15 Steps to Act on Customer Feedback After You Get It

How to Act on Customer Feedback After You Get It

Customer feedback has become one of the primary drivers of long-term growth. Gathering customer feedback is the only way of understanding the key driver of customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers stay loyal to your brand; they become your brand advocates. They will not only bring you new leads thanks to referrals but also help you reduce churn.

After all, it costs 5 to 25 times more money to acquire a new customer than to keep the existing ones happy.💸 While there are countless methods of collecting customer feedback, some of the most popular ones are customer satisfaction score (CSAT) surveys, customer effort score (CES) surveys, and Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. Despite their difference in question formulation, all three methods essentially focus on collecting negative, neutral, and positive feedback.

This article will look into the steps you need to follow after receiving feedback and the best ways to act on positive, negative, or neutral feedback.

How to Act on Customer Feedback?

Asking your users for feedback helps you identify areas of improvement. When customer feedback is used correctly, it becomes the most beneficial growth driver for your business. Ultimately, collecting feedback is pointless if you do not use it to take action. You need to follow different steps to respond to customer feedback based on their sentiment. But there are also general steps you can apply to all kinds of feedback. 👇

Step #1: Make sure no customer feedback goes unnoticed

Researchers launch a survey and review the responses weeks or months later. This is a significant issue we see in feedback collection. You might ask, how is that a problem? If you don’t act on the feedback instantly, you miss out on the most valuable advantage of live feedback collectionreal-time customer feedback response and real-time action. Fortunately, with Survicate, you can receive instant notifications on several channels or pass survey responses to your desired CRM and help desk.

  • Slack notifications: Loved by many teams worldwide, Slack is a convenient way to stay updated with customer feedback. You can send your survey responses as Slack notifications to private or public channels and get the whole team on board with your feedback.

    customer feedback in slack channel

    Survicate feedback in a Slack channel.

  • Email notifications: You can get instant email notifications sent to any email address of your choice – even if they don’t have a Survicate account. We send Email notifications after someone completes a survey, fills in a contact form, or when the response meets a specific condition. Using condition trigger, you can, for instance, get notified only when your respondent answers your NPS survey as a detractor. A great way to utilize email notifications is to connect your survey to your support teams’ inboxes so that they can take rapid action.
  • Google Sheets: If you prefer a more traditional collaboration method, Google Sheets is an excellent tool for that. You can send survey responses to Google Sheets in real-time, so your teammates can review the answers at their own pace. You can easily add comments to responses or assign responses to teammates, too.
  • CRM integrations: You can feed your survey responses to Intercom, Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, or any other customer relationship management system to set up automated triggers and follow-up messages. Keeping your feedback data in your CRM is essential to boost sales, evaluating customer engagement, and building long-lasting relationships with your customers.

In addition to sharing feedback instantly, you can share the feedback with the relevant teams daily, weekly, or monthly. Survicate’s email reports are easily enabled and sent at the desired frequency. Regardless of when you share feedback, it’s vital that you do.

The aim here is to encourage the decision-makers and directors in the company to observe the customer feedback, alongside the teams that have direct communication with the customers.

In Survicate, send all our survey responses (yes, all of it!) to a public Slack channel. This way, we can keep our customers’ pulse as a whole team, from our CEO to our specialists. When the feedback is easily accessible, we can ensure nothing slips through the net and is discussed openly.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to how you should collaborate on your feedback. You only need to find what works best for you and your team.

Step #2: Feed customer feedback into your product roadmap

Not long ago, we introduced a feature requested numerous times in several surveys. The feature allowed our users to categorize surveys into folders, keeping their dashboard neat and organized. The moment we’ve shipped the folders, feedback from happy customers started flooding in!

customer’s feedback shared on a Slack channel

A Survicate customer’s comment shared on a Slack channel.

Implementing your customers’ insights is also critical to close the customer feedback loop. When you made a customer-driven change, close the loop by sending them an email or an in-app message to inform the customer about the change. This way, your customers will be more encouraged to give insights if they know you are acting on it.

No matter which department you are working with, the real insight comes from the ones who use your product regularly. Thus, use your users’ insights to plan your feature releases, improve frictions on your customer experience, and develop your product. Take our word for it; your users will appreciate the gesture. 💌

Free-to-use User Experience Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

Step #3: Follow up on survey response

Surveys provide the opportunity to collect feedback on your products or services. They also give an occasion to fix a bad interaction with your customers, resolve a complaint, or thank your happy customers.

Online research conducted in the UK by Bulldog Reporter reveals that 43% of customers state they don’t leave feedback because they think businesses don’t care. Naturally, when people feel like they’re talking to a wall, they don’t share feedback with companies. When we leave feedback, we only want to feel that our voices are heard, regardless of what kind of feedback we leave.

So, acknowledge your customers’ feedback, whether positive, negative, or neutral. Recognize them in a way that is not stereotypical but personal and showing the customer how valuable their feedback is. You might think personally responding to every survey requires more time than you have. Fortunately, many CRM gives you lots of options to customize these answers and, most importantly, automate this process.

For instance, if you are using Intercom, you can set up each open-ended response to start a conversation in your team’s inbox. In this way, you can give a personal thank you to positive feedback and swiftly return to negative feedback to resolve the concerns.

Intercom conversation opened from a Survicate survey response

An Intercom conversation opened from a Survicate survey response.

How to Act on Negative Customer Feedback?

When you get negative feedback or a low score about a customer’s experience, it’s incorrect to think of it as a lost opportunity and be defensive. Even if feedback is negative, customers are engaging with you because they care. You should consider your customer’s negative feedback as an opportunity to correct the situation and to show you care about the customer experience. At the end of the day, what your business does towards negative feedback is more important than the presence of negative feedback.

Step #4: Respond to negative feedback

Before buying any product, you most likely read its reviews, look at its scores on sites like G2 and Trustpilot, or search for the business online. Do you also pay attention to how companies respond to their reviews in these places? A recent survey conducted by Bright Local shows that 87% of consumers who read reviews also read how businesses respond to reviews. So, never returning to negative feedback or responding aggressively and defensively can directly affect the perspective of your prospects towards your company. You must know how to respond to negative customer feedback to win back the customer’s heart.

Make sure to pay attention to these points while conducting your reply:

  • Address the customer by their name whenever possible. This will show the customer that your response is not automated; personalization benefits a better first impression.
  • Apologize and sympathize with your response. Apologizing when you think you didn’t do anything wrong might be challenging. No matter how unfounded the customer’s feedback is, you should put on your best appearance and show that you are remorseful for the bad customer experience. A simple “I’m very sorry to hear about your bad experience, thank you for bringing this to our attention.” will do the trick.
  • Promote your good remarks. Whether they are new or returning customers, it’s good to point out the unusualness of the situation. Tell them what a typical customer experience with your business looks like. “We are normally known for our great customer service, but we regret that we couldn’t provide this experience for you.”
  • Act dedicated to solving the problem. If the feedback is about a problem with your business, you should help the customer and explain the steps to solve the problem. From the prospects’ perspective, seeing you lend a hand to a customer after a bad experience is a good sign that you care about your customers.

Our friends at Zendesk have prepared a handy template on answering negative customer feedback by following the proper steps:

A Zendesk macro template responding to negative feedback.

A Zendesk macro template responding to negative feedback. Image source.

Step #5: Respond to negative feedback fast

As research shows 81% of customers say they were willing to leave feedback if they knew they would get a quick response. Responding to your customers’ feedback swiftly is the best thing you can do to make them feel their voices are heard. So be sure to respond to feedback within 1-2 business days. This way, you can show your customers that you value comments and are behind your product.
Most importantly, don’t leave negative feedback unanswered; ignoring the negative feedback will have a compounding effect.

This is why, even before you start collecting responses, it’s crucial to establish task allocation and automated responses to feedback. An effortless and effective way is to set up custom email notifications that will trigger your or your support team’s inbox.

Survicate feedback in an email notification

Survicate feedback in an email notification.

Step #6: Provide an incentive for a second chance

You can provide a great customer service experience and win back an unhappy customer by asking them for a second chance. If their complaint is a common issue, you can fix it and ask them to come back by offering discounts or rewards. If they have had any unusual problems, apologize for the situation and provide incentives to make them return.

You can use many incentives to win a customer back to your business. However, the incentive you will use should not only be related to your product, but it should also provide an increased value. Here are five incentives you can offer after a bad customer experience:

  • Offer reward points. Suppose you already have a reward system where customers receive points by buying your product. In that case, it’s a great practice to use these reward points as an incentive when your customer is unsatisfied with an aspect of the product.
  • Offer discount on next purchase. Discounts come in handy when your customer is generally happy about your product but not satisfied with a particular thing or had a bad customer service experience. This not only makes your customers happy but also helps them become repeat customers.
  • Offer free products. If your customer’s complaint is a product-related issue, such as a damaged product or an incorrect product, you can offer them to send the product in question free of charge.
  • Offer upgrade features for a free trial. If your customer faces an issue that you can solve with upgrade features, you can offer this upgrade as a trial. This will solve your customer’s current problem and have them pay to continue using the upgrade as long as they like it.
  • Offer a refund. Sometimes free goods or upgrade perks won’t do it, and all you can do to fix the customer experience is to offer them a full or partial refund. Although a refund is a tough choice for your company, it’s worth keeping your customer happy.

Step #7: Ask the customer to change their negative feedback

When you’ve resolved the issue and are sure that your customer’s experience is now positive, you can ask your customer to change their feedback. The key is not to sound assertive and not asking it publicly. If your client has already given you a second chance and is happy with the experience, they will be willing to change their feedback.

If the feedback is public, you can ask the customer to remove the review or change their review (if possible). If it’s not public feedback, it’s still worth asking the user how they would rate their experience now, after the issue is resolved. After all, when used internally, customer feedback is vital to develop your business strategy.

While there are many ways you can write such a request, one of my favorite ones goes like this:

Hi {{Name}},
I’m pleased to hear that the issue is resolved! Again, we are very sorry about the inconvenience before - but thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to make things right.
Would you be willing to reconsider the {{website name}} review and share an update now that we've resolved things? Your first review outlining the issues was right and entirely fair. An update on the process would help other buyers and reassure them.
If not, that's totally all right.
We're thankful to you for the second chance either way!
Best,

Even if you don’t turn the negative feedback into a positive one, don’t worry. Customers will always see positive feedback over negative ones. So another great way to overcome negative customer feedback is to gain more positive feedback!

Step #8: Identify pain areas before customers churn

If you don’t take any action to fix the problem or communicate with the customer in some way today, one negative feedback can lead to many more in the blink of an eye. 32% of customers say they would stop doing business with a brand after 1 negative experience. Can you believe you would lose one-third of your customers to a single bad experience? Identifying the root causes of negative feedback ensures the same problem will not occur again.

when do customers stop interacting with a brand

When do customers stop interacting with a brand? Image source

If there are issues you hear from your customers more than once, it is a good idea to go through these issues and examine them thoroughly. They might not appear to be too inclusive and major problems, but various minor issues could be the tip of the iceberg. These minor problems can lead to friction in the customer journey and point to the bottlenecks preventing your company from developing.

Therefore, it is best to take all complaints seriously and act on them, no matter how minor they may seem. In this way, you can prevent customer churn. Customers whose complaints are addressed are more likely to be loyal to your company than other customers.

Free-to-Use Lost Customer/Churn Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

How to Act on Positive Customer Feedback?

Positive feedback doesn’t have the same effect as negative feedback. It doesn’t drive customers away or negatively affect your business’s online presence. So, many companies do not touch positive feedback and do not see the need to take action. However, acting on positive feedback is not just a kind thing to do; it’s a great tool to support your marketing efforts and encourage customer loyalty.

Step #9: Thank your customer and offer an award

When you receive positive feedback from a customer, the first thing to do, of course, is to thank them for their feedback. Too many businesses take happy customers for granted and don’t follow up with them.

A customer who tells you how much they value your service is invaluable and deserves as much attention, if not more, than a customer who gives a bad review of your service. Above all, you need to show them that their feedback is valuable and that you are listening.

A customer who is satisfied with their purchase with you may be counting the days to make another purchase. You can organize a promotional campaign for your happy customers and suggest related products that they might enjoy. To make things easier for them, you can offer them discounts on their purchase to show you care.

Even if you can’t promote, you need to make your customers feel how special they are. For this, you can inform them about your upcoming new products or the next biggest sale. The important thing is to show that you appreciate your customer for their interest. This way, you can turn your happy customers into brand evangelists who will boost your business with referrals.

Step #10: Use positive feedback as a testimonial on your website

Showcasing customer satisfaction via legitimate testimonials is a distinctive way to show reputation to your prospects. There is no more convincing pitch than an honest and well-written customer story on your company’s website.

Ask happy customers if they are interested in preparing a customer case study with you or having their name and comment as a testimonial on your website. Customer testimonials are the best kind of advertisement – they will bring you a greater return more than any ad campaign.

Free-to-Use Customer Testimonials Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

You can automate an email to send a personal request to your promoters (or delighted customers), asking them to conduct a case study with you by combining Survicate with Zapier.

Or you can keep things simple and strike while the iron is hot – include a question in your survey asking for your user’s permission to use their feedback as a testimonial on your website. You can use survey logic (branching) to show this option only to users who have rated your service or product with a high score.

Step #11: Direct the respondent to a review page

Your potential customers will decide whether to do business with you based on the feedback others give about you online. If your prospects see that the customers before them have had a pleasant experience with your company, chances are they will feel more comfortable being a customer themselves. BrightLocal research proves that 76% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. So, customer reviews are the new word-of-mouth marketing.

Social proof is a powerful marketing tactic. It helps to ease the minds of consumers and convince them that your products will solve their problems. You can benefit from social proof by directing your promoters to various third-party review channels.

In such cases, you may think that the best way to increase the number of reviews is by providing your customers with an incentive in your survey to leave an online review.

In many cases, incentives like discount coupons or freebies to get your customers moving would work like a charm. However, offering an incentive to your customers to leave a review on third-party review sites may not always be a good idea. Some third-party review sites apply strict rules for customer incentivized reviews. So before offering your customers an incentive for their review, it’s a good idea to check the review site’s rules on incentives.

A Survicate survey directing the respondent to a review page


USE THIS TEMPLATE

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

Step #12: Celebrate your wins and motivate the team

Feedback is the essential tool to show your team what is working and what is not. Talking about good experiences is just as important as talking about bad experiences. Therefore, don’t forget to celebrate good occasions with your team and appreciate them for their success. Especially when:

  • You receive a love letter from a key account,
  • Your overall CSAT or NPS score has improved,
  • You win back a customer who previously left negative feedback.

In any of these situations, wear your celebratory hat and thank everyone involved! This will not only encourage your teammates to go the extra mile, but it will also reinforce teamwork and company pride. Even if it’s you that received the positive feedback, don’t be timid to share it. Personal marketing is also precious when done necessary.

A love letter shared in Survicate’s internal Slack channel.

A love letter shared in Survicate’s internal Slack channel.

In a recent chat, William from BPS World mentioned that they are using NPS results not only for external marketing but also for internal marketing.

“When people respond to our NPS surveys, they mention specific people from our company who helped them out. We use it for employee recognition and team celebration.”

What a fantastic way to recognize your teammates for their exceptional work!

Step #13: Find what makes you sell

Customer feedback is a great way to identify what differentiates you from competitors, your strengths.
As you collect more customer feedback and analyze more insights, you will begin to see patterns of where your customers’ happiness comes from and why they value you. Once you discover what makes your customers satisfied, you can use this knowledge to your advantage. A CSAT survey is a great way to measure satisfaction and identify the admired and problem areas.

Free-to-Use CSAT Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

For example, you might observe that many satisfied customers talk about how smooth your application is running, how great and helpful our support team is, or how your products are a great value for money.

These insights show the qualities you need to protect and benefit your business. Thanks to these qualities, your customers become your brand advocates, and you can establish a lifetime bond with them. In this respect, identifying your strengths is as important as tackling your weaknesses. You can only turn your strengths into opportunities if you analyze your strengths correctly.

How to Act on Neutral Customer Feedback?

Neutral feedback usually includes positive and negative feedback at the same time. It is necessary to look at these feedback parts separately with their positive and negative aspects. However, in some cases, neutral feedback can be short and lacking detail.

Remember: Neural feedback is the feedback that can be pulled in a good or bad direction, depending on your attitude towards them. In your next survey, if you try to keep your neutral customers interested and happy, you will find them as promoters. If you ignore them and turn a deaf ear to their insight, you will find them as detractors.

Step #14: Ask questions to discover how to make it better

First of all, you should thank your customers for their feedback. Because 3 stars are way better than 1 star. Even if you deserve 5 stars in your eyes, in your customer’s eyes, they may be treating you well.
Instead of a plain thank you (or apology), you can surprise and delight your customer with a question like:

“What can we do to make your experience better?”

The important thing is to listen to their feedback, make an effort on that feedback, and ultimately, make your customer more satisfied than before.

One of our favorite ways while running an NPS survey is asking our natural customers:

“What can we do to get a 10 on the next survey?”

We believe this encourages our customers to share their insights with us and that we are there to collect those 10s.

Free-to-Use Net Promoter Score Survey Template

Free plan available. 100 free survey responses included every month!

Step #15: Highlight positives and encourage to try your other products

When responding to neutral customers, start your response using the positive aspects of their feedback, even if it contains a very critical comment. This way, you can highlight the positive characteristics of your business the customer commented on in your answer.

Hi {{Name}},
We really appreciate you leaving your feedback and sharing your experience.
We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed/found useful ………………………………… of our product/service.

It is also a good idea to thank your customer for their honesty in your response and leave an email or phone number for them to contact you directly.

You can additionally encourage your customers to try the options you suggest for a more positive experience. Your neutral customers may not be aware of some features of your company or product. To show what your product or service can do, you can send your customers educational documents or case studies about your product’s impact. While these efforts may not convert all neutral customers to a promoter, they will undoubtedly work for some.

Final Thoughts

Collecting customer feedback has to be an integral part of your business process. Getting negative and positive and even neutral feedback is equally important. Fortunately, Survicate is here to help you generate feedback. But customer feedback is only operable if you use the input to take action and close the customer feedback loop. Our steps will help you close the loop to make customer feedback an invaluable tool to boost customer retention and support.

Ultimately, it’s worth mentioning that you can’t act on every customer feedback. Some customer feedback you receive will be simply unconstructive, and you can’t do anything with it. So don’t beat yourself up thinking over this feedback. Thank and apologize to your customer, correct them if they are wrong (with full-on professionalism), and move on. Actionable customer feedback is when you can use customer insights to add value to your product or service, grow your business, and make your customers happy.


Eylul Beyazıt

Customer Success Specialist at Survicate. I'm passionate about guiding our users to make the most out of their customer feedback.

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