Every department in your company thirsts for feedback from customers to help measure brand awareness, design products, improve service offerings, understand satisfaction levels, and more. Unfortunately, more often than not, there is no coordinated effort across the organization to ensure that: (a) customers are not over-surveyed, which can be defined either as being surveyed too frequently, i.e., no-touch rules, or asked the same or similar questions by different departments; (b) you respond to feedback wherever customers provide it, e.g., online reviews, etc.; or (c) the feedback is collected, analyzed, and used in a cohesive fashion.

Create a customer feedback map.

Think about the many customer touchpoints with your organization, and then think about the various departments in your organization that might be asking customers for feedback at each of those touchpoints. It can be quite overwhelming—for you and for your customers! To make sense of it all, you should compile a customer feedback map to align with your customer journey map.

Creating a customer feedback map can be a daunting task, especially in very large, disparate, and/or siloed organizations, but the benefits—not the least of which is financial—are endless. For example, if you have nine different departments all working in a vacuum, including licensing nine different survey, enterprise feedback management, or text analytics platforms, consolidating the data can reduce costs and improve the way the company listens to customers. Other benefits include reducing or eliminating respondent fatigue, increasing response rates, and improving the actionability of the data.

The customer feedback map should first identify your touchpoints and the corresponding departments that support each. Start with a customer lifecycle map that highlights the lifecycle stages and then inventories the many and various touchpoints within each stage. In other words, create a touchpoint map. You can do this in Google Sheets—or you can start with butcher paper and sticky notes—in order to bring multiple people together to contribute to this exercise.

On the map, mark each touchpoint at or for which you’re gathering feedback. You might even color code the touchpoint red, yellow, or green, depending on satisfaction scores.

Next, you’ll add details to the map, including:

  • All forms/sources of customer feedback at each touchpoint
  • Other feedback the may be indirectly linked to a touchpoint
  • Owner of the feedback
  • Audience for each piece of feedback
  • End-user (internal) of the feedback
  • Objective/purpose of the feedback
  • All resources used for feedback/analysis (software, tools, etc.)
  • Desired sources of feedback (gaps)

This can then also be the first step toward mapping the interaction and transaction data that you capture (in your contact center, CRM, or other similar platform) about customers at each of those touchpoints as well, creating a comprehensive picture of all of the data you have on your customers.

Consolidate customer feedback sources.

After you’ve created the feedback map, the next step is to consolidate your listening efforts. Centralizing to one department both the ownership of your voice of the customer efforts and the platform used to collect, analyze, and respond to the feedback eliminates redundancies, creates efficiencies, saves money, and ensures a cohesive approach to your voice of the customer program overall and, ultimately, to the customer experience.

Identifying the various sources of customer feedback within your organization is a valuable exercise. You may just discover some very scary information: how much your customers are being asked to provide feedback—and just how little of that is actually being used in a meaningful way.

(It’s goes without saying that mapping the feedback applies to all constituents, not just customers. Do the same for feedback and data from/about employees, vendors, partners, etc.)

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. -Bill Gates

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. This article is a excerpt from Annette’s book  Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business), available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.