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The Art of Listening: A Guide to Customer Feedback Management

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Customer feedback management is key to building brand loyalty for businesses in every sector, and ecommerce is no exception. 

By learning how to manage customer feedback, your ecommerce brand can unlock valuable client insights, enhance customer satisfaction and keep consumers coming back for more. 

This guide explores how to create a customer feedback management strategy from the ground up. We’ll cover the benefits of effective feedback management, the hallmarks of a successful strategy and best practices for ecommerce brands. If you’re ready to leverage customer feedback to take your business to the next level, this is the guide for you. 

The Benefits of Effective Customer Feedback Management

Simply put, customer feedback management describes the process of:

  • Collecting input from customers
  • Analyzing the quantitative and qualitative data customers provide
  • Using these analyses to guide business decisions and create positive results

With an effective customer feedback management strategy, ecommerce brands can:

These are only some of the benefits of learning how to manage customer feedback, but they’re arguably the most measurable. Overall, the main goal of any customer feedback management strategy is to communicate to your consumers that their opinions matter. 

Key Components of a Successful Customer Feedback Management Strategy

So what does a successful customer feedback management strategy look like? Let’s dive into some of the components of a productive system.

Collecting Customer Feedback

Firstly, customer feedback management strategies should offer multiple outlets for clients to submit feedback. These generally fall into one of two categories:

  • Proactive approaches – These are efforts that amount to asking your customers for feedback directly. Surveys and feedback forms are some of the most common proactive tools.
  • Passive approaches – These outlets are readily available to your customers. While you can promote them, customers will likely use them of their own volition: social media pages and online review sites are two examples.

No matter which approaches you utilize, all of your feedback collection outlets should be as accessible to your customers as possible. 

Analyzing and Categorizing Feedback

Once you have customer feedback, it’s time to start analyzing that rich data. Many businesses use sentiment analysis software, which can help automate:

  • Prioritization – Sentiment analysis tools identify the most important feedback (positive and negative). 
  • Categorization – Sentiment analysis tools can sort feedback submissions into various categories, making it easy to find the types of submissions you’re looking for.
  • Trend and pattern identification – Sentiment analysis software can identify frequently-used words, seasonal trends and more. Whether you want to track your overall brand reputation or a specific metric, these powerful tools make it easy to identify common themes in your customer feedback.

Responding to Customer Feedback

In addition to analysis, response is another key factor in the success of a customer feedback management strategy. Responses:

  1. Make customers feel heard
  2. Motivate customers to continue providing additional feedback
  3. Show prospective clients that you care about your existing customers’ concerns

Whether you choose to respond to every Google review or thank your customers through email after they complete a survey, your responses should be:

  • TimelyA recent study reported that 53% of customers expect brands to respond to negative online reviews within a week.
  • Personalized – Whether you use sophisticated personalization software to automate responses or manually communicate with reviewers, try to avoid generic scripts.
  • Valuable – If a customer leaves a negative review, you should address their concerns directly and make it clear that you’re working on a solution. You could even provide specific details about your action plan, if applicable.

Leveraging Feedback for Business Growth

Speaking of action plans, remember that managing customer feedback isn’t just about maintaining your brand’s reputation. It’s also about continuously improving your processes, products, services and overall business model.

Incorporate customer feedback into your decision-making processes to make a long-lasting impact with customers and take steps toward positive change. These shifts could look like:

  • Making product adjustments recommended by customers
  • Using A/B testing or focus groups during the R&D (research and development) process
  • Changing policies or procedures to resolve consistent issues identified by customers

Using feedback to drive your product and service improvements will likely produce positive results in the long run.

Best Practices for Effective Customer Feedback Management

While you can use these key components as a North Star for your customer feedback management strategy, consider establishing some best practices that can further help ensure you experience the benefits of effective customer feedback management.

#1 Make Feedback Collection Easy and Convenient

While we touched on accessibility above, let’s go into more detail about making feedback collection as convenient as possible for your customers and your team. 

When the feedback process is streamlined, customers are more likely to take the time to share their opinions. Consider:

  • Optimizing your forms and surveys – Your surveys should be short and easy to access on mobile and desktop. They should also allow customers to provide both quantitative feedback (e.g., “How would you rate this product on a scale from 1 to 10?”) and qualitative feedback (e.g., “Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share about your shopping experience?”).
  • Providing multiple feedback channels – To promote accessibility, provide multiple platforms customers can use to share feedback. Social media, surveys, online review platforms (like Google and Yelp) and your “Contact Us” web page are all potential channels you can use to collect feedback.

#2 Actively Listen and Show Appreciation

Create a standard operating procedure (SOP) for responding to feedback so that your customers always feel heard and appreciated — even if they leave a negative review

  • Acknowledge and thank them for their feedback. Whether you respond to their Google review or send a follow-up email after they submit survey responses, remind customers that their time and opinions are valuable to you. 
  • Show empathy for their concerns and demonstrate an understanding of their feedback. While this can be difficult to automate, consider using your sentiment analysis software to identify feedback that requires a highly personalized response.

#3 Prioritize and Categorize Feedback

Speaking of sentiment analysis tools, consider leveraging them to prioritize messages that:

  • Come from long-time, repeat customers
  • Provide an exceptional volume of feedback
  • Communicate urgency or require immediate resolution
  • Use specific keywords or mention individual products

Prioritization can help you manage feedback and responses as efficiently as possible. Categorize messages based on:

  • The products or services being reviewed
  • Reviewers’ demographic information
  • Sentiment (i.e., positive, negative or neutral feedback)
  • Required actions (e.g., messages that request support)

These are just a few of the categories you can create. Customize your prioritization and categorization efforts to best fit your products, services and clients. 

#4 Implement a Closed-Loop Feedback System

When you actively respond to feedback and resolve customers’ concerns with effective follow-up, you create a closed-loop feedback system: one where both you and your customers start and complete a conversation related to their feedback. 

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical situation:

  1. A customer submits a survey about their recent purchase, rating their product at a 7 out of 10 and suggesting a minor improvement in an open-response text field. 
  2. After reviewing the submission, a representative reaches out to the client via their preferred communication channel (email, for example). The representative offers some way to fix the customer’s problem if possible (providing a replacement or alternative product, for example) and makes it clear that their suggestion will be considered or implemented the next time the product is updated.
  3. The customer responds, asking for the replacement or alternative product, and the representative initiates fulfillment. 

This is a closed-loop: a customer expressed a concern, the business resolved that concern and no issues remain outstanding. 

Tools and Technologies for Customer Feedback Management

If you’re looking to optimize your customer feedback management strategy, consider using one (or more) of the many sophisticated tools available, like:

  • Feedback collection tools, including:
    • Survey platforms
    • Feedback widgets
    • Email automation
  • Social media monitoring tools
  • Sentiment analysis tools
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software

CRM software can be particularly powerful. It streamlines your customer service and feedback management functions (among others) to promote efficiency and positive customer outcomes. 

Powerful tools combined with clearly-defined goals and best practices can produce a customer feedback management process that will benefit your business and your clients. 

Take Action on Customer Feedback and Build Loyalty with Human

Customer feedback management is key for every business, including ecommerce. Since your clients already live in the digital space, leveraging digital tools and satisfaction-focused approaches can help you build a positive reputation and boost your bottom line in real-time.

If you’re ready to create positive growth for your brand by focusing on customer satisfaction and loyalty, consider partnering with Human. We’re a growth firm with deep roots in ecommerce, and we help today’s brands build strategies that can take them to the next level. 

Reach out to our team today to launch your ecommerce brand into the realm of improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Topics: Ecommerce Marketing