What is real-time feedback? It's the ability to get feedback right at the point of purchase, on premise, or during an event.

For the most part, survey recipients are unwilling participants. In fact, research suggests only 33 per cent of surveys receive a response. In-person, though, the likelihood of participation is much higher, with data showing that 57 per cent of in-person surveys are completed. That said, to gather real-time user feedback, it’s important that you request it on the spot.

Real-time feedback offers a tool to improve the way you engage with your customers. It lets them know their opinion matters, gives you the chance to resolve any problems, and is more likely to result in accurate feedback. When time lapses after an event, response quality can deteriorate; instead, you should aim to capture a user’s feelings and reactions either during or immediately after they complete an action.
 


 

Why real-time customer feedback is important


Multiple times a day, consumers have opportunities to fill out questionnaires and offer feedback. There are survey options attached to receipts when you purchase something in-store. Online shops send strategically timed emails after you make, then receive your purchase. The majority of the time, customers ignore these efforts. While companies value the data, they can only expect a small completion rate.

When you apply real-time feedback, you can capitalize on the most opportune moment to understand how users perceived their experience.

Four reasons why businesses should employ real-time customer feedback
 

  1. Higher response rates and a greater number of total responses. When you use real-time survey tools, you multiply the likelihood of users participating. The timeliness of the prompt can feel like a natural conclusion to the action. On the other hand, survey requests a day or week later are often met with resistance since participants may be engaged in other activities at that point, without energy or time to reflect on the event in question. For users, real-time feedback is convenient. For businesses, it’s an effective solution for collecting valuable customer insights.
  2. Better response accuracy. Real-time feedback allows you to get the customer's perspective during an event or experience. The responses tend to be more accurate and include more detail. As time lapses, users are less likely to recall specific details and emotions, which makes it harder for them to provide more substantive criticisms or praise.
  3. Increases customer loyalty and improves brand affinity. When you ask for real-time feedback, then make sure customers know their input is important, customers feel assured their opinions matter and can have an impact on future experiences. To facilitate the best user feedback, ask them pointed questions and clarify your overarching goals. This will reinforce the idea that someone else is actively listening.
  4. Enables improved customer service. General feedback is important because it gives you clues as to what you do well and which areas need improvement. Real-time customer feedback goes one step further and provides your team the ability to offer superior customer service. Your employees recognize when they hit the mark in the moment. In cases where a customer might be dissatisfied and expresses that in their feedback, your employees can remedy the situation before your user leaves and tells others about their experience.
     


 

Should you use real-time feedback internally?


Companies should source real-time feedback from customers, and they should do the same with their employees to understand and improve employee satisfaction.

Research suggests 85 per cent of millennials want more feedback from their managers. Although annual and semi-annual performance reviews are the norm, there are better ways to keep employees engaged, understand what their employer can do for them, and help them correct course when they underperform. Doing so can curb turnover, improve morale, and boost performance.

Data suggests employees are twice as likely to start looking for a new job when they do not feel recognized for the work they do. More than half of the employees polled in one survey indicated they left a position because they had a bad manager. Feeling appreciated and having a good working relationship with management are both key points in job satisfaction.

There is a definite need for good communication and honest feedback opportunities within every successful company. Annual performance reviews may be useful, but real-time feedback, or more regularly scheduled feedback opportunities, can help organizations proactively address and resolve issues with workplace happiness.
 

Additional ways to use real-time feedback data


Before you launch initiatives to gather real-time feedback, you need to consider how you will use the data. Many companies send surveys, but then fail to act on the information they receive from customers and employees. Annual performance reviews are often used when determining raises and as a point of protocol, though the insights garnered are rarely applied in other beneficial and creative ways.

Data collection is just the beginning. Once you receive it, it’s important to find productive ways to translate that information into meaningful solutions. Two ways you can do this are:

  • Improve the overall protocol and process based on information available across your data sampling
  • Improve the experience for individual clients, customers, and employees based on their responses
     

The case against real-time feedback


Some managers argue that real-time feedback can be disastrous for businesses. They believe there are three main disadvantages:

  1. A continuous feedback loop isn’t always ideal, especially if you aren’t prepared to receive and process all the data.
  2. Most user feedback is impulsive. Instead, companies would benefit more from ideas and suggestions after users have fully processed their experience.
  3. Companies can get distracted with the wrong problems when they focus on solving every bad user experience as it comes in.

While these are valid criticisms, managers can easily overcome each of them. Companies simply need to respect the process: Take the time to collect more data, ask smarter questions, and understand the whole situation before formulating a response. This ensures you react to the highest priority problems in a rational — rather than emotional — manner. This also enables you to come up with effective and lasting remedies. Absent additional information, you may take misguided steps as you craft a solution.



 

How to improve the big picture of management and customer service with real-time feedback


Your surveys should be designed to give you both wide-ranging and specific answers. While short surveys are recommended as a way to keep users engaged and avoid partial completions, you also want to ask targeted questions.

Before you draft your questionnaire, review recent and historical performance data to see where you may need to focus your efforts to improve. For instance, you might notice that certain products have relatively low conversion rates. Others may have high order returns. In office, you might find that certain departments have faster employee turnover. Use this quantitative data to determine what qualitative feedback, in real-time, you want from your users. That way, you can generate meaningful insights that can help you design better solutions for your customers and employees.

Afterward, remember to announce any new changes to your customers and employees. This lets them know their opinions were both heard, valued, and acted on.
 

Ways to use real-time feedback to create a more personalized customer experience


Companies can also integrate survey data with their customer relationship management (CRM) software. This gives your CRM data more depth as you work with individual clients to personalize their experiences.

Some options for personalized communication based on survey responses may include:

  • Open a case for customers who indicate a negative experience. This allows your customer service team to look into and correct the issue with users in a proactive way.
  • Automate emails for customers based on their response type
  • Flag positive survey responses so your customer service or sales team can follow up to request a review or thank them for the feedback
  • Analyze individual customer data to determine areas for possible upsell

Real-time feedback gives you the ability to remedy mistakes and heighten positive attributes in a way that traditional surveys can’t. The immediacy of the process tells your customer they matter. When the customer feels heard and valued, they are more likely to keep a line of communication open with your brand and to pay attention to future marketing and sales messages. A satisfied customer is also your biggest asset because they are more likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family members.

When you source real-time user feedback and use the right steps to analyze and process the data, you can create optimal solutions to help deliver happiness to your customers and employees.

 

 

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