Conducting a Net Promoter Score (NPS®) survey is hardly uncommon. But, where many companies fall short is in the final step of the process: closing the loop, or responding to feedback in ways that are bound to improve customer satisfaction.

While it's great to gather feedback from your customers, you can't just sit back and analyze it. When a customer completes your survey, they expect your company to take action based on their responses. In fact, 52% of consumers believe that companies need to act on feedback provided by their customers.

In this post, let's dive into the customer feedback loop and discuss some ways you can close it at your business.

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Customer Feedback Loop

Imagine the NPS process as a "loop" — unfolding in stages and "closing" on itself, only to begin again.

At the beginning of the loop, the customer has an experience with your brand. Perhaps she purchases a product, makes a return, or calls your customer support team to ask a question. In any case, she's interacted with you as a consumer, and there's a good chance she'll have something to say about the experience.

The next part of your loop is your NPS survey. You've asked your customer for a score that rates how likely she is to recommend your product or service to a friend, family member, or colleague. Then, she has an opportunity to provide open-ended feedback that explains her rating.

The next step is where many businesses fall short: following through on this feedback and closing the loop to produce measurable results. Fortunately, in the section below we've put together an excellent strategy that you can use to optimize customer feedback at your company.

How to Close a Feedback Loop

You should approach your NPS feedback as a list of "do's and don'ts."

Some customers will be thrilled with your product or service. These survey takers have given you an enthusiastic nine or 10 and provided valuable insight into what you're doing right and should continue doing. You should reach out to these customers to thank them for their positive feedback and continued loyalty to your brand.

Other customers may not be so happy. Maybe they've had a less-than-satisfactory experience and given you a four or five as a result. These customers — now counted as "detractors" — should be followed up with promptly.

Let's explore a few ways you can follow up with both happy and unhappy customers in the sections below.

1. Make a phone call or send an email.

If a customer had a negative experience with your brand, then you'll want to follow up with a phone call or email. Your goal? To start a conversation. And, this shouldn't be too difficult either as your NPS software likely has this function built in, making it easy to initiate conversations as you review feedback.

During this exchange, express your concern and commitment to resolving problems and improving the customer's future experience. Take the time to listen to them and reply thoughtfully. After all, you're there to listen, respond, and create changes that ultimately make your customers happier.

This extra effort can turn even the most frustrated detractors into pleasantly surprised customers who are willing to give you another chance and maybe even tell their friends about their positive experience.

And, that lesson stands no matter how big your company gets. For example, large corporations like Charles Schwab and Apple contact detractors within 24 hours. These organizations don't rely on their excellent reputations or sky-high revenue to counteract dissatisfaction. Instead, they have excellent reputations because they take the time and effort to personally invest in every customer's experience.

2. Send a personalized "Thank You" with a gift.

Of course, not all of your customers will be upset with your brand. In all likelihood, your NPS feedback will also identify a chunk of customers who are satisfied with your products and services. Follow-up is still necessary with this portion of your customer base as you'll want to continuously add value to their experience and keep them loyal to your brand.

To turn customers who are only passive, or neutral (scores six to eight), into promoters, offer them a special promo code, free gift with purchase, or a content upgrade as a special, "Thank you" for taking the survey.

This strategy will also work for promoters who already expect the best from your brand as going the extra mile will only reinforce their loyalty, helping to ensure they continue being happy, high-value customers. Even something simple like the "Thank You" note below can go a long way.

NPS-Feedback-Thank-You

3. Share feedback with customers.

Another way you can "follow up" on NPS feedback is by actually sharing the survey's responses with other customers. And, there are several effective approaches to this strategy. You could display testimonials on your website, share a case study about an especially satisfied customer, or publish everyday exchanges that show you're dedicated to improving customer satisfaction.

For example, Whole Foods pins customer suggestions onto bulletin boards in its stores, displaying its own handwritten replies to customer requests. As depicted in the image below, this "old-school" approach is simple, but effective. It demonstrates an NPS loop at work: asking for feedback, responding to it, and letting other customers (and employees) share in the experience.

Source: Twitter

By now, you've followed up, listened, and responded to customer feedback. Hopefully, you've impressed customers with your above-and-beyond service and converted more than a few of them into enthusiastic promoters.

The final part of your NPS loop involves sharing feedback with your team. This is where you turn customer data into actionable advice that will improve your product or service, and in turn, boost your overall NPS.

Let's explain the best ways to do this in the next section.

Sharing Customer Feedback With Employees

There are several ways to share the insights you've gained from feedback with the rest of your team. Let's review a few of them below.

1. Report to relevant stakeholders.

When assessing NPS, you should determine which teams or employees are best suited to address specific customer concerns. Communicating customer feedback directly to relevant team members has a higher impact because they learn how their work is affecting the user's experience.

For example, the computer peripherals manufacturer, Logitech, communicated complaints about its MX 5000 keyboard to its product team. During this approach, team members didn't just get a high-level directive from their manager — i.e. "You need to improve readability on the LCD screen." Instead, they had an opportunity to see real comments from customers who were unable to read on-screen text.

Sharing feedback this way helps stakeholders become personally involved in the NPS process, motivating them to make improvements and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Conduct NPS reporting in your team meetings.

If you have a regular stand-up or scrum meeting, schedule a few minutes to discuss NPS. Where does it stand currently? Why have detractors complained? How are their complaints being addressed in an actionable way?

Strive to make your NPS process a part of your team culture and regular meeting topic. Doing so will produce higher NPS, generate happier customers, and effectively close the feedback loop for your team.

3. Train your team.

Your customer support staff have an exceptional impact on NPS. If a customer is frustrated by an interaction with a rep, she probably won't give your brand a nine or 10.

That's why training your support staff can become a critical part of closing the NPS feedback loop. For example, at Charles Schwab, the manager personally looks through customer feedback following interactions with financial consultants. One of the ways she follows up is to review any complaints with her employees in one-on-one training sessions. Her goal is to train her consultants to serve customers better – and sustain customer loyalty.

For more customer feedback tips, read why you should measure net promoter score.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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Originally published Nov 18, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated November 18 2019

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NPS