How to Build a Long-Term Strategy Around Customer Feedback
In the words of Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Likewise, it was one of the most influential leadership experts in the world, Ken Blanchard, who once said that “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
Knowing how to gather and use customer feedback is what can eventually turn a small business into a multinational corporation, and there are statistics to prove it. Customer feedback can have the similar impact on the auxiliary services on college campuses as well. As we all know, loyal customers can grow a business much faster than regular sales or marketing can. It is because it’s 5 to 25 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to keep an already-existing one happy. Secondly, the no.1 source of new leads is customer referrals. And lastly, loyal customers purchase 90% more and spend 60% more than new customers.
While these statistics don’t mean that you shouldn’t be trying to get new customers, they do, however, reinforce that keeping your existing customers and students happy makes good business sense. And to do that, you will need to center your entire business strategy on customer feedback.
So, here is the most efficient way to build a long-term strategy around customer feedback.
The ACAF Customer Feedback Loop
Short for Ask, Categorize, Act, and Follow-up, the ACAF Customer Feedback Loop is a business strategy that centers itself on customer satisfaction and how to use their feedback to grow your business by following their wants and needs.
Though at first glance, the entire process seems somewhat complicated, it is, nevertheless, much more straightforward than it looks. Below is a short rundown of what the ACAF Customer Feedback Loop implies.
Step 1: Ask
At the first stage, ask your customers for their feedback concerning the overall trends, service and product issues.
The most popular techniques for acquiring customer feedback in regards to these three issues are:
These methods can be used individually or in combination, depending on the nature and size of your business.
Step 2: Categorize
Now that you have the necessary data, your next step is to find a scalable system to categorize it. There are usually, three main categories to place your feedback into:
- Product feedback
- Customer service feedback
- Marketing & sales feedback
Again, depending on the nature of your business and what you are more interested in finding out, these categories can be further divided into subgroups. Using a real-time customer feedback solution can make planning, collecting, sharing, organizing, and reporting data incredibly easy and actionable.
Step 3: Act
Once all the data is properly compiled into groups, you need to share it with your product, customer support, marketing, and sales teams, accordingly. There is no logic in asking for feedback if you are not going to use it, right? Data should be easily shared with all team members who have a role in responding to it.
Step 4: Follow-up
The last step is to follow-up with customers that gave you their feedback, be it a positive or a negative one. Though this step no longer influences the outcome of the ACAF method, it is, nevertheless, a crucial step in keeping the loop going.
Reports show that 43% of people do not share their feedback because they believe that companies that request it don’t care about their opinion. If you don’t make your customers feel appreciated for giving their feedback, they are less likely to do so again, which, in the long-run can lead to your business failing.
Personalized thank you emails or publishing a report with customer feedback and how it was implemented, can do the trick.
Focusing your business strategy on customer feedback is a powerful and effective way to improve your company or service going forward. By making the ACAF Customer Feedback Loop at the core of your business or service, you are sure to achieve actionable insights that complement a long-term business strategy.