Why Do I Need To Centralize My Customer Feedback?

In this earlier post, we talked about how gathering and analyzing customer feedback can feel overwhelming and how it doesn’t have to. Rather, feedback can be a top tool in helping you build a product people need. But to make feedback useful, you need to be able to access your data easily. You need to be able to see the big picture behind the many interactions your customers are having with you in multiple channels. If your customer feedback is not yet centralized here are a few good reasons why you should get all of your feedback in one place.

Reason One: Efficiency

If you find yourself or your team members spending countless hours copying and pasting feedback from different sources, exporting .csv files from multiple platforms, or creating unreliable hacks around your customer feedback analysis, it is time to stop and reflect.

Making all your data available in one place is simply convenient. Stop running around doing admin work that can be done in minutes instead of hours. The job at hand is to get insights from your data and act on those insights.

One of the benefits of investing in a centralized feedback hub is the ability to cross-reference your data. For example, you could take customer support tickets from customers who recently cancelled, couple them with responses from your NPS detractors, and identify the themes among the problems people experience before and after they churn (cancel).

But what if you could filter that same data by customer segments? This would give you a better picture of what types of customers are the most affected or what type of customer you need to prioritize. It would tell you who your core, most valuable users are. Pretty neat, right?

The possibilities are endless. Cross-referencing the right data across the business not only helps answer more questions faster, but also helps the organization ask better questions in the first place.

Borrowing from a real life example, in this interview, Ashley Rodan from HomePass said,

“In the past, when we’ve just used our opinions on what we think should happen, it’s been harder to agree on the best approach. We have a lot of great Product Developers and Product Designers, and everyone has strong ideas of where the product should go.”

He added,

“With more data and more stats now available around our customer feedback, it’s helping everyone to resonate with what our customers are really saying.”

Reason Two: Return On Investment

In a world where starting a business is significantly cheaper than it was just a decade ago, customer experience has become the center of competitive advantage. Loyalty and word of mouth are the most effective catalysts for growth. The more your customers spread the word about the business, the less marketing spend is required. The more loyal your customers become, the more likely it is for them to upgrade or try different products in your arsenal.

With so many SaaS and tech companies focused on acquisition, Price Intelligently did some research indicating that improving your retention or monetization has 2-4x the impact as improving your acquisition, as seen below.

The ROI of centralizing your data comes from learning from your customers faster and making better decisions in relation to what they need and want from your business. The result is a loyal customer base of people who will stick with you as competition continues to grow and the market becomes more saturated.

The key is to make a conscious effort to focus on retaining customers and to do that you need to put the right processes in place. Without the foundations, there is no innovation.

In this interview, Zack Price of zkipster shares how his company transitioned from an informal process to an intentional customer feedback loop,

“Before, we’d kind of just be putting a list of things together of what we thought were important, or had heard during the week through our feedback sources. That’s how we would deliver our feedback.”

He added,

“Our system now allows us to speak transparently about feedback, where things are working great, where things are not, and being able to focus from that feedback on what specific features we want improve and put our resources into.”

Reason Three: Employee Retention

How often do you field questions from your teammates about customers?

Sometimes businesses are lucky and find themselves with highly motivated team members who will fight their way to the answers they need. But more often than not, they’ll just give up and stick closely to the excuse of not truly understanding the target audience. As Tomasz Tunguz puts it in his book Winning with Data:

“Data breadlines suffocate organizations. Teams don’t receive timely answers to their questions or any answers at all. Data analysts don’t leverage their expertise to its fullest extent. Teams make uninformed decisions. Consequently, the company never realizes the true value of its investment in people or data.”

Your team members get frustrated when they don’t have the data they need to make decisions. They get tired of pushing for the information and waiting too long to get answers. This is rarely a result of leadership ignoring them, but rather a lack of effective systems for quickly pulling that data. The more a business grows and the more complex the organizational structure becomes, the harder it is to get quick, well-informed answers.

Your team needs data to feel empowered and confident about the decisions they’re making. If you want them to have empathy for customers, one way of achieving it is giving them access to what your customer are saying. Humans are more receptive to stories than numbers.

Creating Your Customer Feedback Hub

There are multiple ways to centralize your customer feedback. It depends considerably on what sources you’d like to aggregate and how sophisticated you need the system to be.

Most companies start with spreadsheets, Wikis, or Trello boards as primary methods for tracking feedback and user requests. However, this approach cannot scale over time. As the business grows, the feedback process becomes more complex with more sources added and more teams getting involved.

Companies like Mailchimp have hacked their way into building a customer feedback repository out of Evernote. It requires time and commitment to build, but it’s worth it after everything is setup properly. In the words of Aarron Walter, Mailchimp’s Director of UX:

“As we’ve opened our data up between teams, interesting things have happened. People who wouldn’t normally have occasion for conversation are meeting regularly to compare notes and share what they’ve learned. Our “data nerds” now get together for lunch and share stories of the projects they’re working on. Data sharing is leading to new collaborations we never would have imagined.”

You can learn more about their approach in this 30-minute talk:

Other companies build their own systems. For example, Atlassian created an internal data hub for centralizing feedback. They mixed feedback coming from customer support systems, social media, and Net Promoter Score surveys, and identified three core themes: reliability, functionality and usability. These themes help them understand their data and minimize the number of requests they receive from customers by focusing on the right areas of the product.

Here’s a detailed view into their process:

Find a method for centralizing feedback that works for your company’s specific needs. The right approach is simple to implement and can allow multiple teams to collaborate in the process. From spreadsheets to custom solutions, the possibilities are endless.

If you want to centralize all of your feedback in minutes, we invite you to check out EnjoyHQ – built so teams can create their own feedback and research hub quickly and easily.