How do you measure the success of your marketing program? Landing page conversion rates? Lead-to-customer ratio? Website bounce rate? All of these KPIs are important, but what about customer satisfaction? As HubSpot blogger Shane Forster so eloquently points out in his article about customer feedback strategies, “...ultimately none of these (KPIs) truly matter if the customer experience is lacking or fails to meet customer expectations.”
Since loyal customers grow business faster than marketing and according to the State of Inbound report, referrals are still the #1 source of new leads, marketers should care deeply about customer success. It’s why HubSpot’s new Service Hub product offering includes software to help you systematically collect feedback and grow your business by turning customers into promoters. The software tools let you send different types of surveys to your customers to determine what to do more of — and what to do less of (aka “fix it now!”). In this post we’ll unpack how customer feedback fits into the framework of an inbound organization and what type of information you can gather through the Customer Feedback tools. For a more in-depth overview, check out HubSpot’s resource:
How Customer Feedback Fits in the Inbound Service framework
It seems like common sense that concern for customers cannot end when they sign a contract. It’s why companies like HubSpot are developing technology stacks to help your business grow by providing a seamless user experience at all points of the inbound journey, from their first marketing touch with your website through the sales process and their entire life as a customer. Engaging customers through multiple channels of reactive support, learning about them and guiding them to a solution that works for them, and growing with them are all parts of the Inbound Service Framework.
Customer feedback is a key element in the “Grow” stage of this framework and where Promoters exist. In HubSpot’s words, “It’s about taking existing customers and helping them get more value, earn their trust, and get them to start promoting and reviewing you online to refer more customers.” Software tools can help your business systematize the collection of that feedback and allow you to respond faster — and thus grow your business faster. As Brian Halligan talked about at INBOUND 2018 last week, you must view your customer-facing team as an investment in growth, not a cost center.
3 Steps to Using Customer Feedback Tools to Create Promoters
Step 1: Create a Customer Feedback Plan
Before you dive right in and start asking for feedback from customers, it’s important to determine what you need to measure, instances in which you’ll ask for feedback, and how you’ll act on the feedback. That last one is crucial — if you ask a customer for their input, you’d better be prepared to act on it, or you can count on not getting their feedback again, and you risk sending the message that they don’t matter to you. A systematized plan can streamline the process, make sure the information is collected in a timely manner, and that your action items are based on credible data.
You can use the A.C.A.F. framework for creating your Customer Feedback plan:
- Ask your customers for feedback on overall trends, service issues, and product issues
- Categorize feedback to identify patterns that are meaningful and prioritize action items that will have an impact. For instance, if you find you have very high satisfaction in the industrial manufacturing segment, you can gather testimonials and pursue more of these types of prospects, increasing your proposal close-won rate.
- Act on feedback by sharing it with others at your company who can implement changes
- Follow-up with customers through personalized notes, publishing reports, and/or offering a public digital recommendation board or suggestion forum
Step 2: Implement a Net Promoter Score Program
We’re firm believers that NPS is an important — if not the most important — KPI you can measure. After all, if your own customers wouldn’t recommend you to others, how will you ever grow? Still not convinced? A Nielsen Global Trust study found that 83% of respondents trust the recommendations of their friends and family. And it’s estimated that referrals are 4x more likely to make a purchase, so a the higher your NPS score the more potential referrals you will receive. It’s also almost always more cost effective to retain customers than to bring on new ones. A 5% improvement in customer retention could increase profits up to 95% according to Sophia Bernazzani’s findings about customer loyalty benchmarks.
In simple terms the NPS is based on respondents indicating how likely they would be to recommend your organization’s products or services to a friend or colleague, and the reasoning for their rating. The rating scale is 0-10 and breaks customers into Promoters (9/10), Passives (7/8), and Detractors (0-6). To calculate your company’s NPS score, you first determine the percentage of all respondents that fall into each category — promoters, passives and detractors. Then you subtract the Detractor percentage from the Promoter percentage.
Getting feedback early and often can help you stay on top of your brand reputation by knowing what your customers are saying about you, and ultimately help you increase the number of Promoters working to grow your business. It is essential to know what direction your NPS is trending so you can take the right actions to help your business and prevent customer churn. Surveying customers frequently — typically at least once per quarter — helps you identify and address potential problem areas.
Step 3: Seek Additional Product and Service Feedback
NPS is a great indicator of overall feedback trends for your business. Here are some other things to seek Customer Feedback on and how software can help:
- Overall trends: use social monitoring tools to stay on top of what customers are saying about you
- Service issues: ask for Customer Satisfaction Scores after specific interactions with customer support; ask for Customer Effort Scores as well to gauge how easy it was for the customer to find the answer to their problem
- Product issues: you can use in-app surveys to ask for feedback on specific features or suggestion boards so you know specifically what users want to see added or needs to be fixed
Asking for feedback beyond NPS will help you understand the “why” behind the ratings better, and provide you with actionable steps to create more Promoters and grow your business.
As you can imagine, collecting customer feedback can be daunting without effective tools like Customer Feedback Software from HubSpot to systematize the asking, categorizing, taking action, and following up. Utilizing technology will streamline your process and provide clear insight into what your customers really think of you.
Customer feedback is essential to building trust and loyalty. Just tracking sales revenue or other KPIs won’t tell you the whole story. Tools like Net Promoter Score combined with social monitoring and detailed surveys like Customer Service Score, Customer Effort Score, in-app surveys, and recommendation boards can help connect the dots and help you develop new strategies for growth, both for you and your customers.