How to Get Team Buy-In on your Customer Feedback Program
Customer feedback programs are your ticket to long-lasting and high-value customer relationships. They reveal gaps in your product so you know what customers need to solve their problems.
Without team buy-in, however, customer feedback programs fall flat. You spend precious resources sourcing, collecting, and analyzing feedback, but if your teams aren’t primed for acting on that feedback, you’ve lost a huge opportunity to inform your product strategy — and drive business growth.
Team buy-in is critical for a successful customer feedback program. A unified cross-functional effort to collect feedback, understand customer pain points, and follow up with solutions is a win-win situation for customers and employees. Ultimately, your clients see you as trustworthy and proactive, which improves the customer experience (CX) and reduces churn. In turn, employees feel great about their work and stay motivated to keep bringing in positive results, which improves employee engagement and retention.
Especially in a volatile economic climate, customer loyalty acts as a shield for your business. Here’s how to get buy-in from team members to build that shield together.
Build an internal team and outline their role
Team buy-in is essential for the success of your customer feedback program, but first, you need to know which teams you need buy-in from and the role they will play. So, build a pool of stakeholders that will be involved at each stage. Ideally, you want members of the C-suite and representatives from each function of the company drive company-wide action and not just changes within one department.
A SaaS business typically includes sales, marketing, engineering, customer success, customer experience, product marketing, and product management. Each team serves customer needs at different touchpoints during the customer journey, but they may be operating in silos and inadvertently withholding information that could help other departments.
Invite team members from each department and explain how a customer feedback program positively impacts their productivity and overall business growth. Then, get each team representative up to speed on why they are a part of executing the program and their role in aligning the rest of their teams with customer insights and product roadmaps.
Let’s say your customer success teams get feedback through surveys like net promoter scores (NPS) and customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT) — but you need their buy-in to share crucial customer insights with product and sales teams.
If a customer churned due to the absence of a feature, your product teams could lean on a tool like UserVoice to incorporate that feature into a future roadmap. From there, sales teams could mark the dates to reengage with the customer and inform them about the improvement. Plus, marketing teams could use the feature launch to run teaser campaigns. In effect, you can align product initiatives with business objectives to provide tangible outcomes for your customers and business.
When you help your team members see how a collaborative feedback program will facilitate the flow of knowledge and inform product strategy, you build a strong case and are more likely to get instant buy-in from team members.
Involve team members in building your feedback program
Getting team buy-in means more than just lining up employees from different departments. You want them to actively participate in creating and executing the customer feedback program.
Invite team reps to provide their inputs on the channels they think are best suited to collect feedback. Some teams prefer direct feedback channels like customer surveys or beta testing, while other departments lean heavily on indirect feedback sources like online reviews and chatbot conversations. Hold conversations and brainstorming sessions about which type of feedback — direct, indirect, or inferred — to use at different stages of the customer journey, from onboarding new accounts to maintaining legacy accounts.
When team members see that they have a say in the decision-making process, it motivates them to think deeply about which sources of customer feedback will prove most valuable. Plus, diverse perspectives enrich the customer feedback program and help you cover blind spots.
Train your team members to use a tool that helps centralize product feedback from multiple channels. After all, you don’t want feedback to be scattered across spreadsheets and emails. A feature like UserVoice’s Contributor Console empowers both customer-facing and product teams to share, organize, and analyze feedback in a single, dedicated hub.
Collaborate on a shared company vision
Gathering feedback is the easy part, especially if you leverage the right tool. It’s what your teams do with the feedback that has the most significant impact. Build a larger vision with team members and bring them to the discussion table to collaborate.
A big-picture objective helps employees find purpose in their work. Say the company goal is to maintain consistently high CSAT scores or to build a reputation as a company with power users who act as brand champions. To reach that goal, you'd have to work toward a company-wide culture of customer centricity.
Use case studies to share the benefits of customer centricity and why fostering a shared understanding of customer needs is essential. Invite employees to share customer experiences and provide suggestions on what a customer-centric vision looks like at an individual, team, and company level. Simply put, lead your teams with the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) approach, where they can clearly see not just the benefits but also a roadmap to execute the vision.
UserVoice can help create a shared company vision and set clear expectations at the outset with an always-up-to-date roadmap.
When you pay attention to customer needs and improve user experience, you build a solid reputation and boost customer retention. In turn, this customer-centricity translates into business growth, and the benefits trickle down to employees regarding career growth and profit sharing.
Train coworkers to manage feedback
If your teams aren’t equipped to organize and manage feedback, you risk leaving your customers even more frustrated. When customers take the time to provide feedback on your product but don’t see you acting on it, the relationship can begin to sour.
With a comprehensive customer feedback solution, you can easily collect feedback from different sources, connect it to your customer accounts, organize and sort it based on topic, and follow up on it. Furthermore, with a tool like UserVoice's contributor sidebar, your sales, success, and support teams can capture feedback on behalf of customers directly from any web-based application, making it a breeze to log new ideas and suggestions.
Train coworkers to use analytics and get unique insights into trends and customer behavior. For instance, if several customers are asking for the same feature, you can tie the request in with how much revenue they bring in, so you can see the dollar value impact of acting on that feedback.
When team members feel confident about managing feedback, they look forward to receiving it and making improvements. Schedule training sessions for coworkers and encourage them to engage in peer-to-peer discussions for faster problem-solving and internal alignment.
Create personalized tasks to act on customer feedback
Not all customer feedback is applicable to every department and role. While company-wide visibility about a problem — or a win — is advantageous so that employees have context, feedback is best broken down into personalized action items.
Let’s assume you collect customer feedback about a specific problem in a product feature. A bug fix is in order, but customers are also asking for help with using the feature, or aren’t using it in the best way. In this case, a few departments have to collaborate to solve the customer's problem. Developers, product managers, and customer support teams need to come together to fix the bug, create customer education material, and be available for demos and questions.
For instance, customer support teams would update and seamlessly pass along context-rich customer feedback on the feature gaps or usability issues. Sales team members then share ideas with product managers and potential messaging tweaks with marketing. In turn, the marketing department could share feedback with product managers so they can work on maintaining product-market fit and a competitive edge.
These tasks work in tandem, but each team member owns a separate part of the process. The result? A comprehensive and unified solution to customer pain points that is set up to engage and impress your customers. In addition, you improve team collaboration and peer support within your own company.
Give teams visibility into the data behind the decisions
A Voice of the Customer (VoC) strategy is built on transparency and trust. When teams have visibility into the feedback that led to product and business decisions, it creates a sense of ownership and belonging to the company and its customers. It also leads to greater understanding and buy-in from teams and stakeholders.
Too often, decisions are siloed within C-suite members, even when there’s data available to share. Data can provide the reinforcement you need to back up decisions and prove rationale. Use customer feedback data as an equalizer so coworkers can provide inputs and better understand the strategy. In short, let the data speak for itself.
With UserVoice’s capabilities, you can put customer needs front and center and ensure there’s organizational alignment.
You can even send status updates and incoming feedback to a dedicated Slack channel for organization-wide visibility. This helps you prioritize which feedback to act on and set reminders for feedback with flexible timelines. After all, you don’t want to green light a project that could have benefitted from more nuanced customer feedback and doesn’t get the maximum return on investment (ROI).
Educate and inform your teams as you go
Team buy-in isn’t a one-and-done episode. It’s a continuous process that requires collaboration and consensus from all team members, especially to treat user feedback as a guiding light.
As your company grows, plans and roadmaps evolve. External and environmental factors, too, play a role in shifting goalposts.
The current economic downturn is a good example of a time when priorities change and strategies are reset. Businesses may decide to simplify their product portfolio or cut back on a product plan. Bring your teams along on the journey so that they are aware of the direction the company is headed. From granular team-level decisions to high-level business goals, your teams deserve to know the what, when, and why behind the plan.
Lean on your customer feedback program to streamline feature development
A solid customer feedback program can influence many business decisions, from deciding which features to build to measuring the success and impact of each feature. With a tool like UserVoice to propel your customer feedback program, you can maximize efficiency in every feature development cycle.
Ready to build a better feedback program? Sign up here