Customer Feedback Management and Conversational AI
Customer Feedback Management involves both a practice and set of technologies that is used to improve the interactions individual customers have with brands. It’s important because, without appropriately addressing the large volume of feedback most brands receive, common messages or persistent issues can go unaddressed over time.
Customer-centric companies like Amazon are known for proactively managing and addressing customer feedback. CEO Jeff Bezos famously takes complaints directly from customers, promptly forwarding them to managers who can address the feedback they contain. While this can terrify a lot of managers in Seattle and wherever HQ2 ultimately gets built, coherent customer feedback management doesn’t just come from the top. It requires a variety of solutions and stakeholders to properly automate processes, organize data and redress issues.
That’s why Customer Feedback Management, both as a technology and a methodology, is critical for any brand that seeks to better satisfy its customers. Understanding the role Conversational AI can play in this is essential to surpassing consumer expectations and achieving better business outcomes.
Why is Customer Feedback Management More Than Just Complaints?
“Feedback” gets a bad rap. Both as individuals and as companies, we sometimes build up psychological barriers against feedback and criticism – particularly when it’s not constructive – and this creates assumptions that customer feedback will always be negative or nitpicky. In reality, feedback is very broad, and consumers are glad to share both negatives and positives with a brand – particularly when they ask for it proactively: 77% of consumers view brands that proactively invite feedback more favorably than those that don’t.
Feedback can be as granular as “I got pickles on my hamburger even though I specifically asked for no pickles”, or as general and suggestive as “You guys should offer an investment accounts specifically for mortgage down payments.” One is a complaint and the other is a suggestion, but both qualify as feedback and each is equally crucial to how brands manage and improve the experiences they offer consumers.
Feedback management is defined more materially along a few different categories – feedback collection on things like NPS, digital customer experience and basic customer analysis, and then brand tracking and ad testing to improve the overall experience consumers have of a brand. Usually, the largest bulk of feedback that brands get is also collected through things like post-purchase emails, post-appointment phone calls or, more often, through proactive messages from new solutions like chatbots.
The focus and terminology used for these solutions depending on the vendor you refer to. In practice, understanding feedback requires looking at all the inputs consumers provide across an entire customer experience. Brands are continuously trying to acquire new customers while inviting replenishment from existing ones, so using as much data as possible is necessary to find bottlenecks, drop-off points and, on the other hand, potential catalysts for higher engagement.
More brands are conscious of this than ever before, which means every brand needs to increase its responsiveness to customer feedback in order to keep up. Without the necessary processes and technology in place to achieve that, they risk “missing more beats” and falling behind brands that are more mindful about the first-hand thoughts and beliefs their customers have about them.
How Conversational AI Permits Greater Responsiveness and Clarity
Conversational AI offers brands an instant, personalized and automated way to correspond with their customers. The challenge here is not just in customer feedback management, but also in offering consumers a trusted advisor where they feel like that feedback will always be heard. If they know they can communicate directly with a brand and get reliable responses, they’ll in turn be more likely to start the conversations that lead to better relationships and revenue along with a greater volume of useful feedback.
Getting usable, insightful feedback also generates the same kind of value for brands in the long term. If Conversational AI is established as a way that consumers can get quick answers when they need them, it can also serve as a gateway for more of the feedback that great brands thrive on.
This feedback can’t necessarily be limited to AI, however. At a certain point, a human touch is still needed, particularly in the most delicate of situations. That’s why brands like National Bank of Canada incorporate features like “Human Handoff” in their Conversational AI, which allows users to request a live customer service representative to answer questions or resolve their issues.
With open data crucial to driving maximum value from conversational AI, deployments that also feature integrations with CRM and customer service solutions to maximize the data cultivated from each interaction. This increases the overall impact of all uses for conversational AI – from marketing to commerce and customer support – while also giving more insight on the rest of the experiences customers have.
How Brands Can Synthesize Massive Data into Actionable Insight
First-party data is crucial to allowing today’s brands to promote to consumers regardless of the changes that come. Ultimately, the data produced by marketing efforts can be leveraged for ROI using the right AI marketing solutions. Brands need to understand how specific insights can drive greater sales and retention, and also reduce negative outcomes. Where manageable volumes of data can be analyzed, some handy work in excel might reveal top concerns or priorities for you. For broader data sets, sentiment analysis driven by AI may give you the intelligence you’re looking for.
Offering real-time response to inputs and feedback, however, usually requires conversational systems to even be possible. For instance, a customer engages in a diagnostic with a Conversational AI and reveals that they have oily skin, that’s a clear indicator of what products and recommendations are most and least relevant to them both in the moment and throughout their relationship with a brand.
The same applies, in aggregate, to customers that might progressively book appointments for savings, investment and retirement accounts with a brand. In the immediate term, you need to offer an instant response to what they’re asking for, and as their priorities evolve, you can leverage additional solutions to think more strategically about the customer relationship. By the same token, conversational systems can keep a brand from offering irrelevant products or services, whether it’s simply the wrong place, the wrong time or the wrong customer.
This is critical to consider both in offering the best customer experience and for the most basic of a brand’s marketing efforts. While customer feedback allows for great experiences to be emphasized and bad experiences to be avoided, generating more feedback through AI solutions can reveal the most relevant content and promotions for individual consumers. This reduces the frequency of irrelevant marketing and helps the customer feel heard, listened to and understood. Maybe you can even create a positive feedback loop of your own, get it??
Why is Feedback So Critical to Modern Customer Experience?
1 in 3 consumers will leave a brand they love after one bad experience. Brands can play to their strengths and compensate for weaknesses when they understand how these experiences happen. In order to generate this information, brands need to create an atmosphere where consumers are comfortable engaging them in conversation whenever they feel the need to and get the instant responses they want.
Feedback is critical to the modern customer experience, but so is Conversational AI. Without it, brands simply lacks the voice that allows consumers to speak up. With modern digitization efforts in place, no brand needs to be limited by time, space or where the consumer is and what they’re interested in. More solutions are available every day to collect feedback and capitalize on its returns – don’t let a lack of initiative be the only thing holding you back.
Automat is a Conversational AI provider that allows brands to offer guidance, recommendations and instant, personalized responses to consumers. Contact us to learn more about what Conversational AI can do for you.