“Without feedback, you won’t know if you satisfy the people you exist for — your customers. You won’t know if they use your product as intended and even if they want to continue doing business with you.”
~ Flori Needle, Senior Marketing Manager, HubSpot
How do you determine what your clients want from you? And how do you figure out what their customers want from them?
The answer’s simple: you ask them.
That’s the heart behind customer feedback — and our topic for today, customer feedback analysis.
Below, we’ll show you what customer feedback analysis looks like, why your agency needs to use it, how to do it right, and the benefits you’ll enjoy if you do.
What is a customer feedback analysis?
Customer feedback analysis is the process of collecting responses from customers, organizing and understanding that data, and then making actionable decisions based on the information received.
It incorporates numerous types of project management metrics, alongside quantitative data and qualitative feedback collected directly from customers.
Customer feedback analysis can be done in any business or industry that has customers. Your agency can perform a customer feedback analysis with your client base, and you can guide each client in doing their own.
Why is it important to analyze customer feedback?
Analyzing customer feedback is the surest way to understand what customers do and don’t like about a business’s products or services. So, it’s vital for any organization that wants to keep growing and moving forward.
Plus, it impacts the bottom line. In fact, 68% of customers spend more money on brands that they believe understand them and treat them individually.
Here are three specific ways that analyzing customer feedback benefits any agency.
Improving products and services
First, analyzing customer feedback will help in improving products and services. Your clients know better than anyone what is and isn’t working. So when they tell you, it’s a good idea to listen.
Customers aren’t always right — and some are tougher to please than others. But when significant portions of the customer base agree that something needs improvement, it definitely needs to be addressed.
And, of course, it also matters when most of the customer base loves something. This kind of positive feedback tells an agency it’s on the right track.
It’s not uncommon for a business to have an entirely different idea about what the next improvement/feature/product ought to be than what the customers think it should be. But by listening to customer feedback — and truly understanding what it means at scale — agencies can avoid this kind of shortsightedness or inward focus.
Identifying issues and pain points
Second, analyzing customer feedback will help with identifying issues and pain points. There’s a famous quote from warfare that goes something like, “No plan of battle survives first contact with the enemy.”
Now, we’re definitely not suggesting customers are the enemy! But there’s something similar going on here. No marketing campaign, product launch, piece of software, or anything else you or your clients make or provide survives contact with the first round of customers.
There are always unforeseen issues or pain points. And customer feedback analysis is an ideal way to identify the most important of these — so you can solve them.
Organizations with a customer support team already have mechanisms in place to respond to customer issues. And it usually only takes some small adjustments to turn those teams into feedback collectors.
The most widespread issues and pain points are almost certainly things the business’s CS teams hear about consistently. This information can give direction on where to focus efforts for improvement.
Gaining a competitive advantage
Last, analyzing customer feedback can help you and your clients gain a competitive advantage. By putting in the work to conduct customer feedback analysis and consistently and iteratively improve your products or services, you’ll outperform the competition over time.
How to conduct a customer feedback analysis
Getting actionable insights from customer feedback data takes time, effort, and the right analysis tools, but the results are worth the investment.
If you’re ready to conduct a thorough and effective customer feedback analysis, follow these seven steps.
1. Select feedback channels
The first step of the analysis process is figuring out how and where you’ll collect customer feedback.
When deciding on a method or channel for your own agency, something pretty direct, like “how did we do?” customer satisfaction surveys, can deliver valuable insights. But you’ll need to use a little more creativity when selecting feedback channels for your clients.
That’s because clients aren’t all the same, and they don’t all interact with their customers in the same exact ways. You’ll want to go for the channels that give the most well-rounded results with the least effort.
So evaluate the available feedback channels — surveys, customer reviews, social media, net promoter scores (NPS), customer support/customer success data, in-app messaging, etc. — and find the right mix for each client.
2. Collect and centralize feedback
Next up is collecting the data. This means running the survey, gathering customer support data, analyzing online reviews, and so forth.
When using multiple feedback channels, you’ll need to centralize and catalog the data from all the different sources. Don’t worry about making the data perfect yet — the first step is simply getting the data all into the same central location.
3. Clean and organize data
After you gather feedback and centralize it, it’s time to make that qualitative data make sense.
You might have duplicate information, irrelevant fields, or sets of feedback data that are organized differently from others. Getting all your data into a standard format is key if you want to use any feedback analytics tools. And it’s pretty important even if you’re analyzing the data manually.
Depending on your data collection method, what you intend to do with that data, and the industries you support, you may also need to anonymize data during this stage.
4. Analyze sentiment and categorize
Sentiment analysis is the process of determining whether a piece of customer feedback has a positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. You’ll look at each of these categories with slightly different eyes, so getting that feedback into the right categories is key.
Dividing feedback by customer sentiment helps speed up the overall process, especially as you or your client scales the customer feedback intake. The more feedback you’re dealing with, the tougher the analysis gets.
Once you’ve divided feedback by sentiment, you’ll want to further segment that feedback into key themes or issues. If you plan to use CSAT scores, those will likely come into play here as well.
For example, say you have a client that sells pet supplies. Among the client’s customer feedback are comments about products breaking, cost, and available colors, sizes, or finishes.
Those are distinct categories that require different solutions, so it’s not enough to know only that there’s more negative than positive feedback. You need to know what kinds of elements are getting consistent negative feedback.
5. Identify trends and prioritize
With sentiment analysis and categorization complete, you’re ready to identify trends. Look for recurring patterns in the data (like consistent complaints about a specific pet product breaking too quickly).
You likely can’t fix everything at once, and not every single negative review is worth acting upon. But when certain issues keep popping up as you read through the datasets, you’re likely discovering problems that need fixing.
You can prioritize issues using these factors:
How widespread the problem is
How severe the impact is
How possible the fix is
6. Implement improvements
With user feedback trends identified and prioritized, it’s time to start making the relevant changes.
Chasing random pieces of customer feedback is an approach that gets chaotic in a hurry, and it definitely doesn’t scale. That’s why businesses must make data-driven changes to products, services, or processes, focusing on the highest priority and most widespread issues first.
Bonus tip: Sometimes, it’s smart to communicate directly with customers about the improvements you’ve made. But when to do so is a fine line.
You don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to a flaw or weakness. But youwant the market to understand that you’ve solved the problem — especially if that problem hurt sales or damaged the business’s reputation.
7. Monitor, measure, and close the loop
Once you’ve made changes based on customer feedback, the job’s not quite finished. You also need to follow up and monitor the impact of the change. Are customers reacting as expected? Did the changes deliver the results your client needed?
While it might be satisfying to close the loop on customer feedback and end the process, open communication and ongoing feedback is the better goal.
Benefits of customer feedback analysis
Gathering and analyzing quality customer feedback is a smart move for any agency or business because of the results it delivers, including:
Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty
Customer feedback analysis improves customer loyalty, satisfaction, and retention in several ways. First, in many situations, customers appreciate being asked for feedback. Even that basic step shows that a business cares what its customers think.
Second, customers notice when brands make changes based on customer feedback (and communicate those changes correctly). In business, just as in everyday life, it’s natural to be loyal to someone who’s listening to you and making the changes you need.
Third, making changes based on customer needs and feedback ultimately makes the product or service better than it was. And better offerings tend to equal greater customer satisfaction.
Data-driven decision making
Customer feedback analysis will also enable your agency to make data-driven decisions. Trying to improve services or operations based on feel or vibes is one thing. Making specific, targeted changes your clients are asking for? That’s a whole new level of data-driven change.
This plays out in countless ways for your agency (and for your clients). Which feature or service or whatever else should you (or your clients) focus on next? It’s not always the one the loudest voice in the room is championing. And when you have the data to prove it, you’ll have an easier time overcoming that voice.
Opportunities for innovation
Customer feedback analysis also provides opportunities for innovation. Feedback can point out a problem that doesn’t have a specific or obvious solution, setting your team’s creative minds in a new problem-solving direction.
By trying to address a customer concern, you may discover a new way of meeting a need or wander into an innovative new revenue opportunity.
Positive feedback can spur innovation, too. Just like positive internal feedback motivates a sales team, positive customer feedback can fuel organizations to further innovate in the areas customers appreciate.
Instead of focusing on a product feature that no one cares particularly much about, your clients can focus on building even more value into the things that are already moving the needle.
Strengthened brand reputation
When customers feel valued and truly heard by a business, they tend to become bigger fans of that business. Brand reputation grows stronger as a business or agency becomes known for the way it listens to and solves customer concerns.
We’ve all encountered the opposite, and if given the choice between a brand that listens and one that doesn’t, we’re choosing the brand with the positive reputation every time. So it’s a great way to minimize churn and keep both existing and new customers coming back for more.
Organize your agency’s workflows with Teamwork.com
Customer feedback analysis is a powerful way to achieve better results for your agency and for your clients. It enables you to improve the customer experience and add the functionality or new features customers are looking for.
But keeping track of all this data analysis is hard work — especially for creative-heavy agencies that don’t love spending their days engrossed in Excel spreadsheets.
Teamwork.com is the perfect solution for optimizing your agency’s workflows. Our robust task management software is easy to pick up and start using, making it the ideal software platform for tracking customer feedback analysis projects.