Understanding Patient Feedback: A guide for Healthcare Professionals

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Healthcare providers often learn how they’re doing directly from their patients in person.

Body language, facial expressions, and even verbal communication give doctors a (generally) good idea of how their patients are doing and how they view the care they’re receiving.

But… how can physicians know what their patients are really thinking?

And how can doctors use that information to better their skills and their practice’s performance? Understanding online patient feedback can help.

What Are Patient Feedback Websites?

Like other online review sites, there are several healthcare provider review sites. They generally include a database of practitioners. Users can look up doctors according to specialty, location, or even insurance coverage. They find new doctors, and review the performance of doctors they already visit.

Ratings usually include a variety of factors. There’s often a star system and an opportunity to rate providers based on certain criteria. Many of these sites also offer an open comments field for a more formal review.

Ratings include a variety of factors. There’s often a star system and an opportunity to rate providers based on certain criteria. Many sites also offer an open comments field for a more formal review.

Doctors can sign up on these sites too, and “own” their page. They can also provide expanded information about their practice, healthcare philosophy, credentials, and more.

Use Criteria for Self-Evaluation

The measure of a medical practice is more than numbers. Sure, benchmarks like patient panels and overhead figures are useful. But patient feedback provides a different kind of benchmark though – and while subjective, is still quite valuable.

Physicians can use healthcare reviews written by patients as a framework for self-evaluation. There are aspects of care that may not be readily apparent to practitioners simply because they’re too close – they can’t see the forest for the trees, as they say.

Patients surely have opinions about office staff, scheduling, and more.

Reviewing healthcare review feedback from your patients provides a “big picture” look at your practice and how it really runs.

Specific areas in which doctors can critique their performance include the skill with which they effectively explain diagnoses and treatment options, how much time they spend with patients, and how well they listen to patient concerns. Peripheral performance metrics include things like friendliness of staff, ease of scheduling for regular and urgent care visits, and the physical upkeep of patient waiting rooms.

Patients surely have opinions about office staff, scheduling, and more. Reviewing healthcare review feedback from your patients provides a big picture look at your practice and how it really runs. Areas in which doctors can “review” their performance include the skill with which they effectively explain diagnoses and treatment options, how much time they spend with patients, and how well they listen to patient concerns. Peripheral performance metrics include things like

Peripheral performance metrics include things like friendliness of staff, ease of scheduling for regular and urgent care visits, and the physical upkeep of patient waiting rooms.

Assess Criteria

The next step in understanding patient feedback is to examine it critically. Physicians can use feedback like this as a stepping stone to look at office policies and procedures. Let’s say a new patient leaves feedback reporting that a nurse refused to renew existing prescriptions, insisting that the patient try meds that she’s said have been proven ineffective in her case. Here’s a chance to examine office procedures and how they’re explained to patients. It may not be necessary – or even desirable – to change processes and procedures; however, the way in which things are explained to patients can be improved.

Other areas that can be “easily” improved are staff’s customer service skills, better scheduling software, or a fresh coat of paint in the waiting room. The point is to figure out what to spend your time on, and how to prioritize.

There are something that are within a physician’s power to change, and naturally, some that aren’t.

For example, it’s generally accepted that many practices offer their patients visits with physician assistants or nurses to supplement the number of available patient care hours available. But for some folks, not seeing a “real” doctor will never be okay. In these instances, there’s probably little any doctor can do to assuage the feelings of the patient (although it’s always worth it to try and make patients feel as welcome and well-informed as possible).

Make Healthcare Review Sites Work for You

Healthcare review websites typically offer a physician portal where doctors can “claim” their page or listing. Much of the listed information comes from public sources and is limited to what one would find in a directory.

Examples include location, area of medical practice, and insurances accepted. The physician portal allows doctors to update details and provide additional information, such as board certifications, conditions treated, education, awards and recognition, and languages spoken.

Giving prospective and current patients accurate and up to date information empowers them. Prospective patients can better select the right doctor for their needs the first time, and current patients feel validated in their selection of a particular doctor. Also, this expanded profile can sway prospective patients who are browsing for a new provider.

A more complete profile may increase the chances of a particular doctor being chosen over another, equally qualified doctor who’s profile is sparse.

Perhaps most important, physicians also have the opportunity to craft a personal statement and biography to add to their listing. This is a good way for a healthcare provider to present his or her approach to care. It can also be used effectively to address negative reviews. Let’s say that patient scheduling is an issue that comes up again and again in patient reviews.

A doctor can include in her statement something about, “a new, state-of-the-art patient scheduling system that was introduced in 2017.” It’s a way to minimize the impact of a negative review without starting a flame war or being accused of retaliation.

Using Patient Feedback as an Effective Tool

Healthcare review sites can be a powerful resource for doctors to get an outside perspective of their work and the performance of their office. The broad scope of criteria by which doctors are evaluated provides a strong framework for self-evaluation.

Assessing criteria and related responses carefully helps physicians decide what parts of their skill set or practice may need to be reconsidered or revised. And updating and maintaining a well-crafted profile on these healthcare review sites can help maintain a good reputation and mitigate the impact of any negative patient reviews.

Voice of the Customer: The Beginner’s Guide

What does the Voice of the Customer really mean?

Voice of the Customer is a business and technology term used to describe a process that is designed to capture customer’s expectations, preferences, experiences, and feedback.

Often applied as a market research technique by companies looking to achieve a better and more complete understanding of the customer, VoC can also help your business successfully measure and understand the experiences that you deliver to customers.

Understanding the Voice of the Customer

Put simply, the voice of the customer is a term used to describe your customers’ feedback, which includes their experiences and interactions with your product or service, their expectations, their sentiment and opinion, etc.

As a business, your job is to capture and understand the Voice of the Customer in ways that foster improvement and promote a better understanding of your customers’ desires, wants, needs, and expectations.

In short, the Voice of the Customer should guide and shape the direction of your business strategy.

When you fail to use or harness VoC, you will continue to miss the mark, forcing your customers to seek out other providers whose product or service is better aligned with their spoken (and unspoken) expectations.

Why does the Voice of the Customer even matter? Should you really be listening?

Listening to customers is essential to your growth as a company. After all, knowing your desired customers and fulfilling their quality needs is the key element to a successful business.  

With the voice of the customer as a tool, you can connect and reach customers with your products and services and more effectively meet their needs.  It allows you to maximize profits and identify new ways to improve profits, while also improving customer retention and driving customer loyalty.

Customers want to be heard and it is time for companies to start listening.

How to build a Voice of the Customer program

To listen actively to customers, you need to build an effective Voice of the Customer program.

There are multiple ways to gather Voice of the Customer data. These include customer feedback surveys, ethnographic research, focus group discussions, field reports, individual interviews, and text analytics and sentiment analysis methods, among others.

Keep in mind: it is best if you have an ongoing flow of information rather than have only an occasional way of gathering VoC data (i.e. polling or surveying). Don’t limit your Voice of the Customer efforts to once or twice a year.

Also: survey fatigue is a real thing.  How much time do you really want to spend filling out a lengthy questionnaire in your free time? Well, your customers don’t want to do that, either.

That’s why you should explore all other possible ways of capturing customer feedback and VoC. Be as comprehensive as possible. Some programs offer only customer feedback surveys, while others just focus on social media and online reviews. The best Voice of the Customer program should help you capture and connect multiple kinds of customer feedback and VoC data across multiple touchpoints and channels.

Evaluate your Voice of the Customer data after collecting it. You can’t just gather all this information and let it drop. You can’t ignore negative customer feedback and do nothing except hope for the best next time around. There needs to be a system in place for gathering the VoC data, analyzing it, and acting on the insights that you gain from the data. 

Knowing what your customer now thinks, you can work on creating higher-quality products, more responsive service, and better customer experiences.

The Voice of the Customer can also help you find out what is working well, as well as what isn’t. Being able to identify and isolate this information can change the kind of customer feedback that you may receive down the road.

Don’t facilitate corporate deafness by depending solely on the “great ideas” of the executives in your organization. Even the most experienced of leaders need to understand what it is that drives engagement and keeps your customers coming back time after time.

With a VoC program, you can: 

  • Fine-tune your products, services, and offering in ways that address the voiced needs and wants of your customers
  • Solicit customer feedback to evaluate new ways of gaining a competitive advantage
  • More effectively drive customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Measure, analyze, and improve customer experience
  • Identify, resolve, and respond to high-impact customer issues, trends, and developments
  • Generate advanced marketing insights and opportunities

Communicating with your customers

Are you communicating clearly back to your customers?  Do they understand your message?  Product flaws and discrepancies are one thing, but customer service that does not actually serve the customer could be disastrous.

After you have taken away insights from your Voice of the Customer data, you need to close the loop and reach back out to customers in ways that they can understand.

Make sure you’re delivering on what you promised, and that you are promising what you are able to deliver.  

Refer to Voice of the Customer data in order to truly understand customer needs and create a plan for this communication. It is back to that old give and take: you know them so that you may serve them.  

To retain the customers you want, you must identify and communicate clearly.  Use positive feedback with the customers yourself.  Don’t use negative language or competition bashing. You want their experience with your company to be pleasant.

A customer’s voice is no  longer a single voice in the crowd. It has power. It is up to your company to follow up and make that voice matter. Take the time to measure your customers’ preferences and aversions and engage your product development and customer provision teams to ensure that every move they make goes toward delivering products and experiences that exceed the needs of your customers. 

Customer Engagement In Today’s Media-Driven World: A Guide

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is used to describe the effect, reaction, connection, response, or experience of customers with one another or with a company or a brand.

In today’s customer-driven world, customer engagement has increasingly become an initiative led not by the business or company, but rather by the customers themselves. They have a voice, and more platforms than ever to make that voice heard. This means that the customer is responsible for initiating engagement: be it by researching online, visiting and tagging brand profiles on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, downloading a mobile app, submitting feedback via a Contact form on a website page, or browsing online reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor.

If your company does not have the infrastructure to manage customer feedback and driving customer engagement, it can be difficult to achieve competitive differentiation. You may also miss out on opportunities to inspire loyalty among happy customers, or minimize the negative impact of feedback from (and engagement by) your harshest critics. Simply put: understanding and driving customer engagement is essential to today’s way of doing business.

Engagement Means Commitment

Today’s information-driven world moves extremely fast. With so much data and content available, people looking to make a purchase decision can jump from one device to another and shift from one channel to another.

This means that you must make a commitment to engaging with customers on all relevant devices, platforms, and channels. It is not enough, for example, to have a brand website. You must also have presence on social media, online yellow pages and business directories, review sites and platforms, and even mobile apps and services.

You must also make a commitment to listen and respond to the voice of the customer, whenever and wherever their conversations are taking place. Be active on social media. Reply to @ mentions on Twitter and tagged posts on Facebook. Answer e-mails, questions, and phone calls readily. Monitor and respond to reviews. By staying on top of what customers are saying online about your company, you can improve the interactions that customers have with your business and make every type of engagement more meaningful. You’ll also be in a better position to inspire customer loyalty, reduce churn, and make a positive impact on your bottom line. 

Not so long ago, having the highest-quality product or the cheapest price or the greatest promotions or the best bang for the buck was the key to success. Today’s customers expect more. They want real connections with brands. They aren’t satisfied with freebies. They want to know your company’s mission, as well as the efforts and activities you’re doing to improve the local community. They continue to want to believe in their purchase decisions (“Is this worth it?”) but now they also want to believe in your company. It is only by making a commitment to meet and respond to these expectations that you can truly improve customer engagement.

Positive Customer Engagement

I recently bought some fancy face cream online. A close friend had told me about it and she wouldn’t stop praising the company, so I felt compelled to check it out for myself. I Googled the brand, visited their website, and purchased the cream without even having second thoughts.

The product was delivered quickly, which made me happy. I unboxed the thing and began using it immediately. A week later, I received an e-mail from the company, with a message that surprisingly was not too formal or stiffly written. The e-mail was a simple Thank You note, complete with a question that asked if I was happy with the cream, and would I be willing to give a review? It was all very straightforward and it took me one click to leave a 5-star review. 

Passive Customer Engagement

Customer engagement isn’t always positive, though. There are times when, no matter how many interactions they have had with your brand, people have no real feelings or feel no real connection; they are passive and disengaged. 

These “meh” customers are the kind that’s easily swayed by other companies: your competitors. If given enough reason, these customers will take their money elsewhere. So you must develop a strategy around improving your engagement with these customers. By doing so, you can turn them into brand enthusiasts and loyal promoters who will not hesitate to recommend your business to their friends and family.

Negative Customer Engagement

Negative customer engagement can be dangerous to your brand. This is when the effect, reaction, connection, response, or experience of your unhappy customers begins to drive others way. It can take on the form a negative online reviews or critical customer feedback; it can even manifest as a nasty blog post about your company or some scathing comment posted on social media.

Negative customer engagement can damage your brand reputation, discourage potential new customers from engaging with you, and ultimately cause your business to fail.

What to do? Hug your haters. Let them know that you care about their feedback, that you are listening closely to their thoughts and opinions, and that you are going to work hard to deliver a better experience next time. And be sure to fix whatever issues caused the engagement to be negative in the first place.

Customer Engagement’s Impact on the Bottom Line

A successful engagement strategy involves managing the experiences and interactions that customers have with your business, and doing so in ways that put their needs, wants, and expectations above all else. It also involves connecting with customers in ways that solidify their belief in your company.

Done right, customer engagement creates a lasting impact on your bottom line. Improving engagement is also the surest path to building loyalty, increasing profits, and building a winning brand reputation. 

Customer Experience Management Software in Today’s Crazy World

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My Friday Night Adventure

My wife and were recently shopping for a new television. Our old TV had started to emit an annoying buzz and would occasionally shut off on its own accord. She said she was tired of adjusting the volume to match the high-pitch squeal. At least that was the aggravated response she gave me when I asked why we were purchasing a new TV. Even though I wasn’t at all bothered by our TV situation, it was up to me to find a new model. Yes, I admit, it was a Friday night and I was excitedly shopping for home appliances. Since I work in marketing technology, I was tasked with comparing the products and stores on my phone as we shopped: the customer experience in the 21st century.

As I bounced around from Yelp, then my local Sears store, to my local Best Buy, then to Google Maps, to Target, I found myself lost in a loop of customer feedback.

The bad kind of customer feedback loop.

I knew I wanted to go to a store and pick one out. When buying a television, it’s important to see the display in person. You must find a floor model. Even if you plan on mounting your television, you must first put your nose a few inches from the screen and be sure that the picture quality is top notch.

I had become the reviews; lost in a feedback rabbit hole.

These other customers had shared their experience. And I was lost in it.

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Importance of Customer Experience  // Image via raconteur.net

These reviews were from a single television, at one store. Just one store of hundreds that sell something.

This one experience had invoked a variety of emotion in customers near and far.  And let me tell you, these customers were serious about their reviews. No one was mincing words.

I would even go so far to say that they were passionate about their responses. Their chosen television had changed their lives, one way or the other.

I flipped from review website to review website, not really grasping my desire. It was all too much. I wanted a quantifiable number, not just other people’s experience in paragraph form. Although I admit again, I was swayed by people I didn’t even know.

I took all reviews seriously. I also noted some of the companies (remember I was shopping all over the place and had a million tabs up) actually responded to the reviewssome of them took the time to fix the problem, follow up or even acknowledge the customer. Those were the locations I decided focused on: the customer service oriented ones.

I also filter to four-star ratings and up. Three-stars aren’t worth my time and energy.

I liked a quick, simple rating, I didn’t want to find myself falling down the rabbit hole again. It was too easy to do.

Have you ever gotten lost on Wikipedia?

Changing my criteria and using these new measurements, I narrowed the search down rapidly. I called my wife in to share what I learned and we made our decision. It took a half hour in total. I had a moment of lucidity, a sudden realization that by reading the reviews, we were tapping into a collective emotional review input from a large swath of others feedback. I found this quote later and was relieved to see that I wasn’t alone in my reliance on others’ feedback.

“58% of Americans perform online research about the products and services that they are considering purchasing.”¹

Customer Experience Management

This experience had me thinking about the changes in today’s shopping experience and how quickly we have changed the way business is done.

Businesses should no longer expect a customer to begin the “investigation phase” in the store. The online research phase is the first stop for many customers these days. They want to know what others thought of the experience too.

Customer experience management is now a requirement for businesses in this crazy world.

It makes sense. Marketing has changed and businesses are no longer able to control the message. The message belongs to the customer.

We have moved from the age of information to the age of the customer. The new customer service means involvement at different departmental levels. It is not about the best price, sale season, or politeness. Long gone are the days of waiting for black Friday or holiday sales only. Customers are responding emotionally and want a connection to what they are purchasing. They are interacting with the company as a brand now. They want to be your friend.

Customer experience is the relationship a company is creating with their customers.

It includes this internet research for quality, pricing, engagement of employees, and policies of the company. It is an accumulation of everything happening in your business before and after the transaction takes place.

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And all of these new elements of the customer experience can set you, and your business, apart from all the other businesses. It can create loyal customers and keep them coming back.

My television purchase is the perfect example.  While I researched many stores and products, I ended up going back to the one that took care of a problem when we bought a new wireless router a few years ago. The response and timely manner in which they dealt with me made an impression. 

They created a loyal customer with me. Ultimately, the store I selected had a higher cost. It was $15.00 more than its competitor. However, I knew they would take care of my needs again if a problem arose. It was worth the $15 for the assurance.

Companies must manage the customer’s experience. By this, I mean developing a relationship. This new customer relationship is developed by the contribution of not only the values of your company but by the values of the customer. The business concept of service management must include interacting with customers from various perspectives.

Today, this experience management is how a company takes control of the experience of customers.

This control means all areas of service from the customer needs, the supplier quality, the service provided to the individual and even how a business follows through with that service. Expectations must be established and then met. 

Software to Monitor and Measure

Your management software should make your business life easier. Knowing you now must control all aspects of your customer experience, you have to implement the necessary software tools to measure the success of these experience-oriented efforts.

Remember, happy customers do a lot of work for you by promoting their happiness and returning to purchase again. Others are reading the happy reviews and taking that into account. In essence, these happy customers are marketing your products for you. And don’t forget that these happy customers will remember how they are treated.

You want management software that is convenient and allows you to use the results and information you receive from these now loyal customers.  The end game is profit for most companies.  Profits are the the result of follow through on your customer tracking and production.  

“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.”

– Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business”

Understanding the voice of your customer allows you to utilize the feedback appropriately. When you have well designed software, you can analyze and empower your employees for the change when needed.

A software that manages the reviews will save invaluable time in this process. You can then implement departmental changes and improve your store, company, product, and online reputation. This type of power gives you the space to increase profits in a manageable way with your customer service first and foremost the leader.  

It is vital to monitor your company’s performance. Good management is all about matching your company with the beneficial software and using it effectively. To be a market leader in today’s economy, this software is what will make a difference. If the customer experience is important, this is the first improvement your company might need; investment in valuable software that allows you to understand your customer’s voice and will provide consistency for you. This single system means simple reliable information, a cost saving in the long run.

To build customer loyalty and manage your company reputation you must listen to the feedback and reviews. You must capture it and be able to manage the information coming in to you. Understand your customer’s voice, yes, but also follow through on this feedback. Give the customer the experience that allows them to believe in your company. Share the information with your employees quickly and in a way that allows them to disseminate and process appropriately. When you have negative responses, don’t let them hurt your company’s growth. That negative customer voice is being heard and future customers will move on to another company if they don’t feel there was company involvement. You must Improve upon that negative experience. Follow up even when you feel it won’t help. Use this negative response to address any issues that might be overlooked in your company.

Opportunity is available

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. -Source: Touch Agency

Use the software opportunities given to you. Your customer voice is invaluable to your profits and long term viability. If 70% of all purchases today are based on emotions, then use that emotion.

Follow up with your customers.

Make a real connection.

Use software to understand where people are coming from and make the changes needed. Customer experience management software is designed to help you succeed and today’s crazy climate demands it.


¹Jim Jansen, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 2010

Customer Experience Management is Essential to Your Business

I want to connect to a company and understand their beliefs.

They sent me a new one! This company really rocks.

Company policies matter to me. Are they paying their employees? I’ve heard bad things.

I want them to fix my shoe issue and do it right.

I STILL haven’t heard back from company A. I am so frustrated!

These are customer comments I found this morning on various retail shopping sites. I read them in my search for a new winter coat. I did wonder, when the reviewers only had positive things to say, if some of them were real people, as opposed to paid employees. Ultimately it didn’t matter. There are enough clothing companies out there, so I kept shopping until I found reviews on the few coats that I liked and felt right.

Yes, I said felt.

Managing the Customer Experience

Customer experience today has a lot to do with feelings and emotions. It’s not just about the product, or pricing, or place, or promotions.

For businesses, this means managing people’s experience and dealing with massive amounts of customer feedback about your company, products, and services.

With feedback coming from everywhere online (online reviews, social media comments, customer feedback surveys, among others), businesses can more easily and instantly gain access to “Voice of the Customer” data and use this to measure and optimize the overall customer experience. Through customer experience management, you can spur innovation in all key touchpoints where customers have interactions with your company.   

When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.

– Kristin Smaby, Being Human is Good Business

Listening to the Voice of the Customer

You must first listen to the voice of the customer in order to more accurately understand and measure the customer experience.

How do customers feel about your company? What do they really think about your products and services? And what do they think you should do in order to do better next time?

Answering these questions is no longer just an option in today’s customer-empowered world. To succeed in driving loyalty, you must understand customers better, map and analyze their interactions with your business, and determine their feelings, mood, sentiment, and opinion about your brand.

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You can do this by collecting, managing, and analyzing customer feedback. And, thanks to the Internet, feedback today happens to be ubiquitous. Long gone are the days when you filled out customer cards and used those to share suggestions for a business’ improvement. Today’s customers share blog posts, write online reviews and ratings, and generate unprompted conversations on all kinds of sites and apps. 

The most successful, customer-centric businesses use these sites and apps and feedback channels as tools for learning more about their customers, connecting with them, and responding to their needs. Through customer experience management, businesses are also able to better understand how they are performing, and they use Voice of the Customer data in order to share insights to various departments and foster operational and service improvements where needed.

I contacted your company with no response. Why? You didn’t send the correct color jacket. I wanted a green one not blue. I am not happy with this green jacket.

If you have a program in place to deal with unhappy customers, listen to feedback, acknowledge and apologize for customer service mistakes, and make improvements based on Voice of the Customer data, you can turn negative reviews around and strengthen your brand reputation in ways that make a positive impact on your bottom line. By listening to feedback and managing the customer experience, you can also turn your harshest critics into loyal customers, or at least customers that are no longer dissatisfied.

Ignoring feedback and not paying to the customer experience, meanwhile, can damage your company’s reputation and drive future customers away. Surfing the internet, those who come across a review like the one above will think, I don’t want them to send me the wrong color. I might as well look elsewhere. 

While this might seem like obvious advice, it is the follow-through that matters. Don’t just listen to feedback or collect data; act on the insights you gain and work quickly to resolve issues and trends with the customer experience.

Several studies demonstrate that churn is due to poor service. For example, a Pitney Bowes survey of American and European businesses finds that slow customer service is the most common reason for changing a supplier (51 percent of respondents), followed by late delivery of a service (37 percent), and lack of concern for customer needs (30 percent). Studies of the U.K. utilities market reveal that market share of incumbent suppliers is influenced more by service performance than by price position relative to competitors.

– A.T. Kearny, How to Create an Entirely Different(iated) Customer Experience

Enterprise Feedback Management 

Today, the Customer Knows Best

Technology has changed the way we do business. This has happened quickly, especially in the past ten years. With the change, we have seen that customer habits have changed as well. Gone are the days where the company dictates the customers’ needs. Today, the customer knows best.

You must respond to the customer’s challenge and deliver. Luckily, there are online review and customer feedback management software companies able to implement solutions for measuring and optimizing the customer experience.

A 2011 American Express Survey found that 7 in 10 Americans are willing to spend more with companies that they believe provide excellent customer service.

Without listening to feedback and managing the customer experience, however, you cannot provide excellent service. It is only when you understand how customers think and feel that you can truly address their wants, needs, and expectations.

Developing meaningful (and profitable) customer relationships

Long-term commitment to your customers is not something the marketplace has spent time focusing on in the past. Many companies used to want profits and sales and customers quickly, without attempting to develop relationships and foster customer loyalty.

However, with a little time investment and the right tools put into place, you can begin to turn that outlook around. Developing meaningful trust-based relationships with customers allows them to become long-term loyal advocates who have an emotional bond with your company or brand, and who share the same values as you. Loyal customers will stay true to you and even bring fellow consumers with them if they feel that bond.

Through customer experience management, you can more effectively inspire loyalty and create an emotional bond with existing customers. 

Customer Experience Management is Essential

Although it might seem like a huge undertaking, managing the customer experience is a worthwhile strategic venture. Your profits and shareholders will thank you. So will your customers, whom you’ll be in a great position to retain and grow with, maybe even for their lifetime.

Beginners Guide to Net Promoter Score and System

How likely are you to recommend me to your friends on a scale of 0 to 10? 

On the internet, everyone eventually comes across online customer reviews. Some reviews are slanderous while others are posted seemingly by obnoxious cheerleaders touting a company’s products.  

Most of us, regardless of what we truly tell others, read the comments and base our opinions on those reviews.  Despite our lack of relationship to those people giving the feedback, there’s always a part of us that heeds warnings or gets excited based on another’s perception of a company, product, or service.

Wow, this customer LOVES her new boots. They are cute. I want them, too!  

or

Boo.  Those people are terrible, they don’t take care of anyone! I can’t believe they did that.

Which brings me to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology.

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What is the Net Promoter Score and System?

What is Net Promoter Score? How can it help my company?  Does it even matter what some random person thinks of my business?

It all comes down to customer experience and how your company strategizes around delivering it. 

The Net Promoter Score and System is a management tool that is used to determine the loyalty of a company’s relationships with their customers.

It’s a great way to determine which of your customers are willing to stand for your product, as well as to more easily and accurately measure the customer experience.

The function of NPS is to calculate a score and generate quantitative insights needed to better your business. Positive customer feedback and a high Net Promoter Score equals happy customers and higher profits. The bottom line? The NPS is a great indicator of business success.

The Net Promoter Score and System was created years ago by, and a registered trademark of, Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix. The concept is fairly simple. You need reliable feedback from your base customers to keep their business. Therefore, you request feedback from them so your company can then make decisions based on customer needs or satisfaction levels. You then establish a questionnaire that creates beneficial responses so you can develop long-term relationships and loyalty with your customers.  

HOW LIKELY?

On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend our product to your friends?

This simple question is how you measure your Net Promoter Score.  This question is the beginning of the feedback loop.  This simple question creates a score for your company to then better your business, to then open up questions to the customers.

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The Net Promoter System uses a 0 to 10 scoring scale. The breakdown is as follows.

Promoters

Those respondents who give you a score of 9 to 10 are customers called Promoters. They are the loyal customers. Their responses alone generate referrals for new customers. These are the customers whom others will read online and feel inspired by. 

I must buy this exciting new product, too!  Look how happy these people are, and they love the amazing customer service that they are getting. I must try this company! I’m in! 

Promoters remain loyal and generate new business for your company in the long run by sharing positive feedback and recommendations to others. They can potentially do the advertising work for you. These are the people we want to follow up with to learn more about their experience with the company and continue doing the work well.

Passives

Those who give you a score of 7 to 8 are labeled Passives. Passives are exactly as they sound. They are the middle-ground customers. They weren’t unhappy with their experience or product but are not completely committed forever. They are the customers who got what they wanted but could easily walk away if another company came along with something that was a little more sparkly and shiny.

Detractors

Customers who give you a score of 0 to 6 are Detractors. These are the unhappy folks. They generate negative feedback and are not likely to come back. Their reviews reflect badly on your business reputation and can discourage anyone from using your products or services. 

Negative feedback from the Detractors should be used as a resource. Why? Because it gives you an opportunity to improve your business. Instead of letting the negative slide by, analyze the kind of feedback you’re getting from Detractors and implement needed changes to deliver better customer experiences.

Calculating the Net Promoter Score

To calculate your Net Promoter Score, take the percentage of Promoters minus the percentage of Detractors. Passives count towards the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of Detractors and Promoters and pushing the net score towards 0

Promoters: 40%  

Detractors: 16%  

Net Promoter Score: 24

With your score now generated, the company can then turn around and generate more free-form customer feedback using open-ended questions to determine the next steps.

By isolating individual aspects of the customer experience, like customer service, product, packaging, purchase process, etc., you can more easily identify areas that need improvement.

Acting on insights you gain from the NPS methodology helps activate your Promoters as well as recover Detractors.

Loyalty

Retaining customers and creating lifetime loyalty is one of the most important goals of every business. Loyalty brings repeat business and future earnings while minimizing the cost of customer acquisition.

By using NPS to drive loyalty, you can create relationships with repeat customers who are willing to recommend your business to their friends. You can also direct your attention to Detractor-related issues that need to be resolved immediately. Addressing your respondents’ feedback and concerns can put your company at the top. You can become an industry leader with a community of loyal customers and Promoters. Those Promoters then generate new customers themselves.

Connecting with customers through the Net Promoter Score and System can help you make great decisions for your company as well as improve customer experiences. By knowing your score, you can gain a better understanding of where your current customers stand, as well as create changes as needed. The NPS is a reliable metric that can enable you to be the best at what you do. 

Social Customer Experience Management

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If you were born after 1994, you don’t need to Googlesocial experience management.”

You are probably managing your own social experience as you read this article. But you might not know that you are already doing it.  

You are a digital native and are already “a-twitter” with words, you already understand the need for an Internet profile, and you already have an online reputation. You have grown up in a world where this is the norm.

To you, companies always do their business online, reviews and social media comments are readily available, and everything has always been instant.  

Of course, you have seen the movies, you know about the old days when people would shop in stores, look extensively for products, and search in person for sales, or even (gasp!) look in the newspaper.

What is Social Customer Experience Management?

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Business culture has changed rapidly in the last 10 to 15 years. This you already know. However, do you know that companies now need to be increasingly aware of their brand presence, as well as how the voice of the customer affects their business reputation?  

Social customer experience management is the practice of handling and improving a business customer’s involvement; by combining various techniques and company resources, companies can use tools to improve customer satisfaction and build brand reputation.

Social media has changed the way business is done today, regardless of how long your company has been in business or what level of concern you have about the online profiles, pages, and listings of your brand. You must pay attention or you lose.

Review sites, blogs, social media streams, and even your own website are all places where customers are sharing their buying experiences and candid opinions. You can no longer control or hide or censor customer feedback, because customer feedback can be found everywhere.

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is talking online about what they are doing, where they are shopping, eating, going, and they are all open about their customer experiences. And the social-media-driven world of today is not going away, regardless of what the zombie apocalypse people say.

The rise of online review sites

The rise of the online review website (think Yelp and TripAdvisor) is one of the key developments. No longer are you on top of the mountain, blasting your marketing message down to the masses through your megaphone. All of a sudden, the masses are conversing with one another. If your service or product isn’t any good, they’ll out you.

Managing the social customer experience

This is why you need to become an expert in managing the social customer experience.  Potential customers are reading these reviews and making their decisions based on what previous customers have said.

You will know quickly when Mary didn’t like her special sauce or if Mark loved your friendly customer service. Everybody’s now a critic. These constantly streamed reviews have a direct effect on your future profits.

Positive feedback from satisfied customers inspire loyalty and can bring in new potential customers. Negative reviews, low ratings, and bad customer feedback, however, can mean loss of customers, directly affecting your bottom line.

Regardless of the sentiment or rating of the review, positive or negative, all of the information must be acknowledged and managed by your company in some way.

Customer feedback provides an opportunity for you to connect with potential and existing customers and improve upon your reputation. Feedback data can also help you understand where you customers are coming from, what their needs are, and even how your competitors are doing with their own products.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by online reviews, social media comments, and other forms of customer feedback, companies should embrace and use this valuable information.

Embracing Feedback for Social Customer Experience Management

Managers and department heads can use reviews, comments, and feedback to increase productivity in each specific area needed.  

Constant customer feedback activity provides information on these areas in ways that foster further development or improvement.

Customers today are frank about their experiences. And they educate themselves before they even shop, use, or purchase. They know what they want from your company and are willing to articulate it.

You need to listen. Business owners can stay ahead and compete by listening to the voice of the customer and making adjustments based on what their needs and expectations are. By monitoring all the chatter about your business, you can also prevent future problems from occurring. If you are savvy, you can even use this social buzz to respond to and address your customers directly, to turn customers into loyal customers or minimize the potential impact of any negative reviews.

Who are these vocal customers?

Do you truly know your targeted customer?

It is essential to be informed about your customers, the ones who are purchasing your services. You must know what their attitudes towards your company are and how they perceive your products and services. Knowing your customer helps with outcomes now and in the future.

The Voice of the Customer is a term that describes valuable data that companies can collect from customer feedback, from online review sites, social media, customer surveys, and other channels and platforms. Capturing and interpreting this voice is critical.

Positive and negative feedback

Positive reviews can be harnessed to help market your company online for you, and reach out to potential customer or clients. Whenever you receive good feedback, take the time to listen, respond, and follow through, in order to stir these satisfied vocal customers into recommending your products and services to friends and family.

Negative feedback, meanwhile, must be looked upon as an opportunity instead of a burden. Yes, low ratings and bad reviews can drag your sales down and discouraging future customers. Which is exactly why you should address this type of feedback. Identify and resolve customer experience issues that may have caused the negative perception and make adjustments in order to improve. At all times, you must stay competitive: follow up, follow up, follow up!

Let the customers see you

“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.”

How are you dealing with your customer communication right now?  Have you ever evaluated it? Do your customers understand your company’s culture?  Do your company beliefs match your actions?

This is what customers want in today’s world. They want to be connected to you and your product or service. They want to feel that your company understands their needs. To keep customers loyal, listen to them closely and continue to engage with them. Customers want to be encouraged. They want their entire experience with you to be satisfying.

Employees can benefit, too

Keeping employees motivated can sometimes be a challenge. By capturing the voice of the customer and managing the social customer experience, you can impact employee morale and productivity, too.

Positive feedback helps employees know that they’re doing a great job, that customers highly appreciate the work that they do every single day. On the other hand, negative feedback can identify management issues you may have otherwise missed. It also provides space for a team to challenge themselves and listen more intently to the wants, needs, and expectations of the customers. One team working together improves morale and helps retain employees for the long haul; individuals who are engaged and thriving are even less likely to leave

Conclusion

Social media and customer experience management doesn’t have to be expensive or inconvenient. You don’t have to create an entire army of employees to oversee your company’s entire customer feedback landscape. The tools that are already developed can easily be integrated into any existing company, and leveraging feedback to help your business improve can simply be a matter of using software that directs all information into a single place. No matter what you use or how you craft your program, social customer experience management can make a positive and sustainable impact on your bottom line.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys… and Why You Should Care

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I recently bought new car insurance.

It wasn’t a purchase I expected to make, since I had planned to go without a car for a year. The no-car situation was an experiment to see if I could live in my southern city without one. I would take the bus when necessary, but mainly I would use the bicycle that had been sitting unused in my garage for years.

Then I had an accident.

I’m fine, but my bike didn’t survive.

My insurance agent was efficient. He took my paperwork. I paid. Transaction was done faster than expected.

A week later, my agent e-mailed me a customer satisfaction survey to fill out. With it, there was a short personal note about my new car and a reference to my short-lived biking days. I was touched. This agent remembered me personally (or took great notes) and followed up. Yes, he wanted feedback and a filled-out survey back, but it nevertheless made me feel connected to his agency. He seemed to care about my experience.

So I answered the questionnaire. It took 4 minutes.

Customer satisfaction surveys help companies deliver better experiences

As a business executive myself, I know that the customer survey is beneficial to the agent, who may be on some incentive-based program. But it can also help me in the long run.

Customer satisfaction in today’s climate reflects directly back on the company fulfilling the customers’ needs. This makes surveys, questionnaires, online review platforms, and social media extremely valuable tools for determining whether or not the customer is happy with your service or product.

Feedback collection efforts like customer satisfaction surveys enable companies to connect with customers and gather information and customer data essential to delivering excellent service.

The personal note that came with the agent’s survey was a genius move. I even felt a bit obligated due to my desire to ‘help’ a fellow executive out.

Are customer satisfaction surveys effective for my business?

You might have heard of this before: it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.

You already know that you must maintain customers. This makes customer surveys seem like a no-brainer for keeping customers happy, and it’s obvious that your business should try to satisfy their needs.

And if you don’t satisfy their needs? 78 percent of consumers have bailed on a transaction or reversed an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.

Meanwhile, satisfied customers usually become loyal customers who return to buy more. This loyalty leads to positive feedback and increased chances that they’ll tell their friends about their experiences with you. Loyal customers also leave positive reviews and recommendations online for the whole world to see. And the connection and trust they feel with your company means they will pay your prices without surfing all over for bargain deals.

Laying out the customer survey questionnaire

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A well-designed survey with the right questions can provide your company with insights to the customer experience. Customer feedback will also allow you to see what’s working properly, even where weak links may exist.  

Having a set customer satisfaction survey questionnaire allows you to measure the customer experience more effectively, for specific areas. It can help answer key functions or target specific departments.

After receiving feedback and measuring satisfaction scores, you can then implement needed changes. Fix those areas that aren’t compelling your customers to stay with you. If you don’t have the ability to satisfy your customers’ needs, they will leave and do business with your competition. It’s a consumer-driven economy; there are enough resources out there that customers no longer have to do business with companies they dislike.

In fact, as many as 3 in 5 US consumers would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.

Formalizing a survey, where you get controlled results, is valuable for this reason. You want to measure and track purchases. Direct contact allows space for this feedback, and customer surveys provide quantitative readings in areas needing improvement. This is a fundamental tool for your company, which all your employees and executives can access so that change can occur.

Customer loyalty = financial benefits

Making lasting improvements to your company’s customer service invariably means higher profits. Making strategic changes to improve weak areas and include your customers in this improvement process will increase customer satisfaction, which then drives customer loyalty and retention. This in turn leads to higher scores and a quality reputation that attracts more potential buyers and customers.

From Kristin Smaby’s “Being Human is Good Business”:

In an era when companies see online support as a way to shield themselves from ‘costly’ interactions with their customers, it’s time to consider an entirely different approach: building human-centric customer service through great people and clever technology. So, get to know your customers. Humanize them. Humanize yourself. It’s worth it.

This is exactly how you begin to create your customer survey: by remembering that your customers are regular people, too.

Make it personal by asking specific questions with a purpose. You don’t want to lay out a 6-page questionnaire that will have people hitting the Delete button. People don’t want to waste their time. You want to be concise.

Perhaps you want to find out about their shopping experience, the quality of your goods versus price, if your website is user-friendly, or if you have a customer service issue. Whatever it is: make your questions specific and make them matter. They need to be insightful for you to then develop a business plan and implement change. The Net Promoter Score is useful in this section. It is a way to gauge how likely customers are to recommend your business.

Just like in the case of my insurance agent, I think it’s extremely helpful to add a personal touch to your customer satisfaction survey. And while this kind of personalization isn’t always feasible for most large companies, you can still talk about your company’s mission, or be heartfelt in your message about how their feedback can contribute to something worthwhile.

Here’s an example of a great note attached to a survey:

Dear Mike (Addressing customers by their real names can make a big difference),

Thank you for purchasing with us yesterday. We hope you and your family love your new car.  Our team has worked extensively to make a difference in your driving experience. Like you, we worry about the safety of their families.

In fact, 90% of all our employees drive the same model for its excellent safety ratings. You’ll always be safe in this car! I am hoping you will take a moment to fill out our survey. We would appreciate your feedback. We look forward to seeing you for an oil change next month!

Sincerely,

The Car Company

While this letter may be a bit schmaltzy, it reached Mike on a personal level and addressed his safety concerns. It also let Mike know that employees at The Car Company truly believe in the car and even drive it themselves.

Allow for candid feedback in free-form text

You also want to leave areas in the survey for specific feedback. Allow the customer to comment on their personal experience in free-form text. This gives you specific information on top of a score and it gives the customer a voice. After all, customers like being heard.

Act on insights generated by customer satisfaction surveys

Information and insights generated by your customer satisfaction survey need to be addressed and acted upon. Right now.

This doesn’t stop with the customer service department. Disseminate the information throughout the company. Allow change to happen. Make your company better based on what your customer wants and needs, as well as what they expect to see next time.

A customer satisfaction survey is a valuable tool for gauging your company’s health and profitability. The feedback you collect can empower every department in your organization to achieve a better understanding of the customer experience, and your attention to the voice of the customer is key to driving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Enterprise Feedback Management: Understanding The Need

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Understanding enterprise feedback management is essential in today’s economy.

If your need is to increase company profits and retain customers, and you already have provided a quality product, then managing your customers concerns with a overall system is where you are obligated to focus next.

Today, Enterprise Feedback Management systems are used by diligent businesses in many different sectors such as travel, retail, health industries, financial services (such as brokerage and bank institutions), manufacturing, etc.

The list of businesses now using such a system for collecting data could go on forever as it is not limited to one field.

These industrious companies know that customer demands are paramount with the voice of the customer in today’s market.

A powerful Enterprise Feedback Management system will have a powerful impact across your entire business.

The goal is to direct informed information to the employees all the way to executive leadership.

By tracking the feedback from customers and understanding what their needs are, you can provide a healthy operation.

What is customer feedback and will you buy my dishwasher?  

Your first thought might be:  yea yeah,  customer feedback. I really don’t want to hear people complaining about my amazing product.  This sounds like it isn’t worth my time.  What does it matter in the long run to my company?  People’s comments don’t really matter.  It is too much work anyway!

From your personal life, you know firsthand that it matters.  

If you are online looking for a new dishwasher to buy, you can’t help but scroll down through the reviews to see what other customers thought of your intended dishwasher purchase.  You do a quick online search and see that Sally S.  thought this was the worst dishwasher ever made in the history of dishwashers.  John T. said his new dishwasher exploded spewing water all over his brand new kitchen and Bob Smith said his dishes were never clean.  I am guessing, like me, you are going to continue shopping for another model and company.  Regardless of the lower price, regardless of the amazing sale, this dishwasher is not worth your time or money.  

The customer feedback was effective for you, the consumer.

On the other side of that review is a company hit hard by unhappy customers. Your new model dishwasher isn’t selling so well.  Your profits are plummeting quickly and people aren’t looking at the other older models you have to offer either.  You are tanking in sales in what feels like an overnight change. Your huge warehouse is full of unwanted dishwashers. Stores are sending you the unwanted model back on top of it all. It is a complete disaster. Yes, indeed, the customer feedback was effective.

Customer feedback is how your customer feels about the product, your service, or the company.

It is their personal opinion about their experience with you. As you now know, it can be super effective in changing the trajectory of your profits. With the rapidly multiplying types of media we have available today, this feedback can be found everywhere you look and can be shared way too quickly. It isn’t just on your company website anymore, it is now on social media, store sites, blogs, etc.  

You have grandma posting on Facebook and her granddaughter tweeting.  There are even companies without a product designed only for reviews such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Reviews, etc.   

Comment cards in the store are a thing of the past.  

Instead, I am going to instagram and post a disturbing photo of the dishwasher mess all over my kitchen. I won’t forget to caption my post with your business name on it either.     

I hate my terrible dishwasher from  YOUR COMPANY!

How can you and your company manage all that customer feedback?

So what can you do in this sea of internet chaos? You could spend every minute of every day trolling the internet looking for your name to spot up in random places. You could hire (and pay) a team of employees to maintain all of the comments or you could find another way to handle the onslaught. Ultimately, having a system already in place is a simple solution. A way to condense it all down and have it all in one space ready to pull up at any moment. 

You must Stay on Top of it All

This where the need for Enterprise Feedback Management comes into play. Instead of killing yourself by becoming a blob on the computer or paying a hundred employees for this simple task, you can have the work done for you. Enterprise Feedback Management is a system of software created for companies to collect and use all this valuable information.  This tool is able to hunt and gather for you. The best feedback manager is designed to be used by multiple departments or users in an organization.  You can quickly receive the information on your timeline too.  The information can be gathered when needed (think hourly, monthly). You are also able to get a concrete number evaluating the overall review accumulation.  

This is great…

However, with this new insight into the effectiveness of comments and feedback, you must now stay on task and know what is happening with your reputation and product.  Passive companies are no longer successful companies. Standing by and watching is not an option.

Know thyself, Know thy Customer

Who is your targeted customer? Knowing who you are directing your services towards and their perception of your product helps with outcomes now and in the future. Without knowing the voice of your customer, you are working in the dark. The voice of your customer is a term that describes your customers feedback about their experiences with your products and services. It helps focus on customer needs and expectations.  Thus, again, allowing you to improve your product and or customer service needs. Happy customers mean happy profits.  

Happy profits equate to a prosperous company.

Use that feedback

All companies that are using an Enterprise Feedback Management system are given the opportunity to improve.  These management systems are designed to stimulate large quantities of feedback or responses from your customers. A plan on implementing change with the feedback given is the next step needed. A successful plan will rely heavily on what happens with the customer feedback after collection. Taking time to consider how this customer interaction is dealt with must happen within the company itself.  Your results must be properly analyzed to help you hone in on those needs. This implementation must also happen within reason.  You need to consider your company size. If you want to develop effective change you need to delve out appropriate responses to individual departments. However, if your company is small, this undertaking might include a much simpler plan. You want to consider your customer needs and use the software in the plan to balance those needs required. Once this has been developed, the information is collected, and you now have to capability to analyze the responses with purpose. This follow through is essential. Using the invaluable information is where the change happens.

Even the good ones matter

Yes, yes, the positive reviews must also be analyzed. This great feedback enables you to continue doing your business well. Here you have the opportunity to develop a loyal customer. Following up with the positive reviews creates a relationship with that customer. These positive customers are also leaving those glowing feedbacks on your reviews for the world to see. This positive outcome brings potential customers to you. They advertise their happiness and create more business for your product. And because you followed up with them, they are likely to come back becoming a loyal customer. Loyal customers remember your excellent service and caring.

So, what about all those despondent customers?

The complete view you are able to receive by getting all kinds of different reviews in one systematic method allows you to know your customer. This is the gift of an Enterprise Feedback Management system, you are able to focus on what the unhappy customers are responding to in their disgruntled responses as well. These negative complaints can be your best assets for making your company great. They are an opportunity, not just a drag on resources. Once you receive the negative review, you are able to follow up with that customer and find the critical problem areas.  Sometimes, turning a negative customer into a positive one. People want to feel connected to a business. They want to like the company they are purchasing from and feel that the company actually cares. If you are able to follow up in a manner that is beneficial, it will matter. The negative reviews round out the whole picture.

It is Easy and Helpful

Enterprise Feedback Management gives you the opportunity to listen to your customers. By understanding their needs more effectively, you are able to serve them. You can utilize this tool to make needed improvements and impact your overall profitability.