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As former Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz eloquently put it: “We are not in the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee.”
Whether your company keeps people caffeinated or helps them create engaging videos, what your customers think matters.
The value of customer feedback is a business basic. We all know it’s important. But in my experience, too many companies underutilize its power.
Your whole team — not just sales and support — can and should benefit from the words of your customers. When done right, customer feedback can motivate and inspire your people, all the while keeping your team in touch with the customer.
But closing the customer feedback loop is easier said than done. It’s hard to deliver a message to every corner of your company, and even harder to make it stick.
Throughout my years in leadership, I’ve narrowed down a method for keeping customer feedback front, center, and sticky. I’ll walk you through what I’ve learned, why it works, and how you can do the same.
Why we highlight customer outcomes at Biteable
Our mission at Biteable is to enable anyone to put their message in motion. Our product is video creation software, but the drive behind it has always been to help people connect with their audience in a new, better way.
To achieve this, we let our core company values steer the Biteable ship. We have six company values — each as important as the last — but when it comes to customer feedback, ‘customer first’ and ‘results-focused’ pave the way. The former drives us to care; the latter ensures that we listen.
Beyond genuinely caring about our customers’ experience, we know that listening to their feedback will help make our product better. When our customers have something to say, I need to make sure my entire team hears it — the good, bad, and ugly.
As Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Putting a human face to testimonials
When my team understands what our customers need, they are better equipped to put the customer first and create a product that meets their expectations.
How I do this matters almost as much as the fact that I do it at all.
I’ve found that putting a real face (or many faces) to the customers we serve is a great way to help my team visualize the impact of our efforts and our goals.
Employees care what customers say — sharing real customer insight adds credibility to anything it touches. As CEO, I can tell my team that our customers will love a new feature, but it will never stick as well as hearing it from the customers themselves, in their own words.
Keeping our people in tune with the needs and insights of our customers motivates us all to do better, reach higher, and focus on the results that matter.
How I put customer testimonials in the spotlight
As you might expect from the CEO of a video-focused company, I use video to give customer feedback the podium it deserves. But I don’t just use video because it’s what our product is about. Videos of customers secure more views than any other type of content I send to my team.
There are a few reasons for this:
Human brains love seeing faces. It helps grab your people’s attention and keep them engaged.
Real people, real quotes, and real words make what you’re saying tangible. Real-life examples are powerful.
- Your people genuinely care about what your customers have to say. When given the option, they want to listen.
I try to include screen-recordings of customer and sales calls within my feedback updates, but this is just one option. You don’t need to go this route if it isn’t feasible for your company. I also share screenshots of customer emails, or breathe life into a written review by turning it into an engaging quote.
When you deliver customer feedback to your team, it’s all about sharing the highlights.
What your customer feedback video might look like
Using our own customer feedback videos as inspiration, we put together an editable template for our Biteable Teams customers. For these video templates we use a brand we made up called Nextwave. We also created a style guide for Nextwave that allows us to easily rebrand templates like this to match the brands of our customers.
If Nextwave wanted to amplify their customer feedback, they might share a video like this one:
Make your message stick
The secret to making your message stick is twofold. You need to deliver a curated, intentional, and concise message, and you need to do it in an engaging way.
Take a look at the video example I shared above. We included a mix of written quotes and recorded customer feedback to keep it engaging, we purposefully chose feedback the team would find the most impactful, and we’re not wasting anyone’s time — the video gets straight to the point.
This means that a) the team is more likely to pay attention, and b) the takeaways of the message are super clear.
Your people are busy; mine are too. Respect their time by sharing messages in a way that won’t require deciphering. Your message will stick the landing, and your team will thank you for it.
How to build your own culture of customer outcomes
I amplify the voices that matter most by fostering a culture that values customer feedback. You can do the same. It’s difficult to shift a culture overnight, but a few small changes can lead to powerful results.
Embed customer feedback in your values
Drive home the importance of listening to your customers by directly connecting feedback to your company values. If you’re doing it right, every person at your company should know and understand your values.
Customer feedback shouldn’t feel like a new priority. Rather, it should feel like an opportunity to achieve your existing goals and values.
Choose the feedback you share carefully and purposefully. Negative feedback should be constructive and contribute to a clear goal or solution, and positive feedback should be specific to a person, team, project, or feature. If it’s too general, it won’t get anyone very far.
Talk to customers often (and record your conversations!)
Take the time to talk to your customers — and record your conversations whenever possible. I try to talk to as many customers as I can. When I hear something I know will be worth sharing, I take note.
The same goes for our sales and customer success teams. We take every opportunity we can to listen and learn from our customers. And so should you. If they’re not already, encourage your people to record customer conversations and save feedback that stands out to them.
Create a place to share feedback, such as a Slack channel (ours is aptly named #feedback), and get the ball rolling with your favorite feedback highlights. As feedback gets shared, put aside the best of the best to turn into a video update at the next company-wide meeting.
Create a culture of listening
Shifting your company culture and habits starts at the top. As leadership prioritizes customer feedback, your whole team will be encouraged to do the same.
Make it a habit to share powerful customer snippets in short, sharp, purposeful videos that make your point clear. Don’t include the rambling or the lead-up, just keep it to the highlights.
The key is to constantly encourage listening by doing it yourself. Lead by example and normalize paying attention, listening, and translating feedback into change.
Carve out dedicated time in the next All-Hands meeting, or implement #FeedbackFriday to share customer feedback with your team. Then, press play on your video and let the customers do all the talking.
Valuable feedback shouldn’t be a one-and-done kind of deal, either. Consider turning customer highlights into a library for new hires. Include bite-sized snippets of customer calls to give new recruits something tangible to connect with.
Maximize the impact of customer feedback
Although the customer might not always be right, customer feedback is always valuable. Catapult the impact of customer insights by giving customer voices a larger platform. Share the highlights (and the highlights of the lowlights) with your team, and listen as a team.
As renowned customer service expert Frank Eliason says: “Truly listening is hearing the needs of the customer, understanding those needs, and making sure the company recognizes the opportunity they present.”