Gathering customer feedback is an important step in optimising the service delivery of your business. But this feedback needs to be analysed, pre-processed and cleaned up before you attempt to draw any meaningful conclusions.

The first step is to weed out feedback that is aspirational, hypothetical and based on third party statements. After this initial screening, you still have to decide what customer feedback you should listen to, and figure out how to make sense of it.

Here are 5 important things to consider in this process:

  1. The type of customer giving the feedback matters

In a business situation, the customer’s relationship with your business influences how much weight you give their feedback. Customers who have been loyal the longest have a wealth of experience with your product that makes their opinions particularly valuable. Do you have some customers who only started using your product six months ago but use it heavily? They’re likely to have a lot of insightful feedback. Do you have some customers who pay significantly more than others? You may want to factor that in too.

  1. Whether it’s prompted or unprompted – customer feedback matters

Unprompted feedback deserves special attention. Here’s one key reason why. The customer issues that aren’t on your radar, that you’re completely unaware of, can be the most important things you need to hear. You’re more likely to hear those left-field issues via unsolicited feedback or from open ended survey questions rather than, say, a survey with multiple choice answers. There’s a reason doctors ask if there’s “anything else you want to talk about?” at the end of your appointment. It often triggers the patient to talk about their most important issue.

  1. The customer’s motivations matter

Remember, people are generally motivated to provide unsolicited feedback if they have an extreme experience. That’s why you see restaurant reviews clustered around the “amazing” and “appalling” end of the spectrum. People perceive they’ll gain social capital from telling others about the great restaurant they just went to or by warning others against a terrible restaurant.

But the night your dinner was really average? You’re probably not going to bother writing a review because, well, what’s the point? It’s not a very interesting story is it?

.When it comes to customer feedback you receive about your business, you can expect there to be a similar pattern. Your customers are more motivated to tell you when they are very happy or unhappy about your product. However, this doesn’t mean that your customers only love/hate your product. You’ve probably got a large group in the middle who think your product is “fine”. These customers typically stay silent. Remember, they could also have useful feedback for you. If you’re smart, you’ll find ways to tease out their feedback.

  1. Volume matters

The overall volume of feedback about a single issue relative to other issues matters. It will also protect you from “ fre-cently” bias where people assume things they hear frequently or recently have the greatest importance.

  1. The stakes matter

Some feedback is worth listening to purely because of the severity of the problem the customer is experiencing.  When reviewing customer feedback, try to build a mechanism that alerts you to this kind of very occasional but high stakes feedback so you can take action straightaway.

There’s a huge range of customer feedback that you can mine for valuable insights. Software business tools that Surveway offers, makes it faster and easier than ever before. If you want to learn how to turn insights into action give me a call and I will be only too happy to discuss your unique situation with you. Call Christine on +27 11 568-0982 or on mobile:+27 844777717