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Feedback methods: Some scary statistics

In today’s dynamic and competitive markets, gaining deeper insight into customer problems, issues, and ideas are key factors in keeping businesses heads above the water. There is insurmountable evidence from case studies and surveys that clearly justify the need for product co-creation with customers. Yet despite these supporting facts, the majority of companies still fail to incorporate effective feedback management systems into their product development process.

Consider these alarming statistics:

In a study conducted by Ventana Research in 2012, approximately 50% of companies collect feedback at random times, and only about 34% always respond to feedback.

Let’s look at the these statistics a little closer. There is overwhelming evidence that companies that do collect feedback tend to do so sporadically. Today, customer needs, attitudes and wants are constantly changing and in order to stay abreast of what’s current, organizations must monitor, capture and manage customer feedback in a structured and continuous fashion.

Secondly, let’s talk about response rates and customer engagement. It is no secret, that today’s customer lives in a digitally-driven world and is empowered by instant access to information. They expect fast answers to their questions, especially customer service related ones. In addition, responding to feedback quickly can help to build customer loyalty. The fact that only 1/3 of organizations are taking the time to respond to customer feedback is frankly, frightening.

So what is really going on here? Do companies really think they can ignore the importance of customer feedback? The issue may not be why they don’t collect feedback, but perhaps how they go about it.

A common problem in many organizations is the way that information is organized and shared between team members. Often times it is not always clear who is responsible for customer feedback and organizations tends to spread this responsibility across departments. According to this same study companies divide the task of customer feedback management across business units (38%), customer service (36%) and/or dedicated project teams (34%).

Here are two risks associated with this type of feedback management structure:

1. Customers are not always kept “in the loop” of progress and updates and as a result are siloed from the product development process.
2. If communication and collaboration is stifled, customer-driven product insight is not shared with other team members.

What do you think?
I have only mentioned two, albeit critical dangers with this type of customer feedback management process but I invite you to identify more risk factors and share your thoughts with our readers.

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