In our previous blog post, we discussed how to measure success of your business and the importance of data and analytics. In this blog, we are going to touch on another very important topic in marketing and branding: feedback – and not just from your customers, but also from your own team.
Do you know if your marketing strategy is resonating with your customers? Is your company mission aligned with your team members and customers? Are you listening to both of their voices? If you are not sure or answered “no” to any of these questions, then now is a great time to gain those insights along with the metrics, data, and analytics you currently gather. Your marketing plan is developed on incomplete data if it does not include the process of gaining feedback about your brand from both the customers and your team.
So why is this feedback important? Let’s take this one step at a time.
Why do you need customer feedback?
Customer satisfaction is the foundation of your business. Satisfied customers will lead to customer loyalty and higher customer retention rate. If you don’t understand how your customers feel and why they are loyal to your brand, you won’t benefit from knowing what is driving their buying decisions.
Having a target marketing strategy requires gaining customer perspectives on your brand’s differentiators, benefits, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. These insights will help your marketing team to set the right expectations, develop better marketing content, uncover your customer’s buyer’s journey, and so much more, to develop a marketing strategy that truly connects.
In short, we must communicate with our customers in order to:
- measure customer satisfaction and retention (loyalty).
- improve your product and services.
- show that you value their opinion.
- create a marketing strategy that attracts your ideal customer.
How do you obtain customer & team member feedback?
There are many different ways to approach your customers for their feedback. As each person responses differently to different methods of communication, make sure to find what works best for your audience. To get you some ideas, here is a list of some of the most effective ways to gain customer feedback.
- Feedback Forms/Contact Forms – Customers will provide feedback if they truly feel that they are being heard. Provide forms or comment boxes on your website for customer to use to give feedback. Make sure to respond promptly and genuinely.
- Email – Email is one of the most effective and frequently used ways to gain customer feedback. Send emails asking about their experience after the service or product has been delivered to the customer. Be sure to include a thank you message when the customer provides feedback.
- Interview – First set a goal of your interview and create questions to achieve that goal. It is best to interview a diverse mix of customers; loyal, new, and lost customers, to really get a well-rounded picture of your brand. The interviews should be a comfortable and friendly conversation between the interviewer and the customer. It is most ideal to have a third party conduct the interviews to gain the most honest feedback.
- Social Channels – Social media platforms offer great ways to connect with your customers such as direct comments, mentions, messaging (chat), and even special tools like polls.
- Surveys and Polls – Surveys and polls can be highly effective if the questions are constructed well and the medium is selected appropriately. Some effective ways to send out surveys and polls are through email, text (SMS), and in print with a URL or QR code. Keep the questions brief and to-the-point, ask smart questions that will fulfill your end goal, and do not ask leading questions.
Importance of internal communication and gaining team perspective and feedback
Next, let’s talk about your team. How often do you receive feedback from your own team of employees about your brand? Most put a heavy emphasis on gaining customer feedback because they are the ones paying our bills. That is true, but also remember that your team is the one that builds your brand and knows your organization best. They also gain individual feedback from customers that may not go past their ears, if never asked.
Your goal is to know what your customers AND your team members are thinking about your brand. Each team member has a personal perception of your company brand and deliverables, and articulates this information uniquely. It is important that your whole team understands where the company is headed and what they are all working towards. Uncover if the team is aligned or not with the growth direction and expectations of the company. If not aligned, the gaps can often cause missed expectations, confuse your audience, and hinder sales.
Ask your team members and get them thinking about questions like:
- What do we believe about our brand?
- What do you think matters to our customers?
- What differentiates our brand from the competitors in the industry?
- What expectations are we currently setting, and are they the right expectations?
- What expectations do we have of our customers?
Anonymous online survey, focus group, and interviews are some of the most frequently used methods to collect in-depth feedback from your team. Because there is often a better chance of receiving more honest feedback if the responses are collected anonymously, consider working with a third-party source to facilitate face-to-face conversations such as focus groups and interviews.
Then, most importantly, take the results and make appropriate adjustments to your marketing strategy. Create attainable plans to bridge the gap that exists.
In our next blog, last one of this blog series, we will wrap up by exploring the Brand InsightsTM, a great way to systematic assess and review your brand. It will include taking an in-depth analysis of all the touch points between your brand and your customers, monitoring changes in customer perceptions, and being strategically receptive to those changes.