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3 New-age Channels that you SHOULD use to Collect Customer Feedback

We are all aware that the first step towards creating customer happiness is understanding what makes our customers happy. And the best way to develop that understanding is by asking your customers! Customer feedback is undeniably a great tool to develop that knowledge and utilise it to create a better customer experience, which in turn creates happier customers.

Companies like Apple, Amazon, Zappos, United Airlines, etc. have been able to create an army of customer advocates because they painstakingly worked on each and every customer feedback to improve their customer experience. Their competitors enviably watch these companies grow and command better customer loyalty, but they fail to see the amount of work these organisations put in capturing customer feedback and then delivering on them. I have come across several organisations that are just giving lip service to improving customer experience by capturing customer feedback, because they are not willing to make the right investments that could help their employees not just capture customer feedback more effectively, but also help them learn from the feedback and act on them so they could positively impact the customer experience. And because these steps are not taken, results don’t follow. And ultimately, the customer feedback program is killed or, at best, reduced to a regular business chore without any set goal. This is far from ideal!

In a series of posts, I’ll be talking about different parts of customer feedback management and how it can be used to enhance customer experience. Today, let’s look into the three new-age channels that companies should use to collect customer feedback:

1. In-app Customer Survey

“The value of mobile commerce transactions conducted via mobile handsets and tablets will exceed $3.2 trillion by 2017, up from $1.5 trillion this year” ~ Juniper Research (2013).

Additionally, the chart below shows how the number of m-commerce users has increased in the last three years in the UK alone.

Statistic: Number of m-commerce users in the United Kingdom (UK) from Q3 2013 to Q2 2016, by amount spent (in million users) | Statista
If this chart is an indicator of the global trend, we are sure to see many more consumers shopping from their smartphones in the near future! Here are some more stats to back this claim:

Statistic: Global mobile data traffic from 2015 to 2020 (in exabytes per month) | Statista
Given the growing presence of consumers on mobile and the profound increase of commercial transactions through mobile apps, it is imperative that businesses start capturing customer feedback in-app. There are leading examples like Uber and several on-demand service apps that use their app to capture customer feedback, and they do it really well! Indeed the space is huge and not many companies are utilising this channel to capture customer feedback, while it could become one of the most engaging channels to capture customer feedback.

2. E-mail Customer Survey

This is an invaluable way of collecting feedback from your customers. It gives customers an opportunity to pour out their heart and be frank about their experience. But like every coin has two sides, this method does too. You have to ensure that few things are adhered to so as to maximise the effectiveness of this channel.

First and foremost, you must ensure a speedy response. Even an automated acknowledgement so that the feels knows the feedback has been received and is being worked upon. Next, there shouldn’t be a huge lag between the automated acknowledgement and someone really addressing the customer’s issue personally – best is to get on a call with the customer to assure that the feedback has been received and something is being done about it. And finally, of course, acting on the feedback and closing the loop.

3. Social Media Feedback

In this current day and age, the voice of the customer on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is louder than any other medium. This voice transcends across boundaries in no time, with reviews going viral in seconds. The concept of ‘Social Analysts’ must be incorporated in companies if they would like to hear raw and candid feedback from their customers. This will ensure that an organisation is on the same page as the customer with respect to her thoughts and views.

Looking at the reasons to visit a brand’s social media site in the below chart, you will notice that the number of people visiting a brand’s social media site to avail offers and discounts has reduced from 61% in 2013 to 50% in 2014. On the other hand, people visiting such social media sites because the brand provides customer service through social media has increased! Although the increase is small, it is significant when compared with the drop in former. There is a huge untapped potential for companies to engage, capture feedback, and provide customer service on social media in the near future.

Statistic: Reasons to visit a brand's social media website according to internet users in the United States as of September 2014 | Statista

We believe that customers interact with companies through several channels and therefore organisations should use more than just one channel to seek feedback. It is important that companies build their capability to capture customer feedback through these new-age channels.

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