs? How easy are you to do business with across all operations?
  • Onboarding: How easy is it for customers to start using your products to achieve value? Do you have the resources in place to successfully implement customers (content, headcount, etc)
  • Support: Are Support representatives adequately trained? Have hold times met customer expectations? Is technical documentation enabling customers to self-serve?

Customer Feedback Topics by Sentiment

In this scenario, we can see that customer feedback for Support is trending negative. We’ll want to drill into how this feedback has trended over time to understand if this is an ongoing issue or isolated to a specific incident.

Step 2: Understand if the identified feedback trend is getting better or worse over time.

It’s clear from the 12 month rolling view that this feedback has been trending negative over time, indicating that there is an ongoing issue impacting the customer experience that needs to be addressed.

Customer Feedback Trends over time

Step 3: Identify the problem

Next, we drill into the verbatim feedback related to Support to understand the common issues coming up in customers’ feedback. We can see pretty quickly that one of the problems arising in this feedback is related to the responsiveness of the Support team.

Auto-Tagged Verbatim Feedback in LoopVOC

Customers seem to be having a wide range of issues, but the constant in this feedback is that they’re unable to get in touch with Support to resolve issues or get answers quickly.

We’ve now identified a negative feedback trend, likely impacting the customer experience. Our next step is to understand how this feedback compares to competitors and what our plan of action should be to improve customer experience marketing and overall marketing experiences.

3. Benchmark results against competitors to put the CX issue into perspective

Rather than immediately dismissing the problem as a non-issue or jumping into action, we advise customers to do a little bit more research to gather context and perspective. Understanding how this customer feedback compares to competitor feedback will help you understand both the risk and opportunities this feedback represents to your business.

Step 1. Connect competitor feedback in Loop

Start by identifying comparable and aspirational companies in your industry, whether they are directly competing with you now or could be in the future. You can leverage online review sites like G2 Crowd and Capterra to see what companies the market is comparing you to today.

There are multiple ways to access the Competitive Benchmarking dashboard feature:

  1. From the Insights Overview sub navigation bar, there is a link labeled, “Benchmark“, and
  2. There is a “Competitive Benchmarking” link located on the top-right section of the Feedback by Topic chart on the Insights Overview view

Competitive Benchmarking Dashboards in LoopVOC

Adding competitors to your dashboard will provide you with real-time updates on their customer feedback, giving you a more comprehensive view into what is and is not working for them.

Step 2. Compare negative feedback trends to competitors

Now that your competitor feedback has been added, you can benchmark your CX feedback trends to competitors.

Comparing to Competitor B:

In this scenario, feedback about customer Support is more negative for Competitor B. Digging into their feedback, we uncovered that Competitor B’s feedback is getting worse over time, with customers stating that agents are uninformed and unresponsive. This presents opportunity for *My SaaS Product* as it highlights opportunities to improve our own Support function and win customers that are struggling with increased problems with Competitor B.

Comparing to Competitor F:

Support feedback for Competitor F, however, is more positive and has remained so over time. Feedback indicates it’s a simpler tool that requires less support. This represents a threat to *My SaaS Product*—highly positive Support feedback for a competitor could mean losing customers to competitors if the Support experience is not improved.

Step 3. Make decision on taking action

From digging into the customer feedback data, we now know the following:

  • The customer experience is being impacted negatively due to issues with Customer Support
  • Feedback about Support has been trending more negative over time
  • Verbatim customer feedback indicates that the feedback trend is related to a lack of Support responsiveness
  • Competitor feedback indicates both opportunity and risk related to the customer feedback

Our next step is to decide on whether or not the feedback trends warrant action. Do this by weighing the risks of inaction:

  • Support feedback continues to become more negative, dragging down overall sentiment toward the customer experience
  • Competitors continue to strengthen in this area, putting retention and win rates at risk

The best step forward is to understand the importance of customer experiences and address the breakdowns in the customer support experience by creating actions

4. Adapt Strategies to Address CX Issues

Understanding customer experience issues will be key as you put plans in place to address them, it will be important to understand the root cause of the feedback, internal or external factors, and any steps that have been taken previously.

Taking action will require cross-team collaboration to ensure that there is alignment on the customer experience objectives and owners for each action.

Step 1: Identify Root Cause and past initiatives

Work with cross-functional partners to identify contributing factors and understand if past actions have had an impact on the feedback trends.

Things that could be impacting Customer Support responsiveness:

  • Company acquisition: Has there been a merger or acquisition that would be creating customer confusion?
  • Team changes: Has there been a restructure that has impacted the Support team’s priorities?
  • Support team consolidation: Has the size of the Support team or number or representatives changed?
  • Product issues: Were there known product issues driving an increase in volume of support tickets?
  • New feature release: Were there new product features released that created customer confusion?

Understanding the root cause of the issue or breakdown in the customer experience is critical to charting a path forward to address the issue. Conversely, perhaps the issue was known but the impact was not. In this case, customer feedback trends are the proof points needed to align teams on why and how to address a problem.

Once the root cause or past initiatives have been identified, create retroactive actions to mark the specific events contributing to the feedback trends. In this case, let’s assume there was a Support team consolidation, which caused volume per rep to increase, and responsiveness to decline as a result.

Actions Impact Dashboard in LoopVOC

Step 2: Communicate with customers and employees

This is an often overlooked but critical step. Don’t assume that your customers or your employees know that you’re addressing an issue. Transparency is key when solving problems.

  • Acknowledge the issue
  • Apologize for missing the mark
  • Address and outline next steps
  • Ask for additional feedback

Letting customers know that an issue is being worked on could be the difference between them staying and going. Customers don’t expect perfect, but they do expect accountability. Addressing the breakdowns in customer experience marketing and being transparent about the steps you’ll take to resolve the issues is a key differentiator between a company that says they’re customer-driven and a company that actually is.

Step 3: Create new initiatives to address the issue

Once you’ve identified the root cause of the issue and aligned stakeholders on the importance of addressing it, you’ll create specific action plans.

If the root cause of Customer Support responsiveness is team consolidation, consider implementing action plans such as:

  • Create triage queues: Implement a triage process to ensure that every support ticket is immediately addressed. Even if the issue cannot be responded to immediately, let the customer know that they have been heard and that they will be helped as soon as possible.
  • Offer self-help tools: Create self-help resources for the most frequently asked questions so that Support agents are able to spend time addressing more complex customer issues.
  • Implement additional Support channels: Rollout support options like chat, email, or designated social media channels that can be managed by external vendors during times of increased volume or staffing shortages.
  • Create customer communities: Oftentimes, customers can resolve issues on their own if they have access to a community of other users. Create a space that allows for users to network with each other on best practices and use cases.
  • Create a prioritization protocol: Assign a priority level (P1-P3) to each customer support ticket. Those that are high-impact issues should be addressed by your more senior support agents first.
  • Monitor for common feedback in support tickets: Develop a cadence for continuously monitoring for common support issues (i.e. topics in Zendesk tickets) so that the most common issues in the product are being prioritized on your roadmap.

After you align on actions to be taken, create new actions in Loop and assign owners for visibility. In this case, we’ve created the action to add a prioritization queue and protocol to ensure that the highest priority issues are addressed first.

Actions vs. Customer Feedback Trends Over Time Dashboard

Step 4: Follow-up with customers and employees

Continue to be transparent about the specific actions your company has taken to address the issue. Let customers know what they can expect to see or how the Support process will change moving forward when you continue with marketing an experience.

Let them know that the action you’re taking is in direct response to their feedback, and that their feedback will continue to be valued and prioritized through customer experience marketing in the future. Ask for them to continue to share feedback and provide direction for where they can continue to share.

Step 5: Track the action to understand if it solves the issue over time

The final step is to measure the impact of your actions over time to ensure that you’re driving the intended outcome through customer experience marketing.

Setup regular cross-functional team meetings to review customer experience marketing actions and progress to goals (ensure that there are specific metrics you’re measuring against like call volume or sentiment changes). Are existing actions solving the problem or is additional action needed?

Continuously monitor customer feedback to inform your Start/Stop/Continue plan:

  • Start: What needs attention that doesn’t have an assigned action yet?
  • Stop: Are actions you’ve taken having a negative impact on overall customer feedback?
  • Continue: If actions you’ve taken are having a positive impact, continue investing in these initiatives and determining opportunities for expansion.

Customer feedback is a gift. The key to using Loop to improve your Customer Experience program is following the four steps outlined above: listen for feedback, identify and understand trends, benchmark to understand risk and opportunities, and then adapt strategies to respond. When you change your customer experience marketing and customer service to improve experiences in marketing, your customers will feel more connected with your company.

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