CX importance

Importance of Customer Experience Feedback

If you use Google to search for how important customer experience feedback is to your organisation, you will be presented with pages of search results that might convince you that customer experience feedback is essential. You will read that not only will you fail to make good profits, but your business will be dead. So, is this true? As someone selling Customer Feedback programmes, I think it depends. And, what’s more, it pays to buy wisely. You don’t necessarily need to spend too much.

Where should you start if you’re new to Customer Experience Feedback?

I was asked at a conference recently by someone from a small retail chain “How should I start to get some useful customer experience information? What do I need to spend?” After establishing that they had done nothing more than get some ‘off the cuff’ feedback from store managers, I quickly replied “Spend nothing”. I suggested that they spent two days visiting their five shops and talking to a few customers at each shop to find out what was going on.

 What experience are you trying to achieve?

The potential buyer, I am glad to say, took my advice because the first goal is to find out what customer experience you are trying to give, making sure staff throughout the organisation know what is expected, then you can measure its success.

The business model makes a difference

Customer feedback is important, but how important is an entirely different question. Coupled with business goals, the importance will vary from business to business and the depth of your feedback (and amount of expenditure) should be dependent on these criteria. If your business model is expansion, rolling out a product or service through several channels whilst wishing to reach an expanding market, putting in place a weightier feedback system is a necessity. However, expansion doesn’t always mean bigger profits and, rightly, many businesses want to stay a certain size or expand slightly to keep the business manageable.

What types of business need most feedback?

fragility, customer feedback

How fragile is your business?

Beyond the business model, there is the question of your fragility. This is where Customer Experience Feedback can be valuable, especially where trading conditions are competitive, price-conscious or a luxury that people can do without. If you run a business that services people’s boilers once per year, it is easy to track how satisfied customers are by looking at the sales figures. If you are giving a good enough service at a reasonable price, customers are likely to stick with you unless a competitor offers something much better. If you don’t want to expand that business, the sales figures tell you what you need to know.

The “you must exceed expectation” mantra

I find software vendors are prone to writing blog articles telling you that the way to greater profits is by exceeding expectations. I also find Americans are prone to this too – maybe, that is true in America. In Europe, exceeding expectation may or may not be important. For many businesses being good enough is, well, good enough. In some fields, exceeding expectations becomes important – holidays, weddings, above average restaurants etc. In others, ‘a decent job or service at a decent price’ may be all your customers want.

What Customer Experience Feedback will give you

If it is done well, Customer Experience Feedback will give you key measures that will tell you whether your channels, outlets, teams or whatever are performing to the required standard and whether your customers are getting the level of service they expect. I would also add to that measuring the threat from competition is important so that you can see whether it is increasing, decreasing or staying constant. If your satisfaction levels are rising but the threat from competition is rising faster, you may be more vulnerable than it appears.

Comparing teams

I think comparing the performance of outlets, teams etc. is valuable information. Not only can you measure whether the performance is improving or not, but you can start to evaluate why one team constantly performs better than another. There may be a very good reason for this. For example, a service engineer working in a busy city centre may be less reliable for time due to traffic conditions than someone who works in an area where travel is easy.

Making the most of Customer Experience Feedback

Showing other metrics alongside your Customer Experience Feedback can give you valuable insights into what is going on in your business. Sales, returns, advertising spend etc. can all be measured side by side with your Customer Experience Feedback data. I would argue that having your feedback in the way that is most useful to you is both important and highly underrated. Being able to present information that is relevant to the overall business at board level will mean that the Customer Experience data is far more valuable.

Start small

If you are new to doing any serious or semi-serious level of Customer Experience Feedback, I would start small unless your business is complex, although, even then, I would start with a small pilot. Exploring one channel is a good way to start with an inexpensive programme. There’s a temptation to want to find out too much information. It’s important that the survey you send your customers is short and easy to understand. The key measures are satisfaction, whether expectations were met, how easy it was to do business with you and the threat from competition.

Pricing and competition are important

pricing, customer experience

Pricing is part of the customer experience

Many providers of customer feedback like to keep pricing and competition out of the picture. “It’s nothing to do with customer experience” is their claim. We would argue that it is usually connected. From your Customer Experience Feedback programme, you should expect a measure of loyalty and vulnerability. In many markets, loyal customers who are satisfied can defect to a competitor if there is a significant price difference. And, what’s more, ‘significant price difference’ is not a fixed amount of money or a percentage of your price, it will vary from situation to situation.

So, is Customer Experience Feedback important?

The answer is usually ‘yes’. But, you don’t usually need to spend a fortune to get the level of feedback that will make a difference to your business. You should rightly expect a good ROI on your Customer Experience Feedback programme. You won’t necessarily get more back by spending more, although, as stated, there are some situations where complex programmes are needed.

Talk to us

We will not oversell you and would recommend that you start with a small programme. You can then see what difference it makes and whether spending more is of value. We place a high value of providing reporting how you want it – not in some fixed form that may be of less use. If you want to know, contact me at phil.hearn@cxzebra.com.

Phil Hearn is CEO of MRDC Software and CX Zebra. His ambition is to make CX as simple as possible so that real advantage positive actions can be implemented and monitored to bring steady success.