The good (and bad) news is: customers aren’t shy. They’ll tell you exactly how they feel about your business when asked. And, what’s more, dissatisfied customers are pretty loud about it. If you’re in business long enough, you’ll definitely hear their voices.
But, I’m one of those people who like to look at the glass half-full. I believe that all feedback is good feedback because you can use every last bit of criticism to retain more of your customers.
When customers (past and present) tell you what they want, what they like, and especially what they don’t like, it’s a gift. You see, when frustration creeps in, churn is next. But as long as they’re talking to you about it, there’s still an opportunity for you to do something about it.
You can turn that feedback into a powerful customer retention strategy and slow churn to a grinding halt.
By the end of this post, I’m going to make you love feedback. And, not only that, I’m going to show you how to respond to feedback effectively. Let’s get to it.
Different Types of Feedback
Feedback comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of it’s positive, some of it’s negative, but all of it’s beneficial.
Here’s how you’ll most commonly receive customer feedback:
- Answers to surveys – Surveys conducted on your website, within your app, or via email
- Reviews of your product – Both on your site and on other sites
- Blog comments – Both on your site and on other sites
- Social media comments – Both on your social media page and on other platforms
- Complaints via customer service – Complaints are always unsolicited, but still helpful
To find feedback that’s not given directly to you, you can use social listening tools like HootSuite or Google Alerts. Always be on the lookout for mentions of your brand and your products on search engines and social media. Chances are high that your customers are talking about you (even if you’re not getting direct feedback on your channels), so make it a plan to actively search for it.
1. Use Feedback to Develop Your Product
For many SaaS, a lot of the customer feedback will be product-centric. You’ll start to notice a trend with the praises and the complaints. There will be features of your product that are universally loved by all. But, on the other hand, you’ll start to see that certain features aren’t quite hitting the mark.
This is what I love about feedback. It shows you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
So, listen to your customers, and take their comments to heart. Pay attention to the most frequently received feedback and update your product accordingly.
By doing so, you’ll create a better product that’s more in-tune with what your customers are asking for, thereby improving your retention.
But– and this is huge– don’t get so focused on pleasing every customer that you lose yourself as a brand. You’ll go crazy trying to tweak your product to suit every customer. So don’t even try. Instead, focus on the most common criticisms. After you tackle the bigger problems, the smaller problems usually self-correct.
Also, it’s important that all customer comments and complaints are relayed to the management staff. It’s easy for comments and complaints to come into one department and then die there.
Do you receive all of the feedback from customer service, social media, sales, and your tech support in one central location? If not, a lot of important feedback may be falling through the cracks.
2. Be Quick to Respond
Follow up on all feedback.
While feedback can be positive or negative, it’s your follow-up response that can actually make or break the customer’s experience with you. In some cases, your response can determine whether the customer stays or leaves.
If you don’t respond, customers are much more likely to leave with a negative impression of your business. They’ll think that you’re either “too big” to respond to the “little guys” or that you’re out of touch with your customers. Either way, it’s a bad message to send to your customers.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to respond to feedback. A quick, but thoughtful, sentence or two is all it takes to show your customer that you truly value their input.
Be sure to respond in like kind: via email, social media, blog posts, or forums. This is where social listening tools really come in handy. A friendly “Thanks for the feedback! We’ll look into your suggestion” can be a satisfying conclusion for your customer– especially if you mean it!
3. Be Transparent
So, you don’t want to say anything that you don’t mean. If you say that you’re going to consider their suggestion, do so. If you decide to make changes accordingly, circle back around and let the customer know that you’ve done it. This small, but rare, nod to the customer can really boost your retention rates.
Think about it: customers like to know that you listen to them and are willing to act on their feedback. That act will win over your customers.
After you’ve implemented the feedback, broadcast it on all of your outlets. Create a blog post, shout out via social media, send out an email– even make a press release. Be sure to share that your change is a result of customer feedback. Your customers will appreciate your transparency.
4. Use Positive Feedback to Recruit New Customers
Every now and then, you’ll have a customer send you a complimentary email, explaining how your product has helped them change their lives. Whenever you get such positive feedback, jump on this opportunity and look for ways that you can incorporate it into your marketing.
Positive feedback can provide an extra level of credibility and improve your trustworthiness as a brand.
Remember to respond quickly and ask the customer if you may use their words (and their likeness) to promote your product. Most customers won’t have a problem with your request. When you get the go ahead, place their positive feedback everywhere you can– on your website, social media, promotional content, and landing pages. You may even be able to score an interview with the customer for a case study.
5. Incorporate Feedback into Your Upselling
Upselling is great for increasing the lifetime value of your customers. Make upselling a part of your retention strategy by encouraging your current customers to continue buying from you.
I recommend using positive feedback (i.e. testimonials) as part of your upsell marketing. Show how others are using your upgrade product to effectively solve their problem.
Another thing to consider: enable reviews (both good and bad) of your product on your website. Reviews can motivate customers to buy the higher priced product because people trust other people.
6. Show Customers the Ropes
Once you’ve implemented changes in accordance to the feedback, make sure that your customers are not only aware of the changes, but they also feel comfortable with those changes.
Create an email series that highlights the different changes to your product and send it out to your current customers.
Additionally, create an in-app tour of the significant changes that you made to your product.
Radically changing your product (even if it’s for the better) can actually increase churn. No one wants to feel lost using your new and improved product. Combat that by showing your customers how to successfully navigate around your updated product.
Thoughtfully employing customer feedback will show customers that you value them. It will have a positive impact on your retention because customers who feel heard are a lot more likely to stick around.