One of the most rewarding aspects of collecting customer feedback is when you get a positive comment, especially a glowing unselfish recommendation from a customer that can be passed around the team as sort of virtual “pat on the back”.
“Very easy to use the web site and delivery was extremely quick”
CustomerGauge clients can experience a continuous stream of customer comments, many of which can be published each day to external web sites as testimonials. We show here the latest site to go live with customer comments, Philips Online Store (featured above, also in Dutch, French and other languages). Companies like Philips are surveying hundreds or thousands of transactions each day with CustomerGauge, and depending on their Net Promoter Score are able to use about 15% – 25% of the comments as positive praise for the service.
“I found the whole purchase and delivery of my iron gratifyingly easy and the product is proving excellent. ”
We offer several ways of showing these comments. The Philips example above is served from an XML feed of comments (available as an API from CustomerGauge) and published with some special code on their site to filter the country and language elements to the relevant pages. Another client uses our RSS feed to publish comments to an intranet site, and also shows the numbers in a dashboard with other key metrics.
CustomerGauge also offers a Testimonial Publisher that allows you to easily publish comments on your site in an i-frame. This is straightforward to implement on any site, with just a line of code. You are able to select which comments you which to use with just one click, and if needed edit the text (for example to hide any personal details).
Whatever way you choose to display positive comments they are likely to make prospective customers feel more confident about buying. A number of comments updated recently is as important as the content. And as with all comments, we recommend you thank customers when they have left you a kind message.
“The whole experience buying was easy & stress free. My headphones arrived swiftly & are comfortable to use. I am a great fan of Philips as I am still using the iron I was given as a wedding present in 1971. It has been in use daily & despite needing a couple of new flexes over the years has never once let me down. Well done Philips!”
- We also can help you Twitter your comments (internally or externally).
- Using comments internally from a post last year (Reasons to be cheerful, part CG).
Details as ever on request.
In a few hours, the United Kingdom will vote in the most closely fought election in years. The most memorable moments have been due to the introduction of the TV debates, and the now famous “worms” that accompanied the first one. Pundits delighted in showing how the audience reacted to favourably to Nick Clegg. After the debate, it became clear that the two main parties adapted their communication strategies based on the wavering red, blue and yellow lines on the screen.
In fact this continuous audience monitoring is not new. Back in 1946, TIME magazine reported that the Gallup Handheld Hopkins Televoting device was wowing movie moguls in Hollywood (we wrote about it here). A handheld device allowed cinema-goers at preview screening to dial “like very much” or “very dull”, which drew a red line on a chart as a staffer noted key scenes in the movie. Most films were not significantly altered but the reaction made a difference to the way they were marketed (sounds like the politicians have been doing the same).
Dial M for Measurement
Customer feedback has also been used in business for years. Waiters have always asked diners what they thought of service. Unfortunately, “And how was the meal, sir?” is just not a very scientific way of collecting feedback. Firstly, waiters can be quite intimidating, and secondly, you have a unreliable way of getting feedback to the proprietor. Like a turkey voting for Christmas, the server is hardly likely to admit “Customer says service was awful…”.
To make feedback more scientific, companies have invested in consumer research – but it’s expensive and can take time to process. Lack of common standards mean that one company’s results are hard to compare to another. And small sample sizes (like in the TV Worm example) can result in error. Finally, customer feedback can end up in the “Market Research ghetto” – giving useful strategic information, but rarely used to solve operational customer issues.
Last weeks Economist magazine had an article on firms focusing on customers: “...shareholder value should give way to ‘customer-driven capitalism’ in which firms ‘should instead aim to maximise customer satisfaction’. [...] Paul Polman [boss of Unilever] said ‘I do not work for the shareholder, to be honest I work for the consumer, the customer’…“. It is clearly becoming a boardroom priority – so how can business better tune into customer needs?
Many companies, including Philips, Vodafone, Canon and Electrolux have found the most effective method is real-time customer feedback through direct sales. Using a tool from CustomerGauge, these companies invite their online store to answer a one-page survey after each transaction, which asks for feedback and a 0 – 10 recommendation rating. They have standardised on the Net Promoter (R) methodology, which is simple to communicate to front-line staff, and allows benchmarking against other companies. Between 10% and 30% of all customers respond, many with comments that are used to shape the business.
In doing so, they are getting real-time feedback with a numeric score they can systematically graph and track (like the worm) and written customer feedback they can match to that customers history. Recently, one of these companies responded to customer comments by changing packaging on products and printing manuals in larger type which had a positive effect on their Net Promoter Score. Another succesfully re-launched an almost forgotten product that was highly rated by customers, who were acting as evangelists and introducing friends. A recent CustomerGauge innovation is digital signage to show comments coming into the business as they happen.
These companies have already found best practices which include
- responding to customer feedback within 24 hours (even the most unhappy clients respond positively to this)
- routing comments to department managers (and more junior staff members who are empowered to solve problems)
- and weekly review meetings where projects are reviewed a prioritised on the basis of customer sentiment.
The good news for customers is that real-time sampling of transactions like this is becoming more widespread, and businesses are waking up to its potential. Executives know customers can “sack” them and defect to the competition immediately. That is unlike the winning party on Thursday, which might be able to last around four years before being subjected again to the worm of customer opinion.
Free Webinar: The “Loyalty Robot”: Learn how to increase customer loyalty and grow online sales automatically
(How a handful of customers can make or break you…)
One of the surprising secrets of e-commerce is that a small number of customers account for a large amount of sales. In fact, on a recent sample of large sites, just 7% of the customers accounted for 50% of sales revenue. For most e-commerce sites, this means if a few hundred customers decide to return or leave, it can make a big difference to hitting sales targets. In this webinar, aimed at e-commerce professionals, we promise you will pick up some useful tips to improve customer retention.
- How to identify and segment your top spending customers
- Learn how to save money on acquisition and grow revenue from existing customers
- Build a “Loyalty Robot” to automatically develop repeat business
Adam Dorrell (Managing Director of CustomerGauge) and Melanie Otersen (ex- SonyStyle online store, Europe) will outline how to succeed using a customer loyalty strategy, and show real-life examples with impressive revenue growth.
Wednesday, 10 February, 2010.
Starting time: 17.00 Europe (Amsterdam, Paris), 16.00 London, 11.00 AM New York
Duration about 30 minutes. Free of charge, but limited places.
Mail for more info.
Every e-commerce professional tracks traffic and counts orders once a day, but rarely (if ever) checks customer feedback daily, weekly, or even monthly. Let’s look at some reasons for this, and why regular customer feedback will benefit your business.
Reasons we have heard for not taking regular customer feedback included: “not standard business practice”, “it’s extra workload”, “how will it benefit?” and “just too difficult”.
Here is what every e-commerce manager needs to know about daily feedback:
- It’s becoming the norm. World-class companies DO survey EVERY transaction for customer feedback. To mention a few: Sony, Philips, Canon, Avis, Hertz, eBay and many more. Feedback is an essential part of their daily business routine with comments distributed around the organisation. Also there IS an Industry Standard Methodology for measuring loyalty: the Net Promoter Score® - a simple, one-number approach, as understandable as page-views or profit.
- It’s not extra workload. If a customer complains in a survey, you would likely have to deal with that customer issue anyway (so it’s not additional workload, just time-shifted forward). More usually an unhappy customer will silently defect and never return. Unless you ask customers, you may never know how much business you are losing.
- It’s free consulting. Customer suggestions can help shape your business. We have seen examples where customer feedback helped merchandising give instant additional sales, and comments on manuals and packaging delivered cost-savings. In addition, positive comments can be used as testimonials on your site, which helps reassure future customers.
- It’s simple to implement. You can start a feedback project with a simple online survey tool and do it manually (actually, we started that way by doing monthly reports), but due to time lag we highly recommend that you automate it. Products like CustomerGauge have plug-ins for major e-commerce systems that automatically survey customers.
If you are still hesitant, here are some other points to consider:
Responding fast is impressive: When was the last time you had a response to a comment you made? You can transform customer experiences by responding quickly to feedback. Some large companies we deal with read and react to customer comments within 24 hours. That can turn the most hardened complainer into a delighted evangelist for a business.
Customer Focus: As a result of measuring, these same companies have become more customer oriented. Staff are bonused on Net Promoter Score, and welcome the feedback that customers give in order to improve service.
Give Us This Day Our Daily Feedback
Our customer feedback solution is CustomerGauge: a simple plug-in to your e-commerce site, paid monthly on subscription. All the hard work of integration and setting it up is handled by us. We arrange the emails, surveys (in different languages), automatic sending and reporting in real time. We deliver daily and weekly feedback to your staff by email. You can use positive comments and publish them on site as testimonials, which increase conversions significantly. CustomerGauge also helps keep your promises to customers: track open and closed customer issues with built-in workflow. And identify your most valuable returning customers with our real-time reporting.
In summary, Customer Feedback can become one of your essential Daily Metrics, tracked like your other Key Performance Indicators. You can receive it on a daily basis in your mailbox, and use metrics to check improvement. It is the business transformation you are looking for this year.
Join us today on our Campaign for Daily Customer Feedback and benefit from a January 2010 CustomerGauge offer: Free 30-day trial on your e-commerce website*