Prioritize your marketing activities by listening to your customers
Like most businesses in Quebec, you’ve no doubt been experiencing many upheavals caused by recent changes: the uncertain economic climate, labour shortages, the adoption of new privacy protection laws, the disappearance of third-part identifiers, etc. There are certainly no lack of challenges these days, spawning a multitude of initiatives. This means you need to establish an effective order of priority and focus on what will most affect your business results.
Basing your priorities solely on your own objectives and resources won’t help you make the best possible decisions nor differentiate you from your competitors. To stand out from the pack, you need to look further afield than just your particular commercial sphere and adapt to the larger context in which you’re evolving.
Today, 63% of consumers state that brands need to do a better job at listening to their feedback. This is a perfect opportunity for increasing your customers’ satisfaction level. Listen to them attentively and, based on the feedback they provide, establish your priorities so as to increase your quality of service and show that you truly care about the well-being of your customers. This simple gesture, this openness, could really pay off!
Customer feedback is more important than you might think. It’s a powerful tool that’s indispensable when it comes to prioritizing promising initiatives as well as the individual tasks for each respective project. Ideally, customer feedback should even contribute to the creation of your annual plan by orienting your selection of which projects you will pursue to achieve your business goals.
To illustrate this idea, let’s take a concrete example:
You’ve established growth objectives, but you learn that your customers are now choosing a competitor’s products because they’re more affordable. After looking into the situation, you learn that very few of your customers realize that your products are made in Quebec, despite the fact that this is a desirable feature that a significant proportion of your customers are ready to pay extra for.
Discovering this type of insight before making your annual plan will allow you to unite your teams around a common goal, focusing their efforts on your customers and resolving this lack of communication about a desirable feature across every brand touchpoint (branding, public relations, website, social media, email, in-store, etc.). To accomplish this, there’s no need to change your departments’ usual work methods. By simply placing your customers at the centre of your activities and coordinating those activities so that they all support the same goal, you can resolve this issue with an omnichannel approach.
If your portfolio of annual projects has already been approved, insights obtained from customer feedback can affect how you prioritize those projects: Revising your content strategy could be highly relevant in the above example, while adding new delivery options might be less so.
As we said earlier, customer feedback can also influence the order of individual project activities by encouraging you to reprioritize actions that respond more explicitly to customer needs. If you need to revise your relationship marketing strategy because you’ve learned that your customers prefer locally made products, you should create new content that communicates this specific feature. You could, for example, encourage your customers to provide their email addresses so they can learn more about where your products are produced or even to track the production process for their particular order. Given the context, this type of content would be much more relevant than a discount strategy.
For many companies, this is a period of streamlining and rationing resources. Establishing a voice of the customer (VoC) program that requires time and money just isn’t possible for everyone.
However, I have some good news for you:
- Your customers are already providing you with feedback, whether you want it or not.
- You already have access to a way of collecting customer feedback.
Basically, even if you haven’t explicitly asked for it, your customers are already providing you with feedback. They express it in a variety of ways on a number of platforms: by leaving comments and opinions on social networks, in emails sent to customer service, on product and service review sites, etc. Regularly consulting this type of information will allow you to discover sources of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, understand the nature of your customers’ questions, analyze their vocabulary and learn a lot of other things. The drawback: Since this is a passive collection of customer reactions, you have no control over what topics your customers are commenting on.
If you prefer to lead the discussion, solicit customer feedback through your existing communication channels (email, social media, website, etc.). Sometimes just a single question is enough. Prioritize obtaining a high response rate, so only ask what’s really necessary for you to know.
Keeping the same goal in mind, you could also contact your customers by phone (try it!). No need to exhaustively prepare. Depending on your business goals, identify certain customer behaviours that you believe merit special attention. For example, if a customer submits a transaction for an amount that’s higher than the average, you could try to better understand the context: what motivated their purchase from you, how the person uses your products and services, what they like most and least about their purchase experience, etc. A phone call shows customers that they mean a lot to you, in addition to allowing you to more clearly identify which customer types are more profitable. As a bonus, it’s highly likely that your customer will discuss the call with friends.
Some types of customer comments, while highly valuable, are not documented: Calls made to customer service or conversations with in-store employees are two good examples. This means you need to fully involve your frontline employees in the collection, documentation and sharing of feedback received from customers on a daily basis.
Here are a few simple, effective tips for involving team members in your attentiveness efforts:
- Tell them your business objectives and upcoming projects
- Provide them with a list of questions on topics you would like to know more about and that customer feedback could answer
- Add a customer feedback discussion period to your team meetings
- Encourage the sharing of this important information, both internally and externally (with agencies you work with regularly, for example)
Should the validity of customer feedback be checked?
Theoretically, it’s ideal to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods to understand customer feedback more in-depth, to confirm whether it’s representative of all of your customers and evaluate its impact on your company. In practice, however, using whatever feedback is available to you is an excellent starting point.
There are, of course, ways of confirming insights with data. Here are a few suggestions:
- Validate the reliability of your insights with classic quantitative research
- Create A/B tests
- Use tools that enable you to survey customers yourself online (such as Hotjar)
- Conduct an email survey
- Quantify the impact of your insights on your web performance with Google Analytics
No matter which strategy you choose to deploy, verifying the validity of your insights takes time and money: Your validation efforts should be commensurate with the amount of work and investment you put into marketing.
If you’re preparing to revise your entire business model, quantitative research would be a wise investment. However, if you’re using feedback from customers to optimize a landing page on your website, performing an A/B test would be more appropriate.
Prioritizing your projects based on customer feedback lets you play your best hand. Customer comments are important strategic data points that your competitors don’t have any (or very little) access to. Seizing this opportunity lets you stand apart from the competition and solidify your relationship with your customers.