In hard times, winners will sharpen their customer experience to focus on what matters most to customers and feedback takes on a crucial role; but only if it provides actionable results.

In the tough times we are all facing there will be winners and losers. Delivering a great customer experience will be a critical battleground.

Be they consumers or companies, hard up buyers will be more discerning, choosing to spend with suppliers that are best at the things that matter most.

Even companies that recognise the importance of customer experience (and there are still some that don’t) will have to raise their game.

In such challenging times, listening to and acting on the voice of the customer becomes even more important and, to maximise its value, it needs to be gathered soon after an interaction with a customer.

Feedback has to provide the answers to three questions: 

  • What matters most to customers?
  • How are we performing compared to our competitors?
  • How can we improve?

When every penny counts, investment has to be sharply focused on changes that make a real difference to satisfaction, advocacy and repurchase intention and thus to revenues.

Competitive comparison is a crucial element, enabling investments to close the gap in what matters most to customers.

If the first two questions guide what should be addressed, the third question provides insights into how the key attributes can be improved: customer comments can contain great ideas that can be turned into solutions.

The three questions have to be harnessed to three areas of improvement if the cost of feedback is to be turned into a return. Individual customer.

Good feedback allows dissatisfied customers to be identified quickly and action taken to address their concerns. Only through prompt action can a dissatisfied customer be recovered.

Remember, customer retention happens one customer at a time.

By providing process delivery and product development teams with role specific results, feedback becomes the fuel for the engine of continuous improvement. Each customer interaction is constantly fine tuned to changing customer needs.

Some weaknesses go beyond individual processes and need organisation wide action.

Aggregated feedback and importance:satisfaction grids for key customer segments point senior managers to priorities for investment.

If you want to be a survivor, revisit your feedback process and make sure it’s in good shape.

David Jackson is the Managing Director of