We live in a world where companies are increasingly putting their focus on customer-centric experiences across channels.
The rapid digitalisation caused by Covid-19 has created quite a bit of turmoil in terms of customers’ behaviours and preferences. Now, customers have a magnitude of options to easily switch between different brands, leading to a decrease in customer loyalty rates. The changed customer perspective has nudged companies to invest in technology solutions to support the customer-centric product or service delivery. It has become evident that companies that are not receptive to new market demands may quickly fall behind their competition or even go bankrupt.
As a result, companies have started new marketing initiatives to bring the customer-centric notion to the front stage. Many leaders have instituted useful practices such as customer data unification, AI analytics, sentiment analysis, and customer feedback collection.
However, while putting the customer first is necessary for companies to remain agile and growth-focused, does that mean companies should blindly follow the customers’ opinions?
All things considered, the most innovative ideas that great business leaders brought to life didn’t come from simply following the existing customers’ demands. Instead, successful leaders created new demands by remaining committed to their long-term vision.
A strategic approach to customer feedback
Taking time to consider emerging market trends might give you a short-term boost in your sales numbers, so it should be taken as a variable in your customer feedback equation.
Yet, keeping a sole focus on following any market hype will lead to suboptimal results in terms of long-term progress. A few factors play into the customer feedback relevance equation. Read on to find out more.
Due to the wide variety of customers’ perspectives, companies should take caution when implementing feedback. For example, if a company has a global presence, it’s safe to assume that customers preferences in one country will not be the same for customers from another country.
Each channel carries a specific behaviour and perspective in its own right. Some customers may refuse to give feedback via a website chatbot but will be very vocal when talking to a customer service representative over the phone. Therefore, an omnichannel overview of customers’ behavioural patterns will help ensure a holistic and more adequate feedback collection.
Not all customers share feedback about their consumption preferences. The danger lies in assuming that the feedback you collect will represent the majority of your target customers. Sometimes the most satisfied consumers remain silent, while the dissatisfied share their disappointment any chance they get.
Many customers don’t know what they want until a company delivers what they want. In most innovation-related stories, the demand was hidden behind an industry that was ripe for disruption. But, that doesn’t mean companies should ignore all customer feedback they get.
Contemplating product-related customer feedback can be extremely useful when helping customers obtain, understand, or use the product or service. However, companies must remain cautious not to allow the customers’ feedback to derail the long-term product vision completely.
Short-term improvement versus the long-term vision
When considering customer feedback, companies should balance sustainable market trends, temporary hype, and long-term vision.
We live in a reality where market changes are occurring rapidly, causing customer preferences to shift too. The key is to intelligently differentiate between a temporary ‘busy signal’ from customers and the real opportunity to align the company’s offering to market demands while keeping the long-term vision.
For example, companies should react straight away when customers create a fair amount of noise about poor customer service. The company itself can choose the right approach towards finding a solution, whether it entails adding channels for more effortless communication or creating a better framework for problem-solving. But the ultimate resolution should tie into the company’s overall long-term vision.
The bottom line
The significance of the customer feedback will depend on your company. To help you remain true to your company’s purpose while keeping customer satisfaction rates high, bring strategic questioning into the discernment process. Some of the questions can include:
- What are we looking to achieve?
- Are the channels reflecting the majority of the customers’ opinions?
- Are the customers’ opinions reflecting a temporary hype?
- Does the customer feedback tie into our long-term strategy and vision?
In the words of Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote:
“People have a great sense of what’s making them unhappy right now, but they’re not very good at predicting what will make them happy in the future. That’s your job.“
What are your thoughts on collecting customer feedback? How are you integrating customer feedback into the strategic decision-making process?
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