How to Use Customer Feedback to Improve Retention and Drive Growth
14 mins readDec 19, 2023
Ever thought about why some companies are brilliant at retaining customers? It’s not just luck—they’re listening.
Paying attention to customer feedback to boost retention rates can revolutionize your business growth. Customer feedback is a window into what customers really want, need, and expect from a brand. This kind of data is like a roadway for companies striving to keep customers coming back.
By analyzing customer feedback for retention improvement, companies gain knowledge that fuels strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Using customer feedback to improve retention is a smart way to succeed in customer retention and overall business growth.
Let’s explore how to collect, utilize, and analyze customer feedback to boost retention rates and overall business growth.
Your customers’ feedback is how they speak up about what they appreciate and where improvements are needed in your products, services, and overall experience. It’s a helpful tool to identify where you excel and where there’s room to grow. According to a study, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Taking the time to listen shows that you value their thoughts, building trust and a stronger connection, leading to loyalty.
Here’s why customer feedback matter to your business and overall customer experience:
- Spotting Improvement Areas: It highlights where your products can get better.
- Making Customers Feel Valued: Getting their input makes customers feel included and essential.
- Driving Recommendations: Positive feedback leads to personal recommendations.
- Encouraging Repeat Business: Using feedback convinces customers to return for more, eventually reducing churn.
- Turning Negatives Around: Even negative feedback can improve your product.
- Attracting New Customers: Positive experiences from feedback bring in new customers.
- Building Brand Loyalty: Listening to feedback strengthens loyalty to your brand.
However, despite its apparent benefits for product managers, customer service teams, analysts, marketers, and everyone in your organization, surprisingly, a recent study found that 42% of companies skip gathering customer feedback. Leveraging customer feedback for retention is essential to keep your customers coming back and ensure a robust and lasting relationship.
When you gather customer feedback, you seek practical data to refine your strategies for attracting and retaining customers. There are various ways to do this, such as surveys, focus groups, interviews, and online forums. Each method has strengths and limitations, so choosing the right one hinges on your specific needs and objectives. Here are a few tried and tested customer feedback collection methods:
Surveys are a widely favored method for gathering customer feedback. They’re easy to distribute to a large audience and can help spot trends when analyzing the data. Surveys can be conducted online, through mail, or via phone, created as per your desired level of simplicity or complexity.
Engaging a small group of customers in focused discussions about specific topics or products offers rich, qualitative insights that surveys might not uncover.
Speaking directly with customers one-on-one allows more personalized customer feedback to boost retention rates. However, it’s time-intensive and might only be feasible for businesses with a small customer base.
These platforms provide details about what customers say about your business, products, or services. They also serve as helpful means for gauging customer sentiments over time.
Using customer feedback to improve retention is one of the top strategies to keep your business growing a way to gain insights that can refine and strengthen your overall business strategy, steering it toward success by better understanding and serving your customers’ needs.
Once you’ve gathered customer feedback and pinpointed the insights you want to focus on, the challenge is transforming this diverse feedback into actionable strategies for your company. But how do you make sense of open-ended feedback and turn it into a product roadmap?
Let’s provide simple guidelines to analyze and develop a clear understanding of customer sentiments, enabling you to make informed decisions to refine your offerings and utilize customer feedback to boost retention rates:
To start, gather all the written customer feedback you plan to review, along with essential details about each customer, and arrange them neatly in a spreadsheet. It’s helpful to include specific customer attributes, like their lifetime as a customer, spending habits, the date of feedback submission, and where the feedback originated, like a customer survey question.
This organized spreadsheet is a central hub where you compile feedback and relevant customer information. It’s like creating a structured database to easily sort and analyze the data for more in-depth insights into your customers’ thoughts and experiences. This step sets the foundation for a comprehensive and systematic analysis to gain feedback-driven customer retention.
Now, you need to figure out how to organize and make sense of your collected customer feedback. Here’s how you can do it:
- Group by Feedback Type: Start by categorizing feedback into different types. This step helps when dealing with unsorted feedback from customer support or open-ended survey responses where customers can express any thoughts.
- Break Down into Feedback Themes: If you have diverse feedback, breaking it into themes helps. This may be optional for smaller data sets (around 50 feedback entries or less). Themes typically relate to specific product aspects, such as distinct product features. The themes you create should directly relate to the received feedback and often revolve around product features or unmet customer needs. They could be team-specific (like customer support, sales, or marketing) or tied to particular customer pain points.
- Employ Feedback Codes: Feedback codes aim to summarize customer feedback in a clear, actionable manner. These codes should capture the essence of the customer’s point in concise yet descriptive terms, making it understandable even to someone unfamiliar with the project. The goal is to distill feedback objectively, regardless of personal agreement.
By sorting and categorizing feedback based on type, theme, and codes, you’re laying the groundwork to extract meaningful insights. These structured categories help dissect and comprehend data for actionable steps toward achieving feedback-driven customer retention.
Now, it’s time to take a quick look at the feedback to grasp its diversity. Start by scanning through the feedback to gauge its variety. If each customer shares vastly different feedback, expect a larger volume to analyze before spotting patterns. Conversely, if the initial 50 feedback entries focus on a particular product issue, you might need to review fewer entries. This initial overview helps estimate the extent of feedback diversity. If the feedback spans a wide range of topics or concerns, preparing for a more comprehensive analysis might be necessary.
Conversely, if a common issue emerges quickly in the initial set of feedback, you may need a more focused review. This preliminary step scans the diversity and potential patterns within the feedback. It helps you prepare for a more detailed analysis, helping you understand the scope and approach needed in analyzing customer feedback for retention improvement.
Find a quiet spot to concentrate and carefully review each piece of user feedback. Begin coding each entry systematically. The specific codes you create will relate directly to the product in question. Record these separately for clarity if a single feedback entry addresses multiple points (like two distinct feature requests).
It’s alright to begin with broader codes and refine them later. Pay close attention to the exact language used in the feedback. What might seem like similar issues at first glance could be separate concerns.
For instance, if you initially encounter several comments related to “Email issues,” a deeper review might uncover distinct issues like an “Email composer bug” versus an “Email delivery bug,” each requiring specific attention and solutions.
This coding process systematically organizes feedback, capturing nuanced points and distinct issues within the customer responses. It’s a necessary step in thoroughly analyzing customer feedback for retention improvement.
After coding all the feedback, your next move is to tally the total occurrences of each code. This process identifies the most prevalent feedback and shows underlying patterns within your customer feedback.
Now that your data is coded, it’s time to compile a summary based on the popularity of identified issues and discuss these findings with your product team.
- For fewer than 50 feedback entries, summarize the actionable insights in a concise table or a one-page document.
- If dealing with a larger volume of feedback, segment it based on the previously discussed variables like “feedback type” and “feedback theme.”
This approach streamlines the process of using customer feedback to improve retention and distribute feedback categories to various teams within your company for action. This summary provides a clear snapshot of the prevalent issues, facilitating focused action and strategies to enhance customer experience and retention.
To ensure the policies derived from customer feedback make a tangible impact, you must implement them and continuously oversee their performance. Here’s how to execute and monitor these policies effectively:
- Clear Communication and Support: Commence by clearly and consistently communicating these policies to your team and stakeholders. Equip them with essential resources, training, and support for successful execution.
- Performance Monitoring: Continuously monitor the performance and impact of these policies. Measure their influence on customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and referrals. Utilize tools like feedback surveys, metrics, indicators, and dashboards to track and evaluate progress.
- Continuous Improvement: Regularly collect and analyze new feedback to assess policy effectiveness. Identify areas that require improvement or adjustment based on this fresh feedback analysis. It’s an ongoing cycle of implementation, assessment, and refinement to ensure these policies evolve in line with customer needs.
In a company boasting over 200 million prime members, one might assume customer feedback gets lost in the shuffle. However, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, emphasizes, “At Amazon, we innovate by starting with the customer and working backward. That becomes the touchstone for how we invent.” By incorporating customer feedback, Amazon has been successful for over two decades.
With active implementation and vigilant monitoring policies inspired by customer insights, you create an environment where feedback-driven customer retention drives continual improvement.
Customer feedback highlights your marketing strengths, product successes, and areas ripe for enhancement. Big companies, like Netflix and Apple, capitalize on customer feedback to refine their service, reduce churn, and shape marketing strategies. Analyzing viewing patterns and ratings aids in suggesting personalized shows and movies, enhancing feedback-driven customer retention.
Let’s see how this feedback can fuel business growth:
- Discover Unique Selling Propositions (USPs): Users’ input identifies standout features that set your product apart, delivering useful content for your messaging against competitors.
- Enhance Product Descriptions: Customer feedback illuminates desirable features and benefits, enhancing your product’s attractiveness to potential buyers.
- Use Positive Feedback: Turn favorable feedback into credible testimonials. Real experiences of satisfied customers build trust and boost product adoption.
- Language Alignment: Pay attention to customers’ language in feedback to align your messaging. Speaking their language makes your brand more relatable.
- Guiding Product Evolution: Customer feedback shapes future product enhancements, aligning with long-term strategies.
- Expanding Business Horizons: Gauge new product demand or the potential reception in new areas.
- Personalization and Customization: Use insights to personalize offerings, delivering customized recommendations and communications. This fosters stronger relationships and loyalty.
- Validating Innovations via Beta Testing: Test new ideas or features with a customer group before a full-scale launch. Validate and refine based on their feedback.
As you actively seek, analyze, and act on customer feedback, you can refine your product offerings, communication strategies, and increase your customer retention rate. This ongoing learning and improvement process significantly impacts customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business expansion in a customer-focused world. Remember to treat feedback as an asset. Centralize all feedback instead of scattering it across multiple spreadsheets. Automating manual processes with specialized customer feedback tools streamlines this beneficial information.
While various customer retention platforms exist for analyzing customer feedback for retention improvement, opt for one that simplifies data extraction without complexities. This ensures effectively using customer feedback to improve retention and growth in your business.