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While many brands and organizations say they are focusing on customer feedback and the Voice of the Customer (VoC), many customers aren’t quite sure that is the case. In Microsoft’s new State of Global Customer Service Report, almost half (48%) of the 5,000 consumers surveyed across Brazil, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States said that while they may be asked for feedback on their customer service experience and how to improve it, they do not believe most brands take action on what is being provided to them.

Similar findings were reported in a recent Economist Intelligence Unit report titled Creating a Seamless Customer Experience. While executives surveyed for this report noted inadequate or siloed technologies as the major obstacle to delivering an ideal customer experience, consumers surveyed for this same report noted that they think it’s a lack of interest in customer satisfaction (45%) and a failure to perceive customer needs (31%) that’s keeping companies from giving them a better customer experience. Only 14% believed it was due to outdated or inadequate technologies.

So what can companies do to prove that they are not only listening to the voice of their customer, but acting on it? It revolves around closing the customer feedback loop.

Many brands now follow the best practice of requesting customer feedback across all major customer service channels. Some even go beyond to monitor communities and review sites, and even ask front line agents, to collect what customers are saying about their products, services, customer service and customer experience.

Some of the best share feedback across the brand or organization to shape product development, revise and improve marketing messaging, fix obstacles that might be increasing customer efforts and even involve the CEO in serving as a customer service and customer experience ambassador and role model.

But the next, and most important step, is coming full circle to engage with the customer who took time to provide their feedback in the first place. And not just to thank them for their feedback with an automated or personal response, but to let them know what action was taken from the praise, complaint or suggestion for improvement they shared.

At a recent conference, our customer Chobani shared how build customer loyalty by doing the above, either through a handwritten note, a tweet with a picture on social or even bringing back a limited-time yogurt flavor because they want their voice of the customer to be heard and be part of their growth and success.

In our same State of Global Customer Service report referenced above, 97% of consumers said that customer service is important not only in their choice of – but their loyalty to – a brand. To gain and retain customers, don’t just listen to feedback. Take action. and then be sure to take that next step to let them know you did.

Are you closing the customer feedback loop?

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Get the 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report

Whether you’re in customer service, marketing, sales, IT – or especially if you’re the CEO, CFO or CDO – you’ll be fascinated by the results revealed by Microsoft’s new 2016 Global State of Customer Service Report which polled 5,000 consumers across Brazil, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US on their customer service preferences and expectations.

The variations based on both geography and age will either confirm or totally change the way you think about, invest in, improve and incorporate customer service as a foundation of your brand or organization.

View Microsoft's on-demand webinar discussing this year's fascinating results. With the on-demand webinar, you'll receive a copy of the full 23-page report.

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