Feedback is not a single point-in-time activity; it is a continuous and iterative process that, when done correctly, can have a dramatic impact on your customer relationships and business performance. Yet amazingly 58% of business leaders see the establishment of a regular feedback process as an “ineffective use of time”.
Creating a continuous feedback loop that genuinely impacts both the actions and outcomes within your business relationship requires widespread organizational buy-in and an intentional focus. As B2B relationship experts, our team have pulled together five crucial practices for achieving success through continuous feedback and iteration. These practices make up the final step in our four-step process for achieving long-term, sustainable customer success.
Establishing and Actioning Continuous Feedback
- Establish regular reviews both internally and externally
Utilizing a feedback program, teams across your business, both customer facing and not, should establish a structured review process. This review should focus on the KPIs and goals you set in the action-plan phase. Once this review is completed, a similar process should be established with your customer, where you update them on progress and highlight new areas of opportunity.
- Communicate progress, plans, and feedback across functions
Individuals from across functions in your organization should be involved in the internal review, while the external review should be kept to client-facing teams. However, in order to achieve customer success you need the whole organization behind you. This means that part of your continuous feedback process must include ongoing communication to every team in your organization.
- Be honest about challenges, setbacks, and what’s work in progress
Continuous feedback and iteration are essential because “the best laid plans of mice and men do oft go awry”, meaning your action plan is never going to be perfect. The only way to overcome challenges and setbacks, and to be given the necessary time for your plans to actualize, is to be honest with your teams and your customers. A strong relationship is about being in it together and sharing goals. Transparency is the cornerstone of being better together.
- Thank your customers (and often)
Customers who have committed to the Advantage survey are showing a dedication to your shared goals and success; this deserves recognition. Continuous feedback and iteration require effort, resources, and time. Do not take for granted customers who care enough to invest that energy with you. Let them know how seriously your organization prioritizes customer feedback and your commitment to listen and drive action. Reiterating this message is how you will keep them engaged and advocating for your shared success.
Perception is often reality
Through listening, sharing, goal setting, action planning, and continuously reviewing you can push your customer relationships forward and improve outcomes for everyone. However, it’s critical to remember that relationships aren’t defined by facts and stats, they’re defined by perceptions. The impressions you leave behind in every interaction are what ultimately make the difference between success and failure in the long term of your customer relationships.
Listening, truly listening is the only way to stay on top of perception, allowing you to course-correct early and often before those best-laid plans go awry. The more you engage with your customer, and the more you collaborate openly with them, the better chance you have of winning in the long term and driving value for the end consumer.