Customer Feedback Strategy: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need

How to gather, share, and implement customer feedback that will skyrocket your business growth by helping your customers succeed.

Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, was recently voted as a top CEO in America.

He's helped grow HubSpot from $0 to a publicly-traded company valued at $2.9 billion with nearly 2,000 employees scattered around the world. He's a best-selling author and was voted as a top CEO among leaders such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. 

What's the secret to his success? Here's how Brian explains it in six words: 

Brian_Halligan_head_shot.jpgBrian Halligan, HubSpot, CEO

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

 

If we don’t know what’s right, we can’t do more of it. If we don’t know what’s wrong, we can’t do less of it. Without customer feedback, we are destined to fail.

If we don’t know how our customers’ feel, what makes them tick, or where they are frustrated … we will fail. The world's leading CEOs agree:

  • bill-gates
    Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

    Bill Gates, Founder

    Microsoft

  • jeff-bezos
    We see our customers as invited guest to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better.

    Jeff Bezos, CEO

    Amazon

  • julia-hartz
    Customer feedback is the ultimate truth. If you read customer feedback and listen to call center calls, you will really get grounded.

    Julia Hartz, CEO

    Eventbrite

Why Gather Customer Feedback?


What's the benefit of gathering customer feedback?

The truth is loyal customers grow a business faster than sales or marketing. 

However, if we never ask for customer feedback, we'll never understand what drives customer satisfaction. If we don't know what drives satisfied customers, it will be impossible to create customer loyalty

Don’t believe it? Here are the facts: 

Returning customers, or customer loyalty, is what grows a business. Not a $300,000 commercial we could purchase for 30-seconds on NBC.

And it all starts with gathering customer feedback.

  • It costs

    5x to 25x

    more money to acquire new customers than keep existing ones happy.

  • Referrals are the

    #1

    most common source of new leads for businesses around the world.

  • Engaged customers buy

    90%

    more often and spend 60% more per transaction.

The A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop


There’s a strategic system for gathering and implementing customer feedback. It’s called the The A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop:

customer feedback loop-v2.png

Here’s how it works through all four steps: 

  1. Ask for customer feedback
  2. Categorize the feedback
  3. Act on the feedback
  4. Follow-up with customers who shared feedback

The next question you’re probably wondering is, “What questions should we ask to gather customer feedback?”

Step 1: Ask for customer feedback


What question should we ask? The truth is it depends on our goals.
  1. Do we need to understand trends in our overall customer satisfaction over time?
  2. Do we need to identify customer service issues that frustrate customers?
  3. Do we need to uncover product issues that frustrate customers?

In the following sections, we’ll uncover best practices for all scenarios.

1. Understanding trends in our customer satisfaction levels over time

Ask (a) overall.png

To identify overall trends in customer satisfaction, we first have to get a benchmark on how happy (or unhappy) our customers are today.

Then we can ask the same question at set intervals to understand how our customer satisfaction trends over time. This will help us identify and solve new customer issues.

The most popular ways to measure overall customer satisfaction trends are:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • Social media monitoring

Let’s break down the pros and cons of each option.

a) Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is growing in popularity for measuring the likelihood a person will recommend your product or service. It’s one question with a scale of 1 to 10:

NPS.png

Not gathering feedback today? Try HubSpot’s free customer feedback tool.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (customers who would not recommend you) from the percentage of promoters (customers who would recommend you).

It’s commonly used as a tactic for measuring customer loyalty. In fact, customers who fall into the “promoter” category tend to have an average customer lifetime value (LTV) that is 3x to 8x higher than those in the “detractor” category.

In addition, according to data from Bain and Company, companies with the highest NPS in their industry tend to outgrow their competitors by at least 2x.

Here are the pros and cons of using NPS:

Pros Cons
  • The question isn’t about an emotion (i.e. how satisfied are you) but about an intention (i.e. how likely are you to refer us) which is easier to answer.
  • Easily understood by most survey respondents and by most in an organization.
  • Typically high response rates as it’s just one question.
  • Highly correlated to growth and customer loyalty.
  • Can be time-consuming to calculate without a customer feedback tool.
  • Cultural bias (ex. an “8” in America may mean something different than an “8” in Japan)
  • Difficult to understand how good/bad a score is due to wide-ranging benchmark data.
  • Difficult to pull out themes from open-ended customer feedback
  • Difficult to overlay this data with “more objective metrics” like usage data and CRM data so teams can understand how different cohorts of users/customers respond differently.
  • Biased based on the last touchpoint a customer had with our company and how they’re feeling in a given day

 

b) Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a measurement of how satisfied a customer is with a specific interaction with a company. The question looks like this:

CSAT.png

Not gathering feedback today? Try HubSpot’s free customer feedback tool.

CSAT questions are often asked at the end of live chats or knowledge base articles to get an idea of how helpful the solution was for the customer.

We have wrote extensively about the strategy for building a knowledge base, so we’re just skimming the surface here regarding measuring the performance. Here’s the pros and cons for using CSAT to measure customer satisfaction trends over time.

Pros Cons
  • Short and intuitive. It’s one simple question with clear answers.
  • The rating scale is adaptable. We can vary the answers depending on what works best for our audience (ex. emojis, text, stars, or numeric rating scales)
  • High response rates since it’s just one question.
  • Cultural bias - a larger range is not always better, due to cultural differences in how people rate their satisfaction.
  • Difficult to understand how good/bad a score is due to wide-ranging benchmark data.
  • Lack of actionable feedback in terms of understanding what we can improve upon as a company.
  • Difficult to overlay this data with “more objective metrics” like usage data and CRM data so teams can understand how different cohorts of users/customers respond differently.
  • Biased based on the last touchpoint a customer had with our company and how they’re feeling in a given day.
 

c) Social Media Monitoring

Outside of gathering NPS and CSAT surveys, you can also listen to what your customers are really thinking about you by using tools like Google Alerts or Mention.

They help you identify mentions of your brand on the web via websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other third party review sites.

We asked Joei Chan, Content Marketing Manager at Mention, for her take on why social media monitoring is so valuable:

AAIA_wDGAAAAAQAAAAAAAAvNAAAAJGZlODEwZWYzLTJkYTEtNDliMi05MTU3LWNhMjBjYTAwYWUxZA.jpg

Joei Chan, Mention, Content Marketing Manager

“People are talking about you and your competitors constantly. They could be asking for help, complaining about a bug, or raving about how much they love you. And you want to stay on top of all those conversations. Your customers' opinions matter, not just to PR & marketing, but to every team – from customer support to product development to sales. But sifting through irrelevant posts on multiple channels is overwhelming and can be a huge time drain. Sometimes it's not even possible when they don't tag or link to you. That’s where monitoring comes in. Monitoring tools make it easy for you to find people talking about you, but not necessarily to you (when they don't @mention your account) - and reach out or take notes when necessary. There are so many business opportunities to uncover if you know where to look.” 

Although there isn’t a specific survey question you can ask … it’s important to get a general pulse on what your customers are saying over time about your company. Here’s the pros and cons:

Pros Cons
  • No burden on the customer to complete a survey. In their natural environment.
  • Get a true measure of what customers think about you as this method is entirely organic.
  • Difficult to measure and quantify which makes it nearly impossible to track performance over time.
  • Challenging to tie social media comments back to a CRM system at scale.

 

[VOTE] What is the best way to monitor trends in customer satisfaction over time?

What do YOU think is the best way to measure trends in customer satisfaction over time? Vote to see the results from others:

At HubSpot, we use NPS as our primary metric to measure customer satisfaction over time.

However, there are plenty of great arguments against NPS as well. It’s entirely up to weighing the pros and cons of each potential surveying method.

Regardless of the question we choose, it’s important to ask the same question at set intervals over time. At HubSpot, we choose to ask our NPS question monthly to keep a pulse on our customer happiness over time.

Asking on a the same question (ex. NPS) on a consistent basis has two core benefits:

  1. Identifying specific pain-points in the customer journey
  2. Identifying common patterns in happy/unhappy customers

First, asking the same question helps us spot pains during the customer journey. For example, let’s say after asking the same question we see these results:

image11-4.png

The next question to ask is, “Why did customer satisfaction drop during onboarding?”

However, if we didn’t consistently our customers via customer feedback surveys, we would NEVER realize that satisfaction dropped during onboarding.

Second, asking the same question helps us identify common patterns in happy (or unhappy) customers. For example, let’s look at this fake NPS data: 

image6-5.png

Let’s say this company wanted to understand demographic patterns of the 3,643 NPS respondents who rated them a 9 or 10 (i.e. their NPS Promoters).

They analyze their data and notice that 90% of their promoters were SaaS companies with 200+ employees. Now they use this data to inform their marketing & sales strategy, doubling down on companies that fit this demographic, and start seeing a 20% lift in close rates and a 54% lift in retention.

WABOOM!!

If they didn’t consistently ask for customer feedback they would not have uncovered these patterns. #sadness

Next, let’s narrow our customer feedback to identify trends from our customer service team.

Get early access to free customer feedback software

2. Identifying customer service issues that are most frustrating for customers

Ask (b) service.png

The next set of questions are for the customer support and/or customer success leader. They are focused on analyzing how their team is performing.

The most common questions, “How is my team doing at servicing our customers? Are our customers happy? Are we delivering fast, high quality service?”

For example, after a support rep answered a question, is the customer satisfied with the answer? Here are the most common types of questions to ask to find out the answer:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)

Let’s break down the pros and cons of each option.

a) Net Promoter Score (NPS)

As a reminder, Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the likelihood a person will recommend your product or service.

NPS.png

Not gathering feedback today? Try HubSpot’s free customer feedback tool.

However, does this help us analyze effectiveness from our support team? Is it an accurate measurement tool compared to other options out there?

Potentially. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using NPS to measure support team effectiveness.

Pros Cons
  • Easily understood by most survey respondents and by most in an organization.                                                        
  • Typically high response rates as it's only one simple question. 
  • Limited in the vast spectrum of emotions that one might feel after a service interaction
  • Not all customers are created equal, some CSMs may manage a particularly challenging segment and naturally have deflated NPS responses
  • Lack of clarity on what you’re asking or how it relates to their issue.
  • A rating scale must be universally understood - stars, thumbs, and numeric rating scales present challenges in analyzing customer feedback

 

b) Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

As a refresher, the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) question measures how satisfied a customer is after a specific interaction with a company.

CSAT.png

Not gathering feedback today? Try HubSpot’s free customer feedback tool.

CSAT questions are often asked at the end of live chats or knowledge base articles to get an idea of how helpful the solution was for the customer.

This question shows how happy your customers were with the whole support interaction -- from finding your contact information, how long it took for you to answer, the conversation they had with your team, and other follow-up conversations.

Here are the pros and cons: 

Pros Cons
  • Short and intuitive. It’s one simple question with clear answers.
  • The rating scale is adaptable. We can vary the answers depending on what works best for our audience (ex. emojis, text, stars, or numeric rating scales)
  • High response rates since it’s just one question.
  • Satisfaction is subjective and may mean different things to different people        
  • Lack of actionable feedback in terms of understanding what we can improve upon as a company.
  • Cultural bias - a larger range is not always better, due to cultural differences in how people rate their satisfaction.
  • Difficult to overlay this data with “more objective metrics” like usage data and CRM data so teams can understand how different cohorts of users/customers respond differently.
  • Biased based on the last touchpoint a customer had with our company and how they’re feeling in a given day.

 

c) Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score (CES) helps you measure how much effort was required by your customers to get their problem solved. Here’s the question:

CES.png

Not gathering feedback today? Try HubSpot’s free customer feedback tool.

Measuring how difficult a problem was to get resolved, versus a customer’s satisfaction after the problem is solved, is a slightly different modification to the standard CSAT question. And unlike the NPS question, which emphasizes gaining “promoters” to recommend your business to others, the CES focuses on creating an “effortless experience” for customers.

There’s a fascinating Harvard Business Review article that dives into CES in more detail. In summary, making an experience low effort is one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty.

Finally, according to CEB, 96% of customers with a high CES scores showed reduced loyalty in the future, while that was the case with only 9% of those who reported low CES scores.

Here are the pros and cons: 

Pros Cons
  • Strongest predictor of future purchase behavior (according to HBR study where 94% of customers reporting low effort said they would repurchase, while 88% said they would increase their spending).
  • Strong predictor of referral likelihood as 81% of customers reporting high effort say they would speak negatively about the company to others.
  • Highly actionable compared to other terms such as CSAT or NPS.
  • Does not provide information regarding the customer’s overall relationship with your business. It's far more challenging to identity areas of improvement compared to all of the other options that are out there.
  • Lack of segmentation by type of customer.

 

[VOTE] How do YOU identify customer service issues that are most frustrating for customers?

What do YOU think is the best way to identify customer service issues that are most frustrating for customers? Vote to see the results from others:

Whether you choose NPS, CSAT, or NPS … the key is asking for customer feedback after a support ticket is closed and/or a live chat is closed.

It helps improve the response rate and reduce bias that could alter the response if the customer feedback survey is sent later.

Aside from improving the customer experience, it also gives Customer Success leaders insight into what team members are the highest performing. You can then reverse engineer qualities of top-performing CSMs to improve training and hire other top-performers.

Get early access to free customer feedback software

3. Uncovering product issues that are most frustrating for customers

Ask (c) product.png

The final set of questions are typically for the founders, executive teams, and/or product team leaders.

The most common questions are, “How is my product doing at delivering value to our customers? Are they able to accomplish their goals with our product? How do they like X new feature? Are there any key features missing?”

Success teams and their product counterparts also want to use feedback mechanisms to identify opportunities for improvement in their product. They can do this in a few ways:

  • NPS
  • In-app surveys
  • Suggestion board

Let’s break down the pros and cons of each option.

a) Net Promoter Score (NPS)

As a reminder, Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the likelihood a person will recommend your product or service.

NPS.png

Not gathering feedback today? Try HubSpot’s free customer feedback tool.

However, does this help us analyze product issues our customers are experiencing?

Potentially. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using NPS to measure how our customers feel about various aspects of our product.

Pros Cons
  • Good high-level benchmark to help us understand how happy customers are with our product. 
  • The question isn’t about an emotion (i.e. how satisfied are you) but about an intention (i.e. how likely are you to refer us) which is easier to answer    
  • Easily understood by most survey respondents and by most in an organization.        
  • Typically high response rates as it’s just one question.
  • Highly correlated to growth and customer loyalty.         
  • NPS is not a diagnostic - it doesn’t tell us what’s wrong with our product.
  • Hard to make actionable. We get very few pieces of qualitative feedback
  • The biggest challenge is reaching out to these customers and getting them to expand upon the why. We often have to follow up individually with ALL detractors and neutrals.

The biggest issue with NPS is it doesn’t dive deep enough into specific product issues. That’s where in-app product surveys can be helpful.

b) In-App Surveys

If you sell a software product, asking for feedback directly inside the app is a fantastic method for collecting product feedback.

It helps you narrow in on specific issues your customers are experiencing. However, it can also feel like paradox of choice since you can ask ANY question. Here are a few example questions that may be helpful to ask:

  • “What is {insert product feature} helping you accomplish?”
  • “What issues, if any, are you having with {insert product feature}?”
  • “What features do you think we’re missing today for {insert product feature}?”

Regardless of what questions you ask, in-app surveys often help support other commons surveys like NPS. For example, Steve Palmer, Customer Success & Growth at Knack, likes to combine a quantitative score from something like NPS with qualitative feedback, too:

steve-palmer.jpg
Steve Palmer, Knack, Customer Success & Growth

”NPS is important but we’re interested in more than just a quantitative score. For these reasons, we prefer the Net Promoter Score combined with custom survey questions.”

There are hundreds of in-app questions you can ask. Here’s a preview of the pros and cons for in-app surveys. 

Pros Cons
  • Lots of flexibility - you can ask whichever question you see fit, whether you’re evaluating a new design, gauging how customers feel about a new feature launch, etc.
  • Gives us access to the customer/user where they are in the app.
  • Gives us context on what the user/customer is looking at in the app right before their response.
  • Allows us to respond in-app so I can keep all of my feedback in one place.
  • Difficult to comb through open-ended responses and extract insights.
  • Low response rates.
  • No ability to throttle NPS based on if a user has recently responded to feedback -- need to be able to suppress certain users.

 

c) Feature Request Board

A massive part of build a product is identifying new features customers desire. The easiest way to figure it out? Ask them!

Creating a “feature request board” is a common tool for gauging product feedback from existing customers. For example, here’s the customer feedback board we use at HubSpot to help build our product.

image3-7.png

We’ve also seen other companies use Trello as a tool to publicly share their product roadmap. It’s an incredible way to crowdsource feature requests.

Here’s a great example from Loom -- the Google Chrome extension for recording videos in seconds -- who shares their roadmap publicly.

image14.png

According to Joe Thomas, a cofounder at Loom, publicly sharing the product roadmap has these benefits:

joe-thomas-loom.jpg
Joe Thomas, Loom, Founder & CEO

"There are two major reasons for publicly sharing what we plan to build for the people using Loom. First, it builds confidence with the people and companies using our software about what will be available and when. Second, it elicits more feedback from people using our software because they see what you're building which means they can agree or contest what is coming next."

Here are a few pros and cons of using this method.

Pros Cons
  • Customers feel that they’re an active part of building your product roadmap. It provides a place to make customers feel their voice is heard
  • Builds a sense of community and heightened loyalty when you can collaborate with the company on ideas.
  • Provides a channel through which you can make users feel appreciated for their contributions by letting them know that you’re taking action on their suggestions.
  • Likely biased towards your highest-intent customers. The people who aren't using your product are much more likely to withhold feedback or product suggestions.
  • Low volume unless customers are explicitly prompted to suggest an idea in the board.

 

[VOTE] How do YOU gather customer feedback to improve your product?

What do YOU think is the best way to gather customer feedback that improves your product? Vote to see the results from others:

We actually use a mixture of all three of these methods at HubSpot. Yet we’re always looking for new and interesting ways to gather customer feedback.

The next step in the A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback lifecycle is then categorizing the feedback.

Get early access to free customer feedback software

Step 2: Categorize the Feedback


Categorize.png

Congrats! Now you’ve learned how to ask for customer feedback. The next step is finding a scalable system for categorizing the feedback.

If you don’t organize your feedback it will just turn into an endlessly scrolling spreadsheet that hurts my brain just thinking about.

image17.gif

How do you organize your customer feedback? There are a typically three main categories you can bucket customer feedback into:

  1. Product feedback
  2. Customer service feedback
  3. Marketing & sales feedback

You can also break down each macro category into different subcategories which we’ll cover below. It’s quickly worth noting you’ll save time by using customer feedback software to help with organizing your feedback. Versus compiling data into spreadsheets and running time-consuming PivotTables and VLookups to dissect trends. 

According to Scott Tran, founder of Support Driven, it's vital to factor in both positive and negative feedback (regardless of category). 

scott-train.jpg
Scott Tran, Founder, Support Driven

"How can you make good decisions for the customer without listening to customers? You need to listen to the good, the bad, and the ugly feedback to make good decisions."

1. Product feedback

After you ask for product feedback, the first step in the A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop, you’ll get a massive spreadsheet of information.

However, you’ll want to bucket that into different subcategories. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Major product bugs - These are extremely urgent issues that prevent users from getting the core value out of your product. For example, if you have an instant messaging product and users cannot send a message.
  • Minor product bugs - These are minor issues that don’t distract from the core product value. For example, using the same hypothetical messaging product, this would be if your users couldn’t insert a specific emoji into their message.
  • Feature requests - We covered feature requests extensively in the previous section of the A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop framework. The next step is prioritizing feedback based on a mixture of volume of requests, potential impact of building that feature, and opportunity costs associated with each choice. Here’s an great guide from Trello on how to manage feature requests.

You can manually categorize this feedback using a spreadsheet, assigning labels to specific columns, then creating a PivotTable or V-Lookup … but it can be time-consuming.

An easier way is leveraging a customer feedback tool that helps you categorize the feedback by assigning smart tags and bucketing everything into categories automatically. HubSpot is building a customer feedback tool which you can request early access for today.

2. Customer service feedback

The next main category is getting feedback about your customer service. The three most common places to ask for feedback is:

  • Live chat
  • Knowledge base articles
  • Email follow-up (after support case is closed)

When you end a live chat you’ll often see a survey:

live chat feedback.png

Or at the bottom of a knowledge base article when you’re done reading:

image5-4.png

Or after you closed a support ticket and you get sent a follow-up email:

image2-30.png

Regardless of what medium the feedback survey is sent, it will all get aggregated into a central place to analyze your customer feedback.

This makes it easy to identify patterns in your reporting to find answers to these common questions:

  • "What are the most commonly asked questions?"
  • "What knowledge base articles don’t give users the answers they’re looking for?"
  • "What is our average response time in live chat?"
  • "During what stage in the customer journey do people get stuck?"

Building a sustainable system for analyzing customer service is vital for our business growth. If we don’t know where people are frustrated we can’t improve our customer service.

If we can’t improve our service, our customers will leave for another company who will.

3. Marketing & Sales Feedback

The final category of organizing customer feedback is around your marketing and sales.

For example, let’s say one of your sales reps mistakenly promised a feature that wasn’t ready for the next six months. After a customer signs a contract, or submits their first monthly payment, that will likely elicit this customer response:

image8-4.png

Your customer success team is now destined to get practice on dealing with angry customers. They were promised something by sales that didn’t deliver.

The same can happen with marketing. For example, pretend your marketing team mistakenly writes that your product is compatible with Microsoft Outlook on the website. A customer purchases your product, because it’s supposedly compatible with Microsoft Outlook, which they later learn is not true. That will cause massive headaches for your Support team later down the road.

If you have a tight customer feedback loop for your marketing and sales teams these headaches will be entirely avoided.

Another strategy for categorizing customer feedback comes from Justin Wilcox of Customer Development Labs. He suggests using Post It Notes to visually categorize different buckets of feedback. 

justin-wilcox.png
Justin Wilcox, Customer Development Labs, Founder

”The first thing I do is go through my notes and bold the salient points. Then I write up an (online) Post It note for each of the nuggets in one of my interviews. As I create the Post Its, I group common themes together. Once I’m finished creating the Post Its, I usually have quite a mess. To clean that up, I get rid of any Post It that was only mentioned by one customer and keep everything that was mentioned twice+. Next I prioritize the groups of Post Its based on how many customers mentioned those concepts. Finally, I create a summary with the core concepts and screen shots of the Post Its. Now I have an easy to read report of the findings, in order of importance, complete with real customer quotes!"

Step 3: Act on the customer feedback


Act.png

Now that you’ve categorized your customer feedback it’s time to ACT on it. The first step is sharing the feedback with these three teams:

  1. Product team
  2. Customer Support team
  3. Marketing and Sales

You can either share feedback in real time by using email alerts or Slack alerts.

image20.png

Or you can share the customer feedback at set intervals such as daily, weekly, or monthly digests.

Regardless of when you share the feedback, it’s vital that you do share the feedback. We’ve found that too many times companies ask for feedback but don’t do anything with it.

Why ask for customer feedback if it’s just going to sit idle in a spreadsheet?

We asked Ellie Wilkinson, Sr. Manager of Customer Success at Moz, how she implements customer feedback from surveys:

ellie-wilkinson.jpg
Ellie Wilkinson, Sr Manager of Customer Success, Moz

”Customer satisfaction survey data is an invaluable source of new ideas to test as well as a great gauge at how to prioritize improvements. Having this kind of data helps us get into the mind of our customers, make a case to try something new, and even estimate the impact that an improvement will have on user experience."

The key is sharing it with the correct teams at intervals (real time, daily, weekly, monthly) they prefer. Regardless of whether it's a new product idea or making improvements on existing products.

Another consideration is who are the people filling out these surveys in the first place. Yes, we should always share customer feedback with the right teams, but sometimes the decision maker isn't who ends up being surveyed. We asked Matt Hogan, Head of Customer Success at Intricately, to weigh in on this topic: 

matt-hogan.jpg
Matt Hogan, Head of Customer Success, Intricately

“The #1 mistake is understanding who controls the power on your customer's end. The end users could be giving you 10s, but the decision maker doesn't get surveyed and isn't seeing the ROI. The DM ultimately makes decisions based on quantitative results, and not the end-users feedback. The best way to handle this is to maintain the perspective that this could be happening, and use the end-user's feedback as leverage for getting on the phone with the decision maker.”

“The #1 mistake is understanding who controls the power on your customer's end. The end users could be giving you 10s, but the decision maker doesn't get surveyed and isn't seeing the ROI. The DM ultimately makes decisions based on quantitative results, and not the end-users feedback. The best way to handle this is to maintain the perspective that this could be happening, and use the end-user's feedback as leverage for getting on the phone with the decision maker.”

It's important to know who is making decisions on the customer’s side. All too often, we survey people who don’t hold decision making power, which gives us a skewed view of our data and what we can do about it

The final step is then following-up with customers that you’re acting on the feedback. That’s where most companies fall short.

Step 4: Follow-up with customer


Follow-up-1.png

Regardless of what type of feedback we share with a company … we simply desire two things:

  1. It’s easy for us to give feedback
  2. We feel like our voice is being heard

The first can be solved with customer feedback software. The second is a little tougher.

The core problem is people don’t share feedback with companies because they feel like they’re talking to a wall. According research from a UK customer experience group, they found that 43% of customers don’t leave feedback because they don’t think the business cares.

THAT IS CRAZY!!!

If we don’t make our customers feel appreciated for their feedback, both positive and negative, they simply won’t give feedback. If we don’t get customer feedback we risk our business failing.

When asked Curtis Morris, CEO at Qualaroo, he agreed it’s vital to follow up with survey respondents:

curtis-morris.jpg
Curtis Morris, Qualaroo, CEO

“Closing the loop with customers that complete your satisfaction survey is both the most important and most ignored step in a good customer satisfaction campaign. Ensuring that your team can acknowledge and thank anyone that completed the survey (close the loop) is critical to ensuring that customers will continue to provide you feedback."

If we don't routinely follow-up with customers, we risk losing trust with them. We asked Nils Vinje, VP of Customer Success at Rainforest QA, to elaborate on this topic: 

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Nils Vinje, VP of Customer Success, Rainforest QA

Whether you use NPS or a general customer satisfaction survey, the most common mistake I see people make is doing a lot of work to put the system in place without doing the work to get teams/the company ready to act on the feedback that is collected. If a customer tells you the exact same feedback twice, meaning you didn't address the issue after they raised it in the first survey, you will lose credibility and they may not be willing to keep filling out your surveys in the future. You can't act and deliver on every piece of feedback that comes through but you can address every piece of feedback that comes through in some way. Providing a response, even if what the customer is requesting is not something you will do, is always better than no response at all or 'it's on the roadmap.' Be very clear and you will build trust."

But what makes our customers feel like their being heard?

First, they desire a prompt response time. In fact, 81% of customers say they would be willing to leave feedback if they knew they would get a fast response. We can improve this by:

  • Publishing a report with our customer feedback so far and how we’ve implemented it
  • Using a public feature request Trello board (like this example from Loom)
  • Mailing thank you letters to people who gave you incredible feedback
  • Personalizing an email response (beyond a canned email template) genuinely thanking them for taking time out of their busy schedules to give feedback

When we feel like our voice is being heard, and something will be done about it, we aren’t afraid to share our opinions.

It’s our responsibility as a business to follow up with customers who share feedback. If we don’t, they won’t share feedback later on, and we run a higher risk of business failure because we’re not capturing the good and bad feedback from our customers.

Finally, as a reminder we are accepting applications for Beta testers for the early version of our customer feedback software. You can request early access here:

Additionally, if you have thoughts on gathering customer feedback, we’d love to hear from you. Send us a Tweet over at @HubSpot about how you gather customer feedback. Good luck out there!

Get early access to free customer feedback software

HubSpot is releasing free customer feedback software in 2018. Get notified when it's ready for action.

Created By

  • Scott Tousley

    Growth Marketing Team Lead @ HubSpot