As a customer insight professional, I regularly write and post videos about strategies and tactics. But I’m also a customer insight advocate and ambassador hoping to remind brands of WHY gathering feedback is so important. Of course, leveraging customer insight to support brand development and guide key decisions are paramount to long-term success. But gathering and applying feedback is about more than how brands can benefit. It’s about how the customers benefit as well.
In its most basic and traditional form, customer feedback has a “give-take-give” order of operations. Customers give feedback so brands can take that feedback and use it to give customers improved products, services, and experiences. Boiling the process down to this level exposes a need for change in the way businesses perceive and conduct customer feedback projects.
Rather than “give-take-give”, I believe we should look at customer feedback as a “give-give-give” process. Changing take to give helps emphasize the mutually beneficial nature of providing feedback opportunities and should inspire brands to deliver surveys that are engaging, relevant, and authentic.
At the end of the day, customers want their voices to be heard and they want to be involved in brand development processes. The common narrative that customer feedback is an inconvenience and requires an incentive or a reward to participate only applies when surveys are irrelevant or when there’s belief their feedback will go unused. When survey topics match the customer’s priorities and when they believe their input will make an actual difference, they are more than happy to participate.
What’s most important to remember, going beyond survey topics and response rates, is that customers deserve to have their voices heard. They deserve have a say in the way we run our businesses. After all, they are the reason we exist. Without their investing in our products, services, and experiences, we become unnecessary and irrelevant.
So, when building a customer insight survey or program, consider how your efforts can benefit the customer beyond the products, services, and experiences you offer. Explore ways to make the time before and during feedback collection engaging, enjoyable, and memorable. Proactively communicate with respondents to share details about the purpose, importance, and impact of their feedback. These efforts will not only yield the data-driven insights needed to achieve business goals, but they will also be expressions of customer appreciation and gratitude.
When brands prioritize customer feedback, everybody wins.