Dealing with feedback: The essentials

When it comes to loyalty programmes, we speak extensively about the importance of dealing with feedback and listening to customers. In this article, we’ll explore how we do that practically, and share our understanding of how brands can act on feedback to elevate their loyalty programmes.

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What is customer feedback?

Brand loyalty is a key driver of business success. Companies invest heavily in marketing and advertising to attract new customers, but retaining those customers is often the real challenge.

One of the most effective strategies for fostering brand loyalty is considering customer feedback. For the average internet user, certain experiences have become a normal part of navigating the web. For example, if we were to choose 100 users and ask them if they’ve ever been asked to fill in a short survey after completing an action online (e.g., making a purchase, using a new programme or even speaking), it’s very likely the answer would be yes.

Why? Brands want feedback.

Customer feedback is defined as the opinions and insights that come from your customers, directly relating to your products and services. These insights can come in several forms, from social listening to web forms and online reviews, to market research groups and even testimonials.

When we speak of loyalty programmes, time and time again you’ll hear brands speaking on the importance of staying connected to consumers, listening to their members, and understanding what their customers want.  

The importance of receiving feedback from customers

Customer feedback helps businesses understand what their customers need and expect. By listening to their customers, companies can identify areas where they excel and areas that need improvement. This insight is crucial for making informed decisions that enhance the customer experience.

Having loads of members signed up to your programme is great. But we often see a stark difference between the amount of people signed up versus the amount of actively engaged members. Data from a YouGov survey says that 77% of British adults are members of at least one loyalty programme. But at the same time, data from Bond Brand Loyalty says that consumers actively participate with only 50% of the programmes they’re part of.

Clearly, there’s a gap here. This is where the value of feedback comes in.  

Hearing from your customers is a surefire way to understand how they’re feeling and could provide the answer for issues such as a lack of engagement. This direct customer data can help to inform changes to be made based on findings and can guide how your brand’s loyalty programme will move forward.

When customers see that a company values their opinions and acts on their feedback, it builds trust. Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship, including the one between a brand and its customers. By showing that they care about their customers' experiences, companies can foster a loyal customer base.

Here are a few specific areas where we think feedback can help to support loyalty programmes.

1. Helping to prioritise areas for development. 

In knowing exactly how your customers feel about your loyalty programme, you can identify weak points and where changes could be made.  It can help brands to figure out the most pressing issues to tackle, working on these to improve, and creating a better programme for your customers.

For instance, Data on The State of Brand Loyalty says that 84.3% of consumers are more inclined to be loyal to a brand whose values align with their own. Knowing this information can give brands a steer on how to better serve customers. This could be through communicating your brand values more explicitly, partnering with organisations that hold the same values or even thinking about redemption options that help your members to express these values (e.g. allowing members to donate points to charity).

2. Measuring customer satisfaction.

Data tells us that 95% of customers who have had a bad experience with a company will tell others about it. Furthermore, acquiring new customers can be costly for a brand considering the money, time and resources it takes. In fact, there are even metrics brands use to help them calculate their acquisition cost.

Customer satisfaction therefore is incredibly important and collecting feedback can help brands to improve their loyalty programmes in a way that will increase and sustain a high level of satisfaction among their members.

3. Brand advocacy. 

Providing feedback has the power to help your customers feel more closely connected to your brand, as their voices are being listened to and opinions considered, tapping into the emotional side of loyalty through connectivity.

In our loyalty roundtable last year, Finnbar Cornwall from Google talked about the importance of emotional loyalty for a long-term loyalty strategy.

You have to get into that emotional side as that will help you keep customers. We want customers emotionally connected to your brand, yes this will mean they have expectations of you as a brand, but it gives you the opportunity to meet these.

There’s no better way to build brand advocacy than through real conversation with your customers and listening to their advice to build a better and more rewarding programme. According to data from Microsoft, 77% of customers have a more favourable view of brands that ask for and accept customer feedback, emphasizing the importance of open dialogue and feedback. 

4. Gives brands the chance to celebrate wins and successes. 

As well as knowing where to improve, it’s also helpful to know what customers love about your loyalty programme. Every brand has its own strengths in this area and it’s useful to know what yours is, to better leverage them as part of your strategy. Knowing the features of your programme that customers love can also help to guide future developments.

Providing the right mediums

In our article Embrace tech but make it human we identified the importance of having various mediums in which customers can reach you based on their preferences. It could be email, text or chatbot, but it’s also useful to have options where your consumers can reach you by phone and speak to a real person.

When speaking about loyalty programmes using automated services in our previous customer roundtable, IAGL Chief Customer Officer Silvia Espinosa de los Monteros said having ‘machines (alone) developing the experiences, potentially makes it cold for the customer.’

At every touchpoint, we want to make the loyalty experience as easy as possible for our consumers so whilst we talk about the value of receiving feedback, the mediums in which we do this are equally as important. 

How IAGL considers customer feedback 

When thinking about the matters relating directly to our customers, getting insight from the people who know the customers like no other is only right. We spoke to Michelle Quickfall, The Voice of Customer Lead at IAGL, who answered a few questions to help us gain a better insight into the value of collecting feedback and what it meant for our business. 

Question 1: What mediums have you found most effective for collecting feedback from your members? 

Michelle: We utilise a range of digital mediums to collect feedback, as we have many customer touchpoints. Simple ratings work well on apps and websites, and we use email to invite customers to participate in longer studies.

Question 2: How do you interpret the feedback you receive? What does that process look like? 

Michelle: We use a wide range of statistical and analytical tools, and techniques to interpret results. This is continuous work for our business, and we build and evolve our customer narratives and understanding daily. We openly share our customer learnings across our business, identify knowledge gaps and build plans to answer those outstanding questions.

Question 3: What forms of feedback have been most useful? How do quantitative data and qualitative data compare? 

Michelle: All feedback is valuable as long as you’re prepared to listen to it and act on it as a result. We work with both quantitative and qualitative data. We take a fit for purpose approach based on the business needs or brief we are addressing. Quant can provide robust evidence to support business cases or qualify more significant changes to the customer experience or proposition. Qual adds depth and richness to understanding why our customers might think or behave in a specific way.

Question 4: As technology and connectivity play a bigger and bigger role in our lives, how do you see customer feedback shaping loyalty programmes as a whole? 

Michelle: Our principles remain that we need to listen to our customers, learn what is important to them and then act accordingly to best meet their needs. The feedback loyalty programmes can gather through digital behaviours, market research and customer feedback help them to ensure that their knowledge keeps pace with changing customer sentiment and behaviours. These are table stakes to stay relevant and appealing in the future and should fuel future innovations and programme enhancements. 

The secret to moving forward 

Customer feedback is a powerful tool for building and maintaining brand loyalty. By understanding and acting on customer insights, businesses can improve their products, services, and overall customer experience. In a market where customer preferences are constantly evolving, leveraging feedback ensures that companies stay relevant and connected with their audience. Ultimately, a customer-focused approach not only drives loyalty but also propels business success.

When your members know that they’re being listened to, and that their insights are truly transforming and improving the programme, they’ll keep coming back. The important thing is to create structures that consider feedback and ensure positive changes can be made.

For more insight on feedback at IAGL or how you can utilise this information for your loyalty programme, contact us here.


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