Customer feedback is the oxygen for any social enterprise, but there is a problem for all companies. It has never been easier to find feedback online, but it has never been harder to make sense of all the data swilling around the Internet on all the various social platforms.
Feedback used to be a formalised process. Customers might answer a feedback question after a call, or complete a survey of one kind or another, but it was quite a distinct process from that of the customer seeking service – it was always a separate process.
Now all that has changed. The formalised feedback programmes of the past were troublesome because of the way statistics can be manipulated. Managers would get their survey results and manipulate the statistics to reflect what they wanted the statistics to say.
This might sound harsh, but then statistics can be easy to manipulate. As the saying goes, if your feet are in the freezer and your head is in the oven then on average you are feeling fine.
Now feedback is unsolicited. It is out there all the time. This means that the social networks are full of valuable information about your products – potentially that information could be the canary in the coal mine for you if there is any problem with a product. People will talk about the problems online first and as no formal programme has solicited this feedback, the information should more accurately reflect how customers are really feeling.
So customer feedback can take place without the need for a formal programme that asks customers to answer questions. If you can filter the information, the feedback is out there. That’s when it can be valuable to combine customer feedback with customer service, because if you are scanning the social networks anyway you can start taking a longer view – not just handling complaints as they happen.
Photo by Bob Catnorth licensed under Creative Commons