The importance of customer feedback management

EmilyEVC, Avatar

Collecting customer feedback is critical for the long-term success of your business. Top performing companies understand the important role customer feedback plays in business. And yet, so many others choose to ignore it, believing instead that returning customers must be happy customers (or at least paying customers).

At CustomerCount® we know finding out what your customers really think, what their experiences are with your company, and what they’re saying about you can:

  • Increase customer retention;
  • Improve customer loyalty;
  • Tackle negative sentiment;
  • Help you develop better products and services; and
  • Improve and measure customer satisfaction levels

Business today can only stay ahead of the competition by asking the opinions and views of their clients, listening to feedback (both prompted and unprompted) and then acting on what they’re told. Putting your clients and their feedback at the heart of your business and across all departments is key to business success today.

feedback management system
Customer Feedback Management is crucial for customer satisfaction

Of course, customers can still use your product or service and be unhappy about it. They come back to your resort year after year, use a certain exchange service or fly with a particular airline. But how many do so grudgingly, complaining on sites like TripAdvisor, social media and review sites? How much damage is that doing to your brand?

Without regular customer feedback as part of your reputation marketing plan, you’ll never know how satisfied or not, your customers are. This not only leaves you wide open if, and when, a business crisis arises, but means you are making business decisions in the dark. How can you adjust and develop product and services if you don’t know what the customer needs?

The enterprise feedback management system from CustomerCount will help you do just that. Working with our team, we will develop a program that gives you tangible data and insights you can use every day in your business.

About CustomerCount’s Feedback Management

If you’re looking to find out what your guests think about your brand, then CustomerCount offers a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution. With detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities, CustomerCount’s feedback management identifies the issues, builds customer loyalty, and improves your bottom line. Contact Bob Kobek now by email or by telephone on 317-816-6000 for further information.


How to create good survey questions

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By Lisa Kobek, EVP of Client Services and Operations at CustomerCount

It’s time to get serious when it comes to customer surveys. If you want meaningful and actionable survey data, then creating good survey questions is a craft you need to master. After all, a survey is only as good as the questions you ask.

Poorly asked questions will not only give you answers you can’t use, but completion rates will be low and the drop out rate will be high. And for the long-term health of your business, the customer experience will be negative with a direct effect on your brand’s reputation.

Indeed, survey question development is important that Erika Hall, author of Just Enough Research, explains: “If you write bad survey questions, you get bad data at scale with no chance of recovery”.

So now you know it’s worth spending some time developing your questions, we asked Lisa Kobek from CustomerCount® for her top tips for writing good survey questions.

Ensuring you set yourself up for collecting valuable data is a combination of crafting an appropriate question and corresponding response options.

These can help you:

  1. Optimize your opportunity to capture valuable, actionable, germane data
  2. Optimize customer perception of you through the questions and response options you present.  A poorly crafted question works against you.  Focus on questions that make sense to the customer and are meaningful from their perspective as well.
How to write good survey questions
A survey is only as good as the questions you ask

How to create customer survey questions?

1 Define the objective

Understand and define the data you want before crafting the question.  Know what you want to know before you start.  What’s the purpose and how will it help your operations and bottom line?

2 Make it actionable

Avoid asking a question that will elicit a non-actionable response.  If you can’t act on what the respondent is telling you, the information is not useful or valuable.  And as importantly if you’re not willing to act on the response, don’t ask the question.  Can you and are you willing to do something with the responses that will positively impact customer engagement, loyalty and the bottom line? 

3 One thing at a time

Don’t ask about more than one thing in the same question.  While tempting in order to keep the survey succinct, it doesn’t pay off. 

For example: don’t ask the customer to rate a customer service representative’s responsiveness and level of knowledge in the same question. 

When the customer rates the performance he may have been thinking about only one of the two attributes in this example.  Or worse yet the customer doesn’t understand how to answer the question given it’s asking about two things – risks bad impression with the customer or leads him to just skip to the next question or abandon the survey altogether.

4 Closed end

Think about how you will analyze results before you craft a question and the corresponding response option.  When possible, make your back end analysis as efficient and effective as possible. 

For example:  You may want to find out what new product features would be of most interest to your customers to help guide your product development efforts.  You could ask an open-ended question such as “what new product features would be valuable for you”? 

Verbatim comment responses take more time and effort to analyze in order to identify trends.  In contrast, if you pose the question with pre-defined response options, analysis becomes much easier. 

For example:  Of the following possible new product features, which one(s) would interest you most?  Then list the options.

Remember, there are text analytics tools available to help sort through unstructured (verbatim comments) data.  If you don’t have access to such a tool, creating closed end questions can greatly enhance your speed and effectiveness of response analysis. 

How CustomerCount can help

The survey data you receive can have a huge impact on the decisions you make as a business. The wrong questions to the wrong people could result in the wrong actions being implemented.  So don’t leave it to chance.

While there is a wealth of online survey solutions available, using the services of CustomerCount ensures that the right questions are developed for the answers you need. Our online survey system makes survey data capture quick and easy with high response rates and survey satisfaction. And the data is presented in a way that is clear, precise and understandable.

To find out more about our customer survey and feedback solutions and learn how CustomerCount can help you craft the perfect question, contact Bob Kobek on 317-816-6000 or bobkobek@customercount.com.  You can also follow them on our blog, on Twitter or Facebook.


Enterprise Feedback Management – The New Wave

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By Howard Bendell, WRAP Partner and independent resort advisor

It is no real surprise that different organizations tend to view their own research and customer feedback priorities differently.

In today’s ever-changing techno-environment, a “one-off” survey or a periodic approach to measuring customer satisfaction may provide the answer those companies and organizations need.

But what about those who have a more focused approach to customer satisfaction, or have a longer-term view to how customer feedback management might influence the development of their products, expansion of their services or creation of strategic priorities?

The answer lies in enterprise feedback management.

What is enterprise feedback management?

Enterprise Feedback Management is more than just an industry buzz-term. It is a formalized way to introducing the processes and practices necessary to manage an organizationally focused research and analysis program. A coordinated effort that dedicates both human and organizational resources in order to regularly and routinely solicit first-hand, direct to consumer (or end-user) reaction and opinion – tactically driven by the survey or focus group underlying it.

Enterprise feedback management is core to helping supporting organizations focus upon and achieve their strategic goals and priorities. 

Effectively designed and deployed, such a program will define the specific attributes to be studied, establish the timeline upon which to deploy survey solicitations and collect vital customer feedback information and data, and outline the characteristics unique to the targeted sample population. 

A coordinated program may also help in establishing a working dialogue with other actors and beneficiaries of collected research data – be they employees, departmental management staffs, service providers and vendors, and customers alike. 

Beyond the dissemination and collection of surveyed data, an enterprise feedback management program can also aid in the structuring, presentation and analysis associated with data reporting.  Hence, it is a coordinated “cradle-to-grave” approach to defining, seeking, collecting, and reporting upon user opinion and guidance.

Enterprise feedback management
Enterprise Feedback Management provides consistent data collection and reporting

Enterprise Feedback Management Tools

Whether it is recognized as such or not, organizations relying upon data collection platforms such as CustomerCount® are already engaged in the use of enterprise feedback management.  And CustomerCount affords its clients with all of the tools and resources necessary to deploy an effective and efficient feedback management system. 

The simple advantage to the client?  Consistent data collection and reporting that is easily distributed to key stakeholders, reductions in the level of survey and respondent fatigue, and maintained in a structure that will likely eliminate or eradicate duplicative costs due to redundant tools and processes. 

Enterprise Feedback Management systems are relied upon by organizations of all sizes and scales – principally to solicit, centrally manage and analyze data obtained from key stakeholders. 

There are ever increasing, sophisticated, Enterprise Feedback Management tools and software available to survey feedback into actionable data and to ensure that results are presented to the appropriate teams, thus enabling them to respond to continuously evolving user feedback, opinion and guidance. 

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based enterprise feedback survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.

You can read more about enterprise feedback management and download their whitepapers on the subject here.

About Howard Bendell

Howard A. Bendell, RRP is an independent resort advisor, who brings more than 25 years of combined resort real estate ownership experience to aid his clients. Throughout his career, Bendell has been actively involved in the development and implementation of key strategic initiatives, new programs and products, and has managed industry and consumer-based research efforts. 

His areas of specialty include consumer-centric industry research and the design and implementation of flexible use vacation products.  For more information, contact Mr. Bendell at 305-282-3269 or via email at howardbendell@aol.com


How to manage negative customer feedback

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By John Heffernan, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

negative customer feedback management
One situation, two points of view

What is customer feedback?

At its simplest level, customer feedback is authenticated and continuous measurement and reporting of customer experience in order to manage.

What is negative feedback?

Some may say that negative customer feedback is a response to poor service, poor product, poor salesmanship or at worst, a combination of each.

In truth, and readily backed by statistical surveys and analysis, we (and I do mean you and I) including our clients and prospects, are all too keen to complain and to highlight and share perceived negativity.

The fact remains that positive feedback remains the poor child to an overwhelming majority of negativity. This is fed by the ease of social media and email, offering shielded anonymity and instant gratification with aggressive, self-righteous and, sometimes, valid comments, posts, likes and mentions.

The business impact of negative feedback

From a business perspective, the impact on brands can be minor all the way through to calamitous.

Indeed, many major complaints have escalated from a small issue that was badly managed, ignored or remained unresolved.

We all make mistakes; we all have examples of client complaints that caused major issues where we have differing perspectives on the actual truth and events.

The old adage of the customer being always right may still hold true, but it is being stretched to breaking point by all too often unrealistic or unwarranted negative feedback.

The image cartoon above is a light-hearted way to depict a difference of opinion and negativity, which is often sourced from a polarized view of events.

How to manage negative customer feedback

Customer feedback, positive or negative, can be attained in a variety of ways including;

  • Online Feedback and Surveys
  • Customer service responses
  • Individual complaints
  • Social and digital media including ratings sites

Perhaps the focus should be on:

  • Improving your brand reputation (Reputation Management);
  • Brand strategies to encourage positivity and 5-star reviews;
  • Highlighting internal issues/training to prevent issues arising;
  • Management buy-in and training on feedback management;
  • Posting positive feedback to encourage more positivity (Reputation Marketing); and
  • Having a plan!

In any form of sales training, sales being the foremost contact with a potential or existing client, a salesman is instructed to listen more than they speak. And any salesman will tell you, that is a task more onerous than it sounds!

Negative customer feedback managment
How to manage negative customer feedback

Two ears and one mouth!

With two ears and one mouth we should all listen at least twice as much as we speak. And listening may be the first step on the road to solving negative feedback.

  • What is the problem?
  • Is it siloed or potentially more widespread?
  • Is the fault genuine and attributable?
  • Can the negative be resolved with positive response?

One way of managing negative feedback is to remember that an argument often has two sides and perhaps no ends.

If you can agree on the problem and resolution (perhaps without admittance of liability), the situation can usually be managed and an unhappy client becomes a satisfied advocate.

The skill in moving negative to positive cannot be underestimated in terms of customer service and lifetime value. Some important aspects to keep in mind include:

Listening

But when listening, the key is to actually hear what is being said!

Emotions

You must distance knee-jerk or emotional reactions from a professional and caring stance.

The problem

Being argumentative or taking the moral high ground will only serve to escalate the problem. Get to the root of the problem. What is the problem? Ask questions, review the issue and consider the personal impact to the customer.

Resolution

A resolution has to be two-way. It has to be satisfactory enough to turn the source into an advocate and sufficient enough to work for each party.

Lessons learned

Share the solution, resolve the root cause, train and continue to train key staff, continue to review plans and strategy.

Be positive

Positivity will win out!

Take steps and move forward with positive steps. Develop a positive brand reputation. And put resources into positive brand management.

CustomerCount delivers branded survey communications direct to your owners, clients and guests with questions that maximize response rates and get you the information you need.

Used as part of your reputation management and reputation marketing strategies, our surveys help you discover issues before they become negative feedback. And they support your daily activities providing real-time customer feedback that meets your business needs.

To find out more about our customer feedback management solutions, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

About EVC Marketing

John Heffernan and Emily Collins of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.  


Why relying on assumptions is bad for your business

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By Yuri Duncan, WRAP Partner and CEO, Buchanan Creative Solutions

We all know at least one good saying about assumptions, and they’re simply never a good idea.

Making assumptions based on stereotypes will almost always lead to miscommunication and poor relationships.

I recall a visit to the historical West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana. It was a beautiful day as we wound our way through the giant porch that surrounded the hotel. The hotel was built over a century ago, and the level of craftsmanship was astounding.

While admiring the work that went into creating such a beautiful structure, I overheard the sound of a heated exchange. A pair of younger guests was greatly concerned with the fact that the swastika symbol, largely associated with Adolph Hitler and World War 2, was embedded throughout the metal works that made up the porch railing.

Familiar with the hotel and its past, I pointed them towards a sign hanging near the metal work: “The West Baden Springs Hotel Veranda Railing was constructed in 1915, long before the Swastika Symbol was used in WW II. Many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years utilized the Swastika Symbol to represent Life, Sun, Power, Strength, and Good Luck.”

After learning of this historical fact, the pair appeared relieved and went on their way, presumably enjoying the rest of their stay.

making assumptions about your clients

The danger of assumptions

This small story illustrates the dangers of making assumptions.  Had they not noticed the explanatory note regarding the railing, the guests could have assumed many horrible, and false things about the West Baden Springs Hotel. 

Even worse, they could have shared their assumptions on social media, creating a reputation nightmare for the hotel, and wasting time and resources as well.  In the end, the guests may have found themselves embarrassed to learn the results of their false assumptions.

In the timeshare industry, it’s not just the guests who are in danger of making poor assumptions.  In an environment where managing reserve funds is a science that can make or break a property, making blind assumptions about how best to spend those funds is a roadmap to disaster. 

One would need to understand the ever-evolving technology needs of the millennials, the legacy needs of the boomers, and the nuanced interests of Gen X in order to operate purely on assumptions.  None of us have that luxury.

Feedback vs assumptions

One way that anyone, anywhere, in any industry can mitigate the risks of the deadly Assumption is to simply ask your customers what it is they want from you and your product. 

Gaining feedback directly from “the Sources Mouth” is the single best way to understand their needs and respond accordingly. 

Are you regularly asking your customers what they want and need from your product?

Using modern survey techniques allows your business to solicit and gather customer feedback on their terms, in the mode they wish to interact.  If gathering this feedback isn’t part of your current decision-making process, then the CustomerCount feedback management platform is the perfect solution for you. 

Our feedback collection services ensure your customers are telling you what they need and allow you to gather that data through reporting to provide the concrete evidence to spend reserve funds wisely.

Why choose CustomerCount?

CustomerCount is clearly committed to fostering engagement across multiple channels.

Their survey platform provides a seamless experience for engaging your customers. And their ongoing communication strategy provides viewers with a wide range of inviting and effective video content.

Enhance your feedback management systems across the board by visiting the CustomerCount channel on YouTube

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the power of CustomerCount in action, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

About Yuri Duncan

Yuri Duncan is an award winning filmmaker and president of Buchanan Creative Solutions, LLC – a video production company specializing in producing affordable and effective videos. His skills and accomplishments as an artist and leader are what drive him to provide high quality services through Buchanan Creative Solutions.

With a proven record in design, illustration, animation, editing, and management, Yuri oversees all projects, no matter how large or small, to ensure the end-result fulfills your vision.