Encouraging Customer Feedback to Foster Brand Champions

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
By urging consumers to share both positive and negative sentiment, companies gain the power to improve the customer experience, strengthening both satisfaction and loyalty in the process.

While some consumers wish to boast about an amazing experience, others choose to vent about their frustrations with a given brand. Regardless, each bit of feedback offered represents the average customer's desire to have their voice heard so their views may enact change within an organization. Yet, while many believe their insight is worthwhile and that companies actively listen to what they have to share, countless other consumers feel their feedback falls on deaf ears.

Verint System Inc.'s recent "How to Encourage Customer Champions" report explores customer satisfaction and engagement with the service providers and brands they interact with most. The study establishes that there's a distinct link between customers receiving attention and feeling valued, with 34 percent of 1,000 U.S. consumers polled believing that companies take notice of their views, ranking higher than the five-region (U.S., U.K., Germany, Poland, and Russia) average of 29 percent. Only 28 percent of U.S. consumers feel companies don't take notice of their feedback. The results also demonstrate that voice of the customer initiatives encourage increased engagement, with such insights offering growth opportunities for both companies and consumers.

According to the study, there are four types of consumers that dominate the market in 2014:

  1. Brand Champions (17 percent)-Customers who will sing the brand's praises, sustain long-term loyalty, and be most likely to get rewarded in return.
  2. Silent Likers (26 percent)-Customers who may be loyal and happy, but rarely talk about their experiences or engage with the given brand.
  3. Fence Sitters (14 percent)-Customers who appear ambivalent about the service they receive, hence their lack of engagement.
  4. Churners (23 percent)-Customers who are constantly on the hunt for better deals and won't hesitate to leave if they're dissatisfied with service.

Consumers also revealed how they perceive the companies they do business with, as well as their likelihood to share feedback and remain loyal:

  • While 49 percent of U.S. consumers feel valued as customers, compared to the regional average of 39 percent, 42 percent believe the power of social media's influence has helped them to hold brands accountable.
  • Of those U.S. consumers polled, 52 percent have never complained, 38 percent are happy, but still complain, 35 percent are unhappy, but rarely complain, and 29 percent feel that feedback is not worth giving.
  • U.S. consumers complain about home broadband (18 percent), home telephone (16 percent), and mobile service providers (11 percent) at least several times each year.
  • While those consumers polled have stuck with their bank (74 percent), utilities (70 percent), and credit card company (68 percent) for three years or more, "Churners" have switched their home telephone (12 percent), insurance (10 percent), and mobile service provider (10 percent) to obtain a better deal.

Key takeaway: According to the survey, 85 percent of "Brand Champions" stay with a company for more than three years because these consumers maintain their loyalty and happiness by vocalizing their pleasure and discontent when the need arises. However, customers of all types must recognize that nothing comes from nothing. Consumers must willingly share their views, whether displeased or content, and companies must encourage such feedback, as such insights will only help strengthen the customer relationship. With an array of technological advancements, capturing voice of the customer data has become easier than ever, making companies increasingly eager to dive into actionable consumer sentiment and make adjustments consistent with the customer experience. Ultimately, those consumers who share their views and feedback will reap the benefits, as their insights will allow their favorite brands to grow in ways that will constantly surprise and delight, thereby fostering increased retention.