We live in an age where customers expect to be able to give their feedback on everything almost instantly. Products can be instantly reviewed on Amazon, restaurants critiqued on Yelp, hostels on TripAdvisor. If customers feel unheard, they can turn to Twitter and other social media platforms to share their opinions.
So, it’s important to collect useful feedback from your customers to ensure they feel valued and also action their comments. However, the danger is if you receive an extremely large volume of feedback, it can be overwhelming for your team and paralyze action. Or any action that may be taken is likely to be confused and ineffective.
Sean Cramer, Head of Voice of the Customer at Atlassian, has some top recommendations for dealing with large volumes of customer feedback. He knows what he’s talking about, because Atlassian successfully deals with 25,000 pieces of comments every week of customer feedback.
Sean joined us for a webinar to investigate the RUF framework that Atlassian use to get customer feedback, then organize and deal with it. You can watch the full webinar, ‘RUFing it out with customer feedback: knowing the “Why”‘ here.
Why your company needs customer feedback
Feedback helps you improve your products and services. With the sheer amount of choice and ease of changing supplier these days, you can’t afford to ignore your customers.
With this in mind, your company needs to make sense of the feedback it’s getting.
Don’t just collect feedback and fail to do anything about it. You can keep more customers returning to or recommending your business by seeking their feedback, and, more importantly, by acting on their recommendations.
Research shows that customers are actually more loyal after there has been a challenge to their loyalty but the company has dealt with the situation successfully, rather than if there had never been any problem in the first place.
Dealing effectively with customer feedback will improve your bottom line.
How to be great at customer service
The rather unique company values at Atlassian influence their successful RUF model for customer service. Atlassian’s aim is to unleash the potential of other teams through collaboration, and their values are:
- Play as a team
- Open company
- Be the change you seek
- Don’t #@!% the customer
- Build with heart and balance
These no-nonsense values underpin how you should be approaching your customers and their feedback.
Understand your feedback
Results can be difficult to analyze if you have a large enough pool of feedback – in the case of Atlassian, that’s 25,000 comments a week across all their channels. It can be helpful to categorize the feedback into several themes using a pre-defined system. And here we arrive at the RUF framework.
The themes used by Atlassian are:
- Reliability – the performance, the up-time, bugs
- Usability – how easy are features to find, the complexity of a product, navigation
- Functionality – missing features, things customers would like, editing capabilities
Keep it simple
RUF allows your company to keep your approach to feedback simple while also facilitating deeper dives into the information.
Look at the spread of the feedback across the different categories. In Atlassian’s case, they noticed that 6% of comments were about functionality, 31% about reliability and a whopping 63% were about usability.
With this method, you can see that the area requiring the most attention and resource is usability – how easy the product or service is to use for the customer.
Categorize and measure
- Find the sources of your feedback, understand the funnel and track the frequency and density of the comments.
- Measure your feedback by finding out who said what, how many people said it, and what area of your product or service it relates to.
- Categorize content by grouping it into the RUF themes – reliability, usability, and functionality – and any subthemes you think will bring greater clarity.
Determine impact of insights
- Figure out the issues you might face and get commitment from your team to improve the situation. Make sure your company is willing to listen to feedback.
- Establish the baseline you are starting with so you will be able to measure how much you have improved.
Build the feedback system
- Create insights by identifying 3-5 opportunities for improvement per product or system, by taking the changes that you think will have the most impact. Share this with the team.
- Monitor the outcome of the improvements on a regular basis, either monthly or quarterly and share the outcome with product managers and executives.
- Communicate this impact internally by sharing any feedback and improvements with all employees.
Closing the feedback loop
- If a customer gives their feedback make sure you respond to them within 48 hours.
- As you go through the feedback process, don’t be afraid to share your insights with your customers (without committing to a timeframe).
- Blog about the changes you’ve made, and even consider emailing your customers about your success – be proud of how much you’ve improved!
The RUF system for dealing with customer feedback is useful for handling large volumes of comments. RUFs value lies in how it can divide comments into helpful categories, bringing greater clarity to the wide range of comments that customers are likely to share.
By identifying a baseline performance for your company and measuring improvements over time, you can develop a reliable system for successfully responding to customer feedback. Finally, communication is key: make sure you transmit the changes both internally to your employees, and externally to your customers.