The relationship between customer feedback and customer loyalty
Updated: Mar 28
Repeat business, as well as new business, is what companies strive for all the time. Other than being concerned over the bottom-line revenues and profits, they busy themselves with issues such as how to build customer loyalty and how to constantly increase customer satisfaction. And it all starts with the customer experience about a company's product and service, as is voiced out by existing customers. Old and new ways of gathering and analyzing customer feedback are in use, as companies try to figure out how to build and maintain customer loyalty.
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”, claims Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot, who was recently voted as “top CEO in America”. Understanding what companies do right, as per the feedback of their customers, enables them to do more of it. Figuring out what they do wrong makes them do less of it. Or in the words of Bill Gates: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.
Statistics show that repeat customers are better than new customers, but companies aim to target new customers as well in order to increase sales. Current customers, however, serve as sort of a base from which companies can gather important information as to how their brands perform. While potential customers are always targeted via campaigns and special offers, companies invest lots of effort in such areas as a customer loyalty program and other means by which to reward customers. By communicating with them, and as they try to build a loyal customer base and cultivate customer loyalty, companies gather important customer feedback and try to evaluate what works and what does not. Happy customers guarantee customer retention for many businesses, but customers are also important for figuring out what to do next, how to go on about their marketing and sales efforts, and how to maintain repeat customers right along with new customers.
Gathering customer feedback results in understanding how to handle customer relationships and how to answer customer expectations. For many years it was customary to evaluate customer loyalty and perceptions by conducting surveys and questionnaires. However, such collection of opinions is now digital, and there are currently quicker and more efficient ways for collecting and analyzing feedback from customer conversations. Customer data on a product or service is very valuable, but when dealing with millions of data points, tracking and analyzing it can become challenging. Then there is the issue of immediacy, referring to the need to answer customer complaints on a micro-level (solve a problem or an issue for the customer now) but also figure out, on a macro-level, what direction a business owner must take in order to continuously improve customer loyalty.
Customer experience results in voicing out and commenting on many different digital platforms. Companies are able to collect such data from all open-web places, meaning that closed forums and communities are off-limits for them. Still, there are plenty of data points to track, monitor, and analyze from all over the open web. Strategies to boost customer loyalty can begin to form once such unstructured data is collected and then becomes structured and clearer to understand and work with.
Customers voice their opinions about products, pricing, customer service, and other general-related issues. Companies can then turn those categories into strategies and react to such feedback. By doing so, companies can show how attentive they are to what their loyal customers discuss about them, and as a result, businesses can increase customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and improve brand sentiment. Building customer loyalty begins by understanding each of those categories and preparing loyalty programs to address them.
Feedback about the product
Customers constantly discuss products, product features, design, ease of usage, and rate their overall satisfaction. They also complain about different aspects and sometimes come up with suggestions on how to improve the product. With today's technologies, it is easier to collect customer discussions throughout the product's lifecycle and make the necessary changes and improvements accordingly.
Other than the actual product improvements, companies can show their customers that they have listened to them and allow them to be involved. Engaging the existing customers can serve as part of the much-sought-after customer lifetime value and assist in maintaining lifelong customers. When a company tries to measure customer loyalty, such engagement can improve customer satisfaction on both the product level and the company-customer relationship level.
Customers tend to complain about the product price on many occasions and that is where companies can reply by offering all kinds of incentives and loyalty programs in return. Offering discounts and rewards programs for those who purchase regularly can help increase customer loyalty. A company can create a system where customers earn points, rewarding repeat purchase customers with certain bonuses. Other price value propositions can come in the form of referral programs, where clients who refer new customers to the company's product are awarded certain discounts. Brands can also set a subscription service, giving buyers more value for their customer loyalty. A repeat customer can also be offered a loyalty tier, separating such clients from other shoppers with price benefits.
Interestingly enough, reacting to customer comments is an ongoing process, so even all of the above price value propositions must also be tracked for new feedback comments and discussions in order to measure customer satisfaction levels and to further advance earning customer loyalty.
Customer service issues
Excellent customer service is what businesses always strive for but their only way of measuring how successful they are performing it is by analyzing what their customers have to say about it. Whether on the company's websites, in forums, and on social media, as more customers converse and comment about their service experiences with companies, lots of data accumulates for businesses to analyze and work with.
In order to build loyalty, companies invest great resources in improving the existing customer experience with their service. Many of them maintain a human connection and respond quickly and timely to complaints, be it on social media platforms or via phone. A customer support team that deals with the micro-level complaints can also be assisted by the analysis of what customers like or don't like about the company's service from a high and strategic level. Companies try to improve customer service by staying honest and showing compassion to their customers, as they find customer loyalty important for their repeat purchase rate and overall brand sentiment.
Other general feedback areas
A customer's willingness to share opinions and comments about a product, service, or brand can be tracked for other important areas other than the product itself, its price, and the customer service issues.
There are important lessons to be learned by companies with regards to customers' perceptions of their brand values and brand loyalty matters. When companies send a feedback request, via the old and familiar survey, or track online shoppers' reviews, a brand relationship forms, and advances. Companies can both respond to such feedback and analyze it for further business decisions.
Market research and marketing strategies can improve as a result of feedback too. Companies can decide on new approaches such as personalized marketing for customers or on brand awareness efforts and continue measuring them for further understandings of what customers liked or didn't like about them. Through such processes, companies can also learn to speak their customers' language and further engage them with offers and other benefits.
Affogata: closing the gap between analyzing customer feedback and increasing customer loyalty
Affogata greatly assists companies to build customer loyalty by tracking millions of real-time customer feedback data points and then analyzing them for actionable insights. What changed over the years in terms of understanding what customers want is, well, almost everything.
First, the quantities of customer mention increased dramatically and businesses with millions of clients must employ a feedback collection and analysis system that can handle such multitudes of data. When tracking each and every mention on special forums, review sites, and on social media platforms, and after gathering the data, the conversations can be categorized. Then companies can receive a high-level view of what topics their customers are most concerned about and take necessary actions to address such issues.
Second, in order to follow those loyal customers and in order to build better customer loyalty programs, companies must embed a system that monitors reactions non-stop. Customers react quickly and on multiple platforms, so there is almost no choice but to track the data fast and structure it into digestible information for businesses to figure out and act upon. Clients expect not only exceptional customer service but also quick fixes to the issues that matter to them the most.
In addition, attracting loyal customers as well as new customers requires different marketing and sales tactics. Measurements and analysis of various marketing campaigns or sales efforts, with Affogata supplying the all-important qualitative data understanding of what stands behind the numbers, can always help in how to build customer loyalty. How to increase customer retention, a cross-organizational effort built around many steps and actions can also start out by each company's team concentrating on the specific data it requires. Then each team can determine how to turn it into actionable items which will contribute to the collective efforts of the company.
When reaching out to customers, a timely written reply is always important. Besides fixing a technical problem or reimbursing a client for a purchase, the action of a specific reply can mean a whole lot to the image of a company. Saying "thank you" to a comment or writing some warm answers that show that the company does care for a client, can earn the business extra points. When a company tries to build customer relations, employ customer loyalty programs or simply show respect for existing customers, a nice word can sometimes serve as a world of difference. Loyal customers learn to appreciate such gestures and show respect, and it can even come in handy when crisis situations erupt. Customer loyalty can then show even when a company goes through rough times in terms of product performance.
So how to build customer loyalty begins by constantly tracking and analyzing what the customers think about the company's products and services. Using a platform that collects and analyses the data in real-time 24/7, such as Affogata's, enables businesses to adapt quickly to their customers' needs and wants and give them better products and services.