In today's fast-paced B2B SaaS businesses, understanding and engaging with customers is vital for long-term success. Vitally and Simplesat partnered to host the “How to Operationalize Customer Feedback, Sentiment, and Advocacy” webinar, and this webinar recap walks readers through the key takeaways and advice shared from this webinar’s panel of industry experts.
The webinar panelists included:
- Amelia Losciale, Senior Customer Success Manager at Vitally
- Cory Brown, Co-founder and CEO of Simplesat
- Chad Horenfeldt, Head of Enterprise Customer Success & Services at Meta (Kustomer)
Collectively, these expert panelists discussed the importance of measuring customer sentiment, turning customers into advocates, and operationalizing feedback to drive meaningful change for Customer Success organizations. So without further ado, let’s jump into the recap blog (or the on-demand recording if you would prefer) to see their impactful advice and insights into how businesses can leverage customer relationships to achieve success!
Question #1: Based on your experience, which customer attributes should you build to analyze feedback effectively?
An effective customer feedback analysis depends on building and reviewing the right customer attributes that provide meaningful insights into their experience with your product. That analysis can help businesses better understand customer needs and pain points and make data-driven decisions to improve their products or services.
Amelia: “I think that good feedback can be sourced from anywhere, and anyone, really any user of your product, can give you great feedback. But it's the ability to spot those trends [across customer segments] that I think makes attaching attributes to customers and users really important.”
Chad: “Engagement is another important [attribute to look at] as well. It's not just those people that respond; it's those people that don't respond, and just making sure that you're determining who those people are so that you can appropriately follow up with them.”
Question #2: How do you use customer feedback to shape your Customer Success strategies, and how do you avoid over-correcting CS strategies based on customer feedback and preferences?
Using customer feedback to shape Customer Success (CS) strategies can be a valuable tool for any SaaS business. However, it's important to balance addressing customer needs while maintaining the company's vision and objectives to avoid possible over-correction and ensure a cohesive, customer-centric approach.
Cory: “We really like to focus on the positive feedback, not just the negative feedback…[because] that [positive feedback] is when we know that’s a bright spot for us [and then we] know what to focus on. So if people are really congratulating us or happy about going above and beyond on something...those are things that we'd like to double down on.”
Cory: “Once you commit, you need to be confident about the decision that you made, and you can't let shiny objects or anecdotal one-off comments distract you...stay focused and put [and] commit to something whether that's quarterly, monthly, or every six months."
Question #3: What kind of questions provides the most informative feedback on surveys? Do you have examples of questions that have worked best in the past?
When Customer Success teams are designing surveys to collect feedback, certain types of questions can provide more informative responses than others, and that’s just the truth. Asking open-ended questions that focus on customer values, satisfaction, and potential improvements could yield more insightful responses.
Chad: "It was really important that we get buy-in from the different functions, because sometimes we bring feedback back to an organization, and the product team's like, 'Hey, listen, we're busy, we don't necessarily want that feedback right now.' So to include them is really important."
Cory: “You can also [add] additional questions in your survey and pair closed-ended with open-ended questions, and it's a lot better. [For example], I've done product surveys in the past where it's all closed-ended [and created a lot] charts and graphs from it.”
Question #4: What are some unique ways you can identify, and then turn a customer into an advocate for your product?
Some unique strategies were shared to help Customer Success teams identify and turn customers into advocates for your product, but ultimately, the key to customer advocacy is to build a relationship with them and really give them a reason to promote the product or service in the first place.
Amelia: “I pay close attention to [user feedback] so that I can bring that to my customers and say something like, ‘Hey, it looks like you have this user who left us this feedback.’ If it's positive feedback, that's great! If it's not, then that's showing them that I'm paying attention and I want to help [the] team."
Chad: “Look for ways where you can add value. [Adding customers to] beta products and things like that [can] really connect [the CSM] with them and [the CSMs can] be where your customers are. That's just something that you should be doing so you can learn from them, and you can stay more connected with your customers."
Question #5: Best practices for a feedback loop for customers to Customer Success, and then surfacing that feedback to other relevant teams?
A customer feedback loop is essential for businesses to identify areas of improvement and enhance customer satisfaction in the long run. So establishing a streamlined process for collecting and sharing feedback across Customer Success teams and other relevant departments should be considered from the get-go!
Cory: “At Simplesat, when we get negative feedback, it creates an Intercom conversation associated with that customer with all the feedback details, and that goes straight into our unassigned inbox. We have people who are doing support who know that they need to answer new conversations or new tickets, so it's basically treated like a new conversation from a customer.”
Amelia: “From a CSM perspective, you have to have a process where this information is being pumped into consistent channels. An important way to hold CSMs accountable for that or to incentivize them to use those channels, rather, is to make the Product to Customer Success [knowledge sharing process] a part of this feedback loop really strong.”
Question #6: Recommendations for creating learning loops across the entire organization to ensure visibility and customer-centric decision-making?
Establishing cross-departmental learning loops enables effective feedback and knowledge sharing; take our panelist's word for it! These loops create visibility into customer experiences and insights and promote a more customer-centric decision-making culture across the organization.
Chad: “Taking your data and making sure you're [clearly] communicating that data [is critical]. Putting [data] into charts, easy to read format, and really spelling out to say ‘Here's what we're seeing [and] here's something to focus on’ [is critical]. Always bring data, that's my biggest recommendation!”
Amelia: “Customer sentiment and customer feedback is so important to be integrated into health scores, but not as like the core thing. I absolutely think that other teams [and] leadership teams should be hearing these things. But it's important to balance it out with other data [because] you don't want to overly impact the morale or business decisions that are being made with one-dimensional data.”
That’s all for now!
Understanding and engaging with customers is the key to success in any fast-paced B2B SaaS business! This webinar's panel of industry experts shared so many impactful insights based on their experience, and they were not shy to share their practical tips and advice on how Customer Success organizations can leverage customer feedback to drive meaningful change and achieve long-term success. So if you feel left out because you missed the webinar, don't be! You can watch the on-demand recording and start watching now. Lastly, be sure to also check out these incredible resources featured at the end of the webinar: Chad Horenfeldt’s Substack, Customer Success & Failures, and Simplesat’s Customer Feedback Crash Course!