Customer feedback at the speed of business

In this business era, there’s a new type of feedback survey required. It’s different than traditional ways of collecting customer feedback.

Traditionally, there are two types of customer feedback surveys:

  • “Transactional Surveys” to gauge how happy a customer was with their most recent (support) interaction with your company (in most cases, support)
  • “Relationship Surveys” to gauge how happy a customer is with their vendor overall, typically an annual feedback survey to an entire customer base

I’d argue that these two survey types are obsolete.

Transactional Surveys that measure satisfaction with your support or contact center agent are obsolete, because customers don’t want “transactions” in the first place. It’s a hassle for them to call or email you. Rather, they want highly usable products that eliminate the need for help at all. Barring that, they want self-help through in-product help, online knowledge bases and support communities.

Relationship Surveys are obsolete because your company and product are in constant states of iteration. Who cares how happy customers were with you – and ostensibly your product – 9 months ago? You’ve shipped many versions since and your processes have evolved as well.

Some examples of how fast products are evolving:

  • 10 years ago, business software was delivered in annual releases, triggering an “upgrade project” to use the new version. Today, Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors release new features every week with no user action required. Heck, Facebook releases software every day, and purportedly has 1000 (!) versions in production at once.
  • 5 years ago, retail banking was built on in-branch service and a contact center. Today, the average consumer doesn’t need either, thanks to mobile banking apps and websites. Ally Bank advertises the fact that it doesn’t even have branches, as a customer benefit, for example.
  • Hardware product cycles are accelerating too. The average smartphone consumer is replacing their device every 2 years, and vendors are on a cadence of releasing major new models every year. Are we far from an annual upgrade cycle?

So what’s the new type of survey needed? Continuous feedback.

Your product and your customer-facing service channels evolve rapidly. Therefore, the frequency by which you collect feedback needs to evolve to match it. This is feedback at the “speed of business”.

However, this new approach requires a new mindset. A customer is fickle, so you need to ask for feedback all the time and within key moments of using your product, not after the fact. Your business agility is high, so the feedback you get should be used to drive each iteration of your product and service.

How to get started?

  1. Ask frequently and be proactive. Increase the cadence by which you proactively ask for feedback
  2. Change the channel. Ask for feedback while customers are engaged in using your product
  3. Close the loop. Demonstrate to the customer that you’re listening. Make sure you get credit for improvements you deliver

2 thoughts on “Customer feedback at the speed of business

  1. “…and within key moments of using your product…” that is the key; immediacy. Couple immediacy with the ability to act on it and the kingdom is yours.

  2. Great article on the importance of customer feedback. If you are not listening to what your customers are saying, you need to start or else your business will start hurting!

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