Guest blog: Why invest in customer feedback?

Written by Paul Roberts

How many times have you heard someone say, “we don’t need more feedback, customers would tell me if they had a problem”? 

Or how about “feedback only tells me what I already know”

These common assumptions are a symptom of old school approaches to customer feedback. They assume everything is fine unless customers say otherwise.

But customer experience isn’t that simple. Two customers can have the same experience and react in very different ways. Some customers may overlook experiences that others rant or rave about.

So how do you get a clearer picture of your customers’ current experiences? And how do you use it to see their future needs and expectations?

Applying the feedback flywheel

Forward-looking firms are changing how they listen to their customers. Gone are the days of seasonal and siloed feedback. Instead, they are using the Feedback Flywheel to deliver continuous feedback intelligence.


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Always be listening

The flywheel starts with a shift in mindset. Feedback should be collected when customers have something to say, not when businesses are ready to listen. 

Always be listening makes it easy for customers to share feedback, by:

  • Making feedback forms easy to find
  • Keeping surveys short and customer-focused
  • Asking open questions
  • Including indirect feedback sources like reviews and social media
  • Collecting feedback throughout the customer journey

Centralise the data

Many customer feedback programmes start with the wrong intent. They focus on answering specific business questions or on ‘proving’ assumptions. As a result, feedback is collected and reported in siloes. 

In contrast, forward-looking businesses create a single source of truth. A central place where all customer feedback is stored and analysed. This starts as a shared folder and eventually becomes a flexible database.

Automate the analysis

Manual feedback analysis is slow and subjective. It works when feedback volumes are small. But as your feedback programme expands, it also needs to accelerate. This is where automated text analysis can help you. 

This doesn’t mean pasting your feedback into ChatGPT. These large language models don’t know how YOUR firm wants to respond to YOUR customers. Instead look at more established text analysis that quickly discovers client needs and expectations.

Give results context

Centralising your feedback data opens up opportunities for internal benchmarking. You can compare feedback across customer segments and stages of the customer journey. This enables you to start identifying the root cause of customer experiences. 

For example, discover where in the customer journey responsiveness is most important. Or which customer segments most appreciate your default style of communication.

Close the loop

This is where you embed feedback in your DNA. There are two aspects to closing the loop and turning a passive process into a flywheel:

– Feedback to customers. Celebrate those who contribute and share what you’ve heard. The ‘You Said, We Did’ boards in leisure centres are a great place to start.

– Feedback to the business. Celebrate the great feedback and the people behind it and show how you’re using insights to improve experiences.

Paul Roberts is CEO & co-founder of MyCustomerLens, the always-on client listening platform for professional services firms.