Closing the feedback loop: a business essential for brands

Closing the feedback loop: a business essential for brands

When Konecta helped a telco client transform its feedback management, the benefits included reduced complaints, reduced contacts, and improved customer satisfaction. Find out how it was done.

Everyone wants to be heard and understood. It’s a simple fact of life, applying to everything from our personal relationships to our relationships with brands. But in customer experience, this vital process of listening, understanding and responding – in other words, feedback management - is often lacking. By improving upon this, brands can also achieve significant improvements in their relationships with customers. 

The latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, and GenAI in particular, are also opening new areas in this field by leveraging semantic analysis and generating actionable insights.
Indeed, correlating hidden data with customer feedback will help better understand the context of the interactions and develop segmented and personalized approaches to closing the loop. Ultimately, AI-driven customer feedback will help prevent frustration escalation and enhance long-term customer engagement and satisfaction.

Feedback pain points

Konecta recently worked with a telco client that had identified a number of gaps and pain points in its existing approach to feedback. “The client was gathering feedback from its customer, and doing so through a range of channels, which was great,” explains Stefano Madonna, Business Process Innovation & CEX manager at Konecta. ”But analysis of how they managed this feedback indicated that their customer samples were non-representative, they were not monitoring the most useful KPIs, and they were not following up on their Voice of the Customer (VOC) analysis.”

This failure to manage feedback end-to-end meant that some of the telco’s existing investment in feedback management was being wasted, and that it was missing out on opportunities to strengthen customer care and relationships, and to effect continuous improvements. It therefore called on Konecta to help it ‘close the loop’.

The power of closing the loop

Before we explain Konecta’s approach to helping the telco client, let’s first explain what we mean by feedback management and closing the loop, and why it is key to customer relations.

Feedback management – as opposed to more basic feedback collection and analysis – is the integrated process between customer management and the development of an increasing effective care strategy for customers with a view to continuous improvement. In other words, both parts of the feedback loop are being properly managed and addressed: not only the one-to-one interaction with the customer and resolution of the issue, but also the internal conversations, processes and actions that follow up from the customer interaction and contribute to continuous improvement. So, while plenty of brands gather feedback about their customer management, they don’t have a structured end-to-end approach – for example, they don’t follow up in a timely and customized fashion to understand customers’ issues better, address their pain points, or show the customer that they’re doing this. As a result of their ‘open-loop’ process, customers may not feel they’re being listened to or valued.

In contrast, closed-looped feedback management is all about integrating customer feedback into the timely and continuous improvement of the service to the customer, through:

  • listening to the VOC, gathering spontaneous and unbiased assessments from a representative sample of customers
  • receiving and listening to indications of improvement, so that positive changes can be embedded
  • receiving alerts on possible future customer care requirements or, more seriously, churn
  • capturing opportunities to engage the customer, opening the door for future education, information or selling (cross-selling or upselling) 
  • demonstrating the brand’s ability to listen and manage – not just on the core product / service, but beyond that
  • creating visibility and relationships, leading to advocates and ambassadors

Stefano Madonna, Konecta adds: “In essence, closing the loop in feedback management is all about understanding the importance of VOC, and using it to rework your caring strategy and to seize opportunities in your customer base. On the basic level, there’s an element of protecting your relationships – you resolve pain points and reduce churn. But it goes far beyond that – it’s an opportunity to evolve and add value to those customer relationships.”

An end-to-end process is key

In practice, according to Konecta’s long experience in feedback management across different sectors, the full realization of the potential of feedback management involves putting in place a structured and integrated multi-channel end-to-end feedback management process, that includes:

  • Review of the customer journey, identification of the Moment of Truth (MOT), and preparation of a feedback management strategy
  • Modulation and application of feedback collection strategies (survey typology, feedback channels etc)
  • Better tools for displaying and processing feedback (using a SaaS customer feedback management platform)
  • Intervention by a dedicated team, using various tools and analytics, on detractors, prevention and resolution
  • Re-engagement of detractors with feedback management level 2 (e.g. the provision of extra care, and verification of the effectiveness of interventions)
  • Integrated data analysis and possible structural actions (tactical and strategic)
  • Sharing and joint decision making of actions to be implemented for feedback management review

Delivery for the telco client

When it came to our project to implement this end-to-end feedback management structure for our telco client, we tackled it for the client in three phases:

Phase 1

As-is management and mapping for the client

In this initial phase, Konecta’s consultants worked with the client to 

  • Define business needs and parameters
  • Define the parameters through as-is activities, information gathering, and mapping of as-is processes, tools and customer experience
  • Select initiatives to evolve these, including setting milestones and priorities

Phase 2

Definition of interventions required and the journey to be 

Konecta then moved onto defining where the client wanted to be and how to get there:

  • Design of an action plan and processes for interventionssome text
    • Setting criteria and tailing / recognition IVR
    • Definition of KPIs and economics

Phase 3

Launch and evolution of the model

Following those first two consultancy and design phases, Konecta’s team then implemented a new feedback management model for the client:

  • Construction of a pilot
  • Definition of an advanced pricing model
  • Reporting and continuous improvement
  • Scale up / scope extension
  • Continuous innovation (CEX, tech, new services, customer ecosystem)

Benefits for the client

With those phases completed, and an integrated feedback process in place for our telco client, it was clear that the improvements and benefits were significant. Through achieving our objective to maximize end-customer satisfaction and invention effectiveness through proactively collecting and listening to the VOC and then delivering enhanced care, we achieved improvements across a wide range of metrics.

In addition, our own continuous process improvement led to our internal processes becoming leaner, often reducing unnecessary steps or enabling us to identify critical process hubs, such as bottlenecks, errors or recurrences.

Stefano Madonna concludes: “As a result of our consultancy, pilot design and then full implementation, our client is now able to manage, for the first time, feedback truly end-to-end. Feedback collection and analysis is no longer silo-ed, but instead fully integrated into how our client delivers care to its customers. 

“Already, as a result of listening and acting upon the VOC, it is seeing a reduction in complaints and problems, as well as reduced contacts and recalls. Issues can be managed better, and avoided in future, and customer satisfaction scores are improved. We’re delighted for the client that our solution has delivered these results, and, even more importantly, that the ‘closed-loop’ processes we have embedded will mean that it can also improve on its customer relationship performance continuously into the future. The benefits of our work are therefore limitless!”

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