Sometimes we all just need a friend who will listen to what we have to say. But listening to your customers from a business perspective takes on a much more active role than just listening. Thats where customer intelligence comes in.

If you are wondering if you understand your customers, take a minute to ask yourself these three questions:

Are you really listening to what your customers have to say about your services, your product or your business? How are you getting their feedback? More importantly, how are you acting on that feedback or using it to build loyal customer relationships?

Loyalty and customer experience are highly correlated across all industries. With the economy the way it’s been, it’s no surprise that these two entities have become increasingly more important for businesses to focus on.

A article featured on destinationCRM.com by Justin Schuster offers “Five Essential Tips” to help you build loyalty, gain a competitive edge and improve your bottom line by gathering customer intelligence feedback and using it to make better business decisions.

He acknowledged, “You’ve heard the mantra from customer service advocates: ‘Listen to your customers. Hear what they say.’ But do you do it? You may already conduct customer surveys to get direct feedback. But most companies capture feedback at infrequent intervals, or through one-off surveys. Few of those businesses follow through and take action on customer complaints. Fewer still use customer data to make better-informed decisions and improve business processes.”

“It takes more than collecting and analyzing survey data to cultivate satisfied customers — it takes an ongoing commitment to relationship-building.”–from Justin Schuster’s article, “Five Essential Tips to Mastering Customer Intelligence”

According to Schuster, marketers who measure the impact of their Customer Intelligence (CI) say that it not only boosts campaign-specific metrics, but also improves customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction, as well as revenue, profitability, and customer value. Below are his five helpful tips:

1. Combine science when it comes to customer feedback

Under this first tip, Schuster talks about the importance of gaining a genuine knowledge of important issues and trends that come from ongoing customer input. To facilitate this, he suggests establishing a “voice of the customer” feedback technology solution that will set up a “scientific method” to set consistent customer surveys or questionnaires, measurements and longitudinal progress reports.

RELATED: Download the Voice of the Customer Starter Kit

Art comes into play as you discover all the different channels that the voice of your customer can be heard, including open-ended survey questions, and using a flexible feedback tool to capture their valuable comments and insights.

To do this, Qualtrics offers enterprise feedback management solutions to help industry-leaders gather daily survey data, translate customer feedback into action plans, and increases the percentage of satisfied customers.

2. Monitor your customer experience in real-time

Schuster suggests finding, “a customer feedback solution that captures transactional data at various touch points in real time.” This will indicate where your business processes are working or where they aren’t. An important feature your feedback system should be able to do is send alerts when customer responses turn negative, such as an email trigger. This will enable you to identify and take action on problems immediately.

3. Close the loop

While the aforementioned alerts on negative feedback are indispensable, following-up makes an equally substantial difference in improving your customer’s experience. Try to set up an action management process where teams or individuals set deadlines to follow up on alerts, identify causes, and track results. The key is to be proactive in resolving potential or current problems.

Check out Qualtrics closed-loop customer followup software

4. Take your customers’ advice

Schuster said that the businesses should “embrace constructive feedback and engage with your customers by acting on their advice.” As a result, “when customers see your business take corrective action, they know they’ve been heard and are more likely to become stalwart fans.”

5. Make customer satisfaction an integral part of your organization

A big part of this final step involves being proactive. Don’t let customer service slip under the radar as a trivial business objective, and equally fruitless, don’t let your feedback disappear into a black hole.

Have a proactive customer service program in play, supported by a customer feedback solution to help your organization use customer intelligence effectively.  It will inevitably lead to stronger customer relationships and open up new revenue opportunities.

We hope you find these five tips helpful in continuing to provide the best services to your customers.

To learn how to build more customer intelligence in your company download out Voice of the Customer Starter Kit below

eBook: Voice of the Customer Starter Kit

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This post was originally published in Sept 2010 and was republished in Oct 2018