Companies get customer feedback whether they want it or not. Now, since you have the feedback, you might as well do something useful with it.
Feedback — solicited or not — will help you improve your processes, products and the overall customer experience, if you give it a chance.
“Collecting data is critical, but what’s most important is having the mechanisms in place to act on it,” says Mike Nelson, CEO of Global Travel and Americas at Allianz Worldwide Partners.
Here are three ways Allianz effectively uses customer feedback, whether it purposely collects it or organically receives it:
1. Get direction
Allianz doesn’t mince words. They ask customers in online surveys every week, “How could we have made it easier for you to understand your benefits and services?”
Customers aren’t likely to spell out exactly what a company needs to do. But many will dance around the direction they’d like to see a company go.
That’s why Allianz looks for patterns and overlying themes. In a recent situation, they saw many customers say consistently and often they wish information was shorter or simpler. That prompted Allianz to:
- include bullet-point lists of benefits on customers’ paperwork
- cut the industry-speak from customer communication
- use more language customers naturally use, and
- create a “declarations page” that briefly summarizes information customers need.
2. Find the next venture
Customers’ feedback can often lead you to new product development. Customers won’t likely tell you, “Make this,” but unmet needs that come up in formal and informal feedback will help you envision products or services that they’d want and use.
For instance, Allianz looks at customer feedback and sorts through sales data to find gaps in coverage. Sure, customers complain about some gaps — services they didn’t get or circumstances when they couldn’t use their existing services — but customers couldn’t identify what they really needed.
That’s where Allianz uses the feedback to fill the gaps. Finding the biggest pain points helps them add new products and features, such as a feature that allows more customers to cancel at any time because an unforeseen issue arises.
3. Improve rewards and training
You can also use customer feedback to reward employees and improve performance.
Allianz relies on customer surveys and tools such as speech analytics to catch employees going above and beyond the call of duty to help customers. Then it recognizes and rewards employees for those special efforts.
The same feedback tools help managers at Allianz uncover areas for skills and process improvements. Managers and employees can see customers’ comments and ratings to find areas where they might have delivered less than what customers expected. Then they coach to improve on it.