JoAnn Bridges, Director of Learning and Knowledge Management at ECI Software Solutions talks about the importance of a strong customer feedback loop in a digital sales and marketing environment and what can power a well-oiled feedback system:
Could you tell us more about ECi Software and your role there?
ECI Software Solutions provides industry-specific business software solutions and services, focusing on cloud-based technologies. For more than 30 years, ECI has served small to medium-sized manufacturing, wholesale/retail distribution, building and construction and field service organizations. In my role as Director of Learning and Knowledge Management, I am focused on building customer relationships and developing resources that can help them reach their full potential through our variety of tech solutions.
Customer feedback and building a good feedback loop is crucial in sales and marketing today, how in your view can sales/marketing leaders tighten this process?
Customer feedback should be seen as a gift; good or bad. Right now, industry research shows consumers largely feel like their voices are not being heard so they forgo the idea of providing feedback. An article by Market Connections notes that 96% of customers will not complain, figuring there is no use or benefit in doing so. However, they will undoubtedly share their experience with coworkers and peers. It is also reported that for every one customer who complains, there are 26 others who remain silent, under the assumption that they’d just be ignored.
This perception towards providing feedback is perpetuated by organizations putting a weak investment towards customer service, which leads to poor customer experiences. Sales and marketing teams need to prioritize listening to customer feedback and making sure they feel heard. There are small steps teams can make to start tightening this process by encouraging customer feedback through surveys and acknowledging any customer complaints with plans to correct these pain points.
In what ways can smaller to mid-sized businesses and teams use customer feedback to their benefit and to retain/grow customers?
Small to medium-size companies often let customer feedback fall to the wayside because they are strapped for resources and choose to allocate time towards other business areas they assume are more critical than CX. However, for these scrappy businesses where relationships are the foundation for a strong customer retention strategy, customer experiences and cultivating these leads should be seen as more important than customer acquisition. In addition to improving customer loyalty, it’s far more cost-effective to focus on retaining customers by building those relationships over trying to invest resources to attract new ones.
Why in your view should smaller/medium teams be focusing on customer feedback and experiences more today?
The level of customer experience consumers expect today is vastly higher than what it was just a few years ago. If small and medium teams want to remain competitive in this crowded market, they need to make impactful and strategic investments towards this area of the business.
Having defined processes for receiving and tracking customer feedback allows teams to be more responsive to customers’ complaints and turn any unpleasant issues into positive interactions. By developing action plans and conducting meaningful follow-ups, businesses can save churning customers and boost overall customer satisfaction.
What are some essential tools that sales-marketing teams should have as part of their sales-martech when implementing a real-time customer feedback process?
Having a successful real-time customer feedback process requires a formal mechanism to track, report on, and put measures in place to eliminate any issues going forward. When tools can track the primary and contributing factors for negative feedback, this can help sales and marketing teams make business changes, as needed. This data can also be used to examine the root causes with the goal of one day, eliminating customer complaints altogether.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital sales/customer communication tips and best practices before we wrap up!
In today’s competitive landscape, great customer service can be the key differentiator between you and your competitors. Customer feedback is a powerful guide that provides the insights needed to ensure you are improving and evolving to meet the needs of your customers and can deliver a great experience at each opportunity. It is not just about collecting surveys; it is about having a proactive process to let customer know you heard them and then to take action. When this is done well, the rewards are worth the investment.
For more than 30 years, ECI Software Solutions has been providing industry-specific, cloud-based business management software and services to small and medium-sized businesses.
JoAnn Bridges is the Director of Learning and Knowledge Management at ECI Software Solutions
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