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Article 12 min read

Customer feedback management: A beginner’s guide

Discover the power of customer feedback management in understanding and meeting customer needs, reducing churn, and fostering loyalty. Dive deeper with our guide and kickstart your feedback journey by downloading our customer satisfaction survey templates below.

By Alex Smithers, Contributing Writer

Last updated June 27, 2024

What is customer feedback management?

Customer feedback management (CFM) is the process of turning raw feedback into actionable customer insights and leveraging them to deliver better products, services, and experiences. Today, AI-powered tools can help you monitor feedback and collect it automatically. Gathering feedback, adding it to a centralized database, analyzing the information, compiling reports, and sharing findings with the relevant departments are all part of CFM.

Imagine walking into an ice cream parlor and ordering a chocolate sundae. You sit down, take your first bite, and immediately want to spit out the ice cream—it tastes like radishes. You tell the server, who listens attentively and assures you that your feedback is highly appreciated.

One month later, you go back. To your dismay, the chocolate ice cream still tastes like radishes. You’re frustrated—you told the employee about the issue and gave the business a second chance. Feeling disappointed by the taste and ignored by the ice cream shop, you decide never to return.

Your experience at the ice cream parlor shows why it’s not enough for businesses to just gather customer feedback—they must act on it, too. Customer feedback management helps companies create a process for collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback to foster loyalty and reduce churn. Below, we delve into the pivotal role of CFM in driving business success alongside essential best practices for effectively managing customer feedback.

In this guide:

Why is customer feedback management important?

Customer feedback management is important because it leads to:

  • Higher revenue

  • Reduced customer churn

  • Improved products or services

  • Long-lasting customer relationships

Customer feedback is a goldmine of insights, pinpointing areas where you can improve your products and services. Addressing this feedback can elevate customer satisfaction and loyalty, affirming their voices are heard and valued. Moreover, exceptional CX drives business growth. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2024, 42 percent of CX leaders attribute an extremely high impact of CX on business growth.

Customer feedback management involves establishing a systematic process to monitor customer feedback consistently, ensuring no complaint goes unnoticed. For instance, leveraging AI-driven quality assurance tools like Zendesk QA enables the review of 100 percent of customer interactions. AI identifies conversations with negative sentiment and low customer satisfaction, facilitating prompt feedback resolution and preventing churn.

Types of customer feedback

Wondering how to get customer feedback? To effectively gather it, you must consider the various types. Feedback typically falls into one of two categories: direct or indirect.

Direct customer feedbackDirect customer feedback is provided explicitly by customers through channels like surveys, reviews, or direct communication, where their opinions and experiences are directly expressed.
Indirect customer feedbackIndirect customer feedback is inferred from customer behaviors, such as purchasing patterns, support channel engagement, or website interactions. This type of feedback requires careful analysis and interpretation to understand customer sentiments and preferences.

Indirect feedback is just as important to monitor as direct feedback—unhappy customers may not bother to give their opinion directly, and dealing with angry customers who fly under the radar requires the right tools. That’s why customer feedback software that automates customer sentiment detection can help you monitor disgruntled customers, even if they’re not forthcoming about their opinions.

Best practices to manage customer feedback

Effective CFM involves establishing a robust feedback loop where information reaches decision-makers capable of interpreting and acting on it promptly. Think of CFM as a relay race, with the feedback as the baton. All CFM best practices reflect that philosophy.

Use these tips to learn how to manage customer feedback.

Five tips to use customer feedback management to deliver better experiences.

Make feedback easy to share across support channels

To learn from customer feedback, you must first make it easy to provide. Offering omnichannel support allows customers to connect with your business through their preferred channels, whether it’s the phone, social media, or live chat. This makes it seamless and efficient for them to leave feedback.

The right CFM tool can deliver this experience. With Zendesk, customers can easily reach your support team and leave feedback across any service channel, ensuring they feel heard and valued. Additionally, agents get a single view of customer interactions across those channels so every complaint can be seamlessly tracked and referenced.

Example: Walker & Company, a health and beauty company, uses Zendesk to collect customer feedback across various support channels via built-in NPS® (Net Promoter Score) surveys. The brand uses feedback to improve its products and support experiences.

“Our NPS feedback has been an invaluable tool for building relationships with our customers and making improvements,” says Jaimel Gauda, Head of Customer Success at Walker & Company. “We interact with our members through various channels, and [Zendesk] is tremendously helpful in keeping things streamlined and on track.”

Monitor feedback trends

Customers engage your support team across various channels to provide feedback, so it’s vital to harness and act upon this input. Look for a CFM tool with advanced reporting and analytics capabilities that make it simple to understand feedback data.

For instance, Zendesk gives you deep insights into all your support channels, such as your most common customer complaints and issue types. Automation features can intelligently tag ticket issues by intent, allowing you to identify prevalent issue types and devise strategies for resolution.

Example: RapidG, an Australian eco-friendly cleaning solution manufacturer, needed a central platform to monitor data from customer interactions and identify trends. The company chose Zendesk, which made feedback easy to view at a glance, enabling agents to resolve complaints quickly. This implementation reduced response times by 90%.

Use AI to your advantage

AI is a true workhorse for collecting and managing customer feedback. Without AI customer service intimately involved in your customer feedback management process, you could miss critical details about customer sentiments.

AI enables automatic sentiment analysis to identify positive or negative feedback, allowing teams to prioritize frustrated customers and celebrate successes—this can even help lower churn rates by helping dissatisfied customers before they leave.

AI agents, or advanced chatbots, can also automatically send customers feedback surveys after interactions, so you never miss the opportunity to get their input.

Example: Liberty London, an iconic UK premium department store, uses Zendesk AI for intelligent triage. Liberty London, an iconic UK premium department store, uses Zendesk AI for intelligent triage. This technology identifies and labels customer intent, sentiment, and language, ensuring issues are promptly routed to the right place for quick resolutions.

Establish customer service QA processes

Customer service QA allows managers to monitor agent performance and assess conversations, providing greater opportunities to notice recurring issues. AI-powered solutions like Zendesk QA can review your customer support interactions and identify churn risks, outliers, and escalations so you can stay ahead of negative feedback.

QA tools can also help you view feedback trends through ticket insights linked to your customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), providing a clearer picture of team performance. You can filter this data by department, team, or individual agent for detailed analysis. These tools can also help you identify coaching opportunities, pinpointing areas of customer service that need improvement.

Example: Rentman, which develops management software for audiovisual rentals, uses Zendesk QA to build a seamless feedback loop between customers and agents. Zendesk QA analyzes customer customer conversations and agent performance. This data is then shared with agents to help them grow. With the help of Zendesk, Rentman achieved CSAT scores of up to 96%.

Send actionable insights to stakeholders across the organization

Customer feedback resonates beyond the realms of your support team, influencing various departments. Insights gleaned from customer service reports shed light on product pain points, marketing communication frustrations, and more, empowering stakeholders to make informed, customer-centric decisions.

Feedback must be easily digestible to ensure it translates into positive change. The goal isn’t to produce impressive-looking reports but to facilitate decision-maker understanding so they can efficiently comprehend customer sentiments and enhance the customer experience (CX).

Of course, there might be reasons not to share all feedback data with everyone in the organization. A CFM tool that allows you to share insights across teams while focusing on data security and access control keeps only those who need to know in the know.

Example: Mailchimp wanted to leverage the voice of the customer as a guiding light for product development. With Zendesk, Mailchimp’s support team effortlessly shared customer feedback data with the product team to aid with research and development.

Free CSAT survey templates

Get our free CSAT survey templates to help you gather insights and improve CX.

Common channels for managing customer feedback

With the right CFM, too, customers can leave feedback across any channel, and agents can seamlessly respond to their issues. Here are some of the most common support channels where CFM comes in handy:

  • Email: Gather feedback directly by sending customers CSAT surveys after email support conversations.
  • Social media: Monitor brand mentions and engage in conversations to understand sentiment via social media customer service tools.
  • Messaging: Leverage in-app chat, SMS, or social messaging for convenient feedback collection during the customer journey.
  • The phone: Speak directly with customers to gather feedback or use IVR to collect responses from a menu.
  • Forums: Track discussions in online communities to understand pain points and feature requests.

You can distribute customer surveys through these channels and consistently monitor them for data trends.

  • Customer service data: Analyze trends in your support data to identify recurring issues and areas for improvement. Feedback monitoring is even more useful when customer channels are connected via a unified dashboard. That way, stakeholders can view all relevant information from one place.
  • Surveys: Capture quantitative data and sentiment through targeted questions and customer feedback forms.

Lastly, engaging with customers in person or via Zoom can be an excellent method for collecting feedback. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Interviews: Conduct in-depth conversations to gain detailed insights and understand motivations.
  • Focus groups: Facilitate discussions with a small group of customers to gain qualitative feedback on specific topics.

The 5 best customer feedback management tools

Here are a few different customer feedback management tools. Each product below integrates with Zendesk. You can find more options in our Marketplace.

1. Zendesk

A product image of an agent conversation with AI sentiment analysis via Zendesk software.

Zendesk is the complete customer experience solution for the AI era, designed for quick setup, ease of use, and scalability—all supported by advanced enterprise-level privacy and security controls.

With Zendesk, you can gather customer feedback across any service channel, allowing you to interact with customers on their preferred platforms. Our robust reporting and analytics tools empower you to track and manage feedback from a unified dashboard, facilitating the seamless sharing of insights across your organization. Zendesk QA automatically analyzes 100 percent of your customer interactions—including those with AI agents—to identify potential churn risks and customer dissatisfaction.

Additionally, AI gives agents real-time insights into customer sentiment and intent, allowing them to address issues and minimize negative feedback proactively. Intelligent workflow automation tools intelligently triage and route customer complaints based on sentiment, intent, language, and more, ensuring urgent feedback receives priority. Our intelligent agent assistant further streamlines the feedback response process by suggesting contextually relevant responses and actions, which agents can easily modify or execute.

Try Zendesk customer feedback software for free

2. Canny

A product image of Canny customer feedback management software.

Image source

Canny is a customer feedback management tool for capturing public or private feedback related to product development ideas. Customer feedback automatically links to the responder, sparking discussions around recurring product suggestions. Teams can then analyze this information, collaborate with comments, and develop action plans to address the most valuable proposals.

Learn how Canny integrates with Zendesk.

3. SurveyMonkey

A product image of SurveyMonkey customer feedback management software.

Image source

SurveyMonkey is a survey tool for collecting and analyzing customer feedback. It offers pre-built surveys for various departments—such as customer service, HR, or marketing—and allows for customization. SurveyMonkey users can segment customers and use the data for targeting.

Learn how SurveyMonkey integrates with Zendesk.

4. InMoment

A product image of InMoment customer feedback management software.

Image source

InMoment’s customer feedback management software collects feedback through surveys sent via email, SMS, and apps. Businesses can automate targeted surveys for specific customer segments and leverage analytics to package actionable insights in reports. InMoment can also recommend actions for agents to address particular customer concerns based on the feedback received.

Learn how InMoment integrates with Zendesk.

5. Typeform

A product image of Typeform customer feedback management software.

Image source

Typeform’s feedback management software uses a survey experience that asks customers one question at a time and packages the information for businesses to analyze. Since questions come one at a time, Typeform allows incomplete responses to be included in analyses. It offers branching logic to adapt questions based on previous answers, and it includes templates for quizzes, polls, and general feedback forms.

Learn how Zendesk integrates with Typeform.

Frequently asked questions

Level up your customer feedback management with Zendesk

Customer feedback management success starts with the right customer feedback software. Tools like Zendesk centralize all your customer feedback, enabling you to transform that input into data-driven decision-making.

Zendesk AI offers real-time insights into customer sentiment and intent, empowering agents to address issues before they escalate and reduce negative feedback. With customer feedback management software from Zendesk, you’ll be well on your way to improving CX and achieving your business goals.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of NICE Satmetrix, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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