How Customer Feedback Fuels Loyalty Program Success

Mar 28, 2024

Kobie recently weighed in with Loyalty 360 on the topic of how customer feedback fuels loyalty program success.

Brands building the best relationships with their customers and loyalty program members are those that proactively seek to learn how customers and members feel, their perspectives of the brand, what their expectations are, and if there are any pain points in the brand-customer/member relationship. This goes for brands newly entering the customer loyalty landscape with first program launches as well as those that are rolling out loyalty program design changes or scaling back options previously available without fully understanding customers’ expectations or sentiments — which can result in disaster, no matter the intention.

Of course, new program launches or planned program changes are not the only time to seek customer feedback. It should be an ongoing process, evolving alongside customer expectations as new trends emerge and increasingly advanced technologies improve feedback solicitation, collection, and analysis while driving brand strategies and brand-customer interactions.

Loyalty360 spoke with supplier members and loyalty strategy experts about leveraging the right tools for gathering customer feedback, integrating it into loyalty programs and the decision-making process, and addressing negative feedback and customer dissatisfaction

Kobie’s Director of Customer Success, Eir Welch, provided insights on the following:

  1. What methods or tools do you find most effective when brands are collecting qualitative and quantitative feedback from customers/loyalty program members?

You must use a 360 degree approach; while social media and email surveys are great platforms to gather feedback,  it’s important to note that this only represents customers who are active in those spaces, or those who had a one-off experience.  By the time a customer is on social media, it’s often too late to address their concerns. One of the best places to get feedback is from your front-line team, specifically your Customer Service Representatives. They are your “canaries in a coal mine” and can identify issues much faster. They can also pinpoint minor friction points in the customer experience.

However, this is only when something is broken. On the other hand, there are savvy customers who want to understand the program at a deeper level. When you talk to someone who has invested that much time into understanding your program, what would you want them to hear?


2. What role should technology play in brands’ customer feedback management and loyalty?

It is crucial! Technology can help log the customer’s actual verbatim feedback onto a platform where their data already exists, enabling you to personalize their offers. This allows you to meet the customer where they are on a more genuine level. At Kobie we take this a step further by capturing root cause and sentiment in our platform that allows us the ability to understand detracting comments and act on them to improve the customer journey.

3. How do you suggest brands integrate customer feedback into their customer loyalty program and decision-making processes?

Brands can effectively integrate customer feedback into their loyalty program and decision-making process by adopting a comprehensive approach. This involves seeking input from customers through traditional methods such as surveys and social media, and also by collecting feedback provided directly to front-line agents by the customers themselves. This approach allows brands to gain valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, as well as identify patterns and trends that may have otherwise been missed.

For instance, during the pandemic, we found that customers were seeking a connection and support from brands. By relaunching our soft skills training as an Emotional Connection training, we were able to provide the support that our customers needed. This led to an increase in our customer satisfaction ratings, as customers felt heard, understood, and supported.

Ultimately, by prioritizing customer feedback and incorporating it into their decision-making processes, brands can build trust with their customers and provide them with the exceptional service they deserve.

4. What are some ways that brands can address negative feedback or customer dissatisfaction to prevent churn and foster loyalty?

Customer dissatisfaction is a major concern for brands as it leads to customer churn. To prevent this, it’s important for brands to address negative feedback and concerns immediately and effectively. One approach is to have a dedicated team that reviews feedback from detractors and analyzes customer profiles in the company’s CRM system. If there is a trend, the issue is escalated to the relevant department for resolution. It’s worth noting that customer satisfaction issues may not always be related to technology, but can stem from other factors such as packaging or IVR prompts. To foster customer loyalty, it’s important for brands to build a relationship with a genuine emotional connection that fosters trust.

5. What are some challenges you’ve encountered (or clients have encountered) in managing customer feedback effectively, and what recommendations would you make on how to overcome them?

One of the initial challenges we faced was placing too much emphasis on sentiment. Focusing too much on the sentiment of the customer can lead to getting lost in the variety of reasons a customer would be upset. However, when we shifted our focus to identifying the root cause of trends, we were able to gain a better understanding of the context. This allowed us to delve deeper into the specific topics and get a clearer picture of what was happening and how customers felt about it.

6. What recommendation would you make to brands that are looking to formally establish a VoC/customer feedback process?

You must use a 360-degree approach (not just CSAT) to gain a deeper understanding of their customers. This is done by identifying and compiling trends, determining key opportunities to reduce customer friction and improve their experience. While surveys and social media data are standard, it’s also helpful to add feedback provided directly from front-line agents. One way to start is by initiating roundtable conversations with agents and asking them a series of relevant questions. Another approach can be to add dispositions to the end of calls. Speech Analytics is another great option that we leverage to analyze the emotional character of the call, which can help improve the customer experience and save money in the process. At Kobie we bring all of these unique pieces of customer data into our data warehouse which enables us to have a real-time dashboard of Voice of the Customer.