Are You (Really) Listening to Customer Feedback?

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 17 Jun, 2012

A survey of more than 6,500 U.S. consumers found that despite a high desire to provide feedback, most are disenchanted by brands' lack of responsiveness.

The results of the study from customer experience management firm Empathica (Update: Empathica has changed its name to InMoment) showed that 85 percent of consumers have provided some form of feedback to retailers, yet only 46 percent of respondents believe that brands actually use this feedback to make constructive changes to the customer experience. An overwhelming two-thirds of consumers prefer to share their feedback online, while the next most popular feedback delivery method was in person with only 13 percent.

Incentives not necessary
When it comes to consumers' motivations for engaging with brands, approximately half of respondents provided feedback in exchange for an incentive or coupon. Surprisingly, though, consumers don't necessarily need an incentive to provide feedback - a larger share of respondents offered feedback simply to provide either a positive (31 percent) or negative (25 percent) experience with the brand.

Loyalty at stake
The shortfall of confidence in brands' willingness to implement changes rooted in customer feedback is a serious concern for retailers. In fact, 83 percent of consumers agree or strongly agree that they would be more loyal to a brand if they knew the brand would act on their feedback.

"Our research proves that consumers really do want to provide feedback and engage in conversations with brands," says Gary Edwards, Empathica's chief customer officer. "But at the same time, they are clearly disappointed by not having any visibility into what happens afterwards. Feedback remains a one-way street and what consumers are yearning for is two-way dialogue. They want to know that their feedback is being acted upon in ways that will drive meaningful changes to the customer experience."

Share with others
Also, three out of four survey respondents were interested in seeing the feedback that others have provided about their brand experiences.

"Unfortunately, a lot of retailers fail at creating the transparency that customers desire," says Edwards. "Admitting that some areas of the business require more attention builds credibility and helps retailers realize the huge potential for brand advocacy. There are large numbers of customers out there who are motivated to provide feedback for the brand. The challenge is identifying them and making it easy to share their experiences not only with the brand, but also with other consumers."