The Four Levels of Customer Feedback Utilization

Not all customer satisfaction solutions are the same; the world’s top companies use the most sophisticated feedback management systems. Learn how to spot and select the best customer feedback solution for your business.

Gathering customer feedback is a crucial part of doing business. In order to survive,The Four Levels of Customer Feedback Utilization Articles a company must understand its customers’ motivations, gripes, and desires. Mediocre companies conduct customer satisfaction surveys. So do the greatest companies in the world. However, elite organizations gather, organize, and utilize customer feedback differently. This article will outline the four levels of customer feedback management, in order of increasing sophistication. Like a grading rubric for gathering customer feedback, each level builds on the last. For the greatest impact on your bottom line, aim for the final level–mastery.Level One: Lack of Customer Feedback Management.When companies first begin conducting customer feedback research, they usually do it in-house. A sales manager may type “customer loyalty surveys” into Google, print out the results, and have employees conduct telephone surveys. The marketing department may email surveys about recent marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, the IT department might be using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to analyze customers’ demographics and purchasing habits. Customer feedback is being gathered, but there is no organization. Customers have a difficult time answering the company’s vague or poorly worded questions. Random questionnaires are followed by random analysis (also often done in-house). Because no one is tracking overall contacts, the same customer could be surveyed five times by five different departments in the same week. Like reading in a dark room, company leaders strain to understand and tie together survey results, if they see them at all. Level Two: Growing Organization in Customer Feedback Management.At this level, company leaders partner with a research company to gather statistically representative samples from customers. The market research company follows established guidelines for obtaining significant survey results. Moreover, they avoid long surveys and multiple contacts to the same customers; this is to protect the respondent pool. Customers become irritated when surveyed too often, and no one likes to complete long surveys.The market research partner also refines the questionnaire for lucidity; customers now understand what they are being asked. Finally, the research results are analyzed and put in reports for upper management. Now leaders can clearly read survey results, but they’re not sure how to apply them to boost business outcomes. Furthermore, company executives find it difficult to distribute results to employees, who simply don’t have the time to slog through all of the customer feedback results.Level Three: Understanding Through Customer Feedback Management.At this third level of customer feedback management, company leaders have the ability to define which employees should see which parts of survey results. The characteristics of the second level are also present; a research partner helps the company conduct statistically reliable studies, and ensures a healthy respondent pool. Now, however, leaders aren’t the only ones that see survey results; the market research company provides access to a feedback management system to distribute results to employees. Sophisticated customer engagement management solutions can allow executives to assign different access levels for each employee. Front-line employees may only be able to see overall engagement levels, while managers can see more complex statistics related to their departments, and upper management can see everything. An increased understanding of the customer experience spreads throughout the organization as a result.Although company leaders are thrilled that all employees can now see customer feedback, they are not sure how to use survey results to increase profit and ROI; nor can the prioritize techniques for customer experience enhancement.Level Four: Masterful Customer Feedback Management. The world’s top companies fall into this level; they masterfully use customer feedback to drive business decisions and increase profitability and ROI. As in level two, they use Enterprise Feedback Management solutions to centralize and distribute results. Furthermore, these elite organizations harness cutti

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