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Fostering a Customer Feedback Culture

As insights and decisions become more data driven, it’s not surprising to have initiatives questioned with, “Do you have the data to back that up?” And this is a good thing. People are making more informed decisions without having to rely overly much on the uncertainty of hunches.
But to many companies, obtaining feedback is often seen as something that is out of their control. Sure, you can spruce up survey invitations and hit your customers’ inboxes with catchy subject lines. But in the end, it’s up to your customers to decide whether they can be bothered taking the time and effort to tell you how you might be able to improve your business. Right?
Well, that’s not entirely true.
There’s a mindset involved in getting your customers to submit feedback. You need to create the sort of environment that fosters feedback-giving. Taking a step back, there are three main areas to consider:

  1. The customer journey and interactions you’re asking for feedback about.
  2. The ease of providing feedback — whether it’s an unobtrusive and seamless part of the customer experience itself.
  3. Whether customers know that you’re doing something with their feedback — whether your company actually looks at and implements thoughtful suggestions.

All three areas play a significant role in the world of software development. The very purpose of alphas, betas, and previews is to give users an opportunity to share feedback, iron out bugs, and suggest useful product features. You can see this in full force in the preview version of Windows 10. The Windows Feedback app is tightly integrated into the Operating System — from a feedback hub where users can add and see other suggestions to notification balloons soliciting feedback, which appear when users perform certain tasks.
While it certainly helps to have a product that’s digital and online, companies from other industries are also adopting these approaches to cultivate feedback-sharing with their customers. Nationwide Building Society, a British mutual financial institution and the largest building society in the world, has a customer portal with a page titled “You asked, we acted,” which outlines the feedback they’ve received and how they’re acting on customer suggestions to improve the customer experience. And these efforts have had a positive effect. Nationwide was recently named one of the 10 most improved organizations in the UK over the last five years and a customer satisfaction leader in the financial services industry.
The way that you promote your feedback program to your customers is indicative of your company’s customer centricity. It’s a virtuous cycle. Create a healthy environment for dialogue and your customers will respond.

Photo credit: Sonny Abesamis

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