IX - Listen to thy customers

“The client is always right” might be the biggest cliché when it comes to commerce. But listening to their feedback is the only way to really know your CX. Here’s how to leverage customer feedback to keep improving.

Peter Vertongen
Peter Vertongen

Bear with us, dear reader, while we resort to one of the biggest clichés in commerce (of CX): “the client is always right.” Actually listening to your customer can teach you tons of valuable things about optimizing your customer experience. This is how to organize customer feedback and leverage it to keep improving.

We’re pretty confident that you’re already offering kick-ass customer experience if you follow all our commandments. But untill you’ve heard from your customers themselves, you can never be entirely sure. Their voice is crucial to stay in touch with reality. That’s why you should give them every opportunity to speak up.

The three golden rules of customer feedback


When collecting feedback from your customers, there are three essential guidelines:



  1. Gather feedback on every interaction
  2. It’s not just the one moment of truth (aka The Sale) that defines your customer experience. Every interaction counts, so you should measure customer satisfaction over the entire customer journey. If you only ask customers how happy they are if they’ve just bought something, chances are their dopamine levels are still going through the roof. That’s why, on Tinder, app ratings are only asked right after you get a match. Sure, the score in the app store will be higher, but what is Tinder really learning about the customer satisfaction?


  3. Don't make measuring moments annoying
  4. Let’s face it: surveys are annoying and largely ignored. If you do launch surveys, follow some guidelines to make them as frictionless as possible:

    • time them correctly (don’t interrupt conversion moments),
    • position surveys subtly (so they don’t block the entire screen),
    • offer incentives or make sure the survey servers the customer’s interest.
    Or better yet: provide options to measure satisfaction without having to interrupt the customer journey. But more about that later.


  5. Actually use the feedback to make changes
  6. Accepting negative customer feedback can be hard. But remember: the customer – even if sometimes unreasonable – is always right. Listen to your customers, process every piece of feedback and use that information to optimize your customer experience.

How to measure customer experience

There are different ways of collecting customer feedback. The first and most obvious one is through your own touchpoints: straight-up asking customers for feedback face to face.

Customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) are another common way of collecting feedback. During an interaction you want to measure, show them a scale (e.g. from 1 to 10), asking them how satisfied they are. This is a solid method to measure satisfaction for a very specific part of the customer journey. The first contact, the purchase etc.

A third method is NPS: Net Promotor Score. This is the percentage of customers that would recommend your company, product or service to someone else. Measuring NPS is very useful to get a general idea of customer satisfaction. But unlike CSAT, it only tells you something about the general customer experience. If the NPS is too low, you still don’t know what part of the customer journey needs improvement.

Automated satisfaction measurements

Although these methods are tried-and-true, they still require some effort from your customer. Luckily, there are a few techniques to measure if a customer is happy without actually having to ask them.


For instance, for our client PartenaMut, we introduced NLP (natural language processing) to analyse if a client is happy or annoyed based on the language of the interaction and the tone of their voice. If they are unhappy, we automated the personal messaging and make sure these customers don’t receive any possibly annoying promotional messages while irritated.


Some banks use their safety cameras to measure the emotional expression of clients coming in. Based on this data, the right counter clerk is assigned to the client. For instance: an angry client might not feel like he’s been taken seriously if a young and unexperienced clerk is assigned.

Measure and adapt

These methods are ideal to support our second golden rule, since customer feedback is measured implicitly. But if you want to automate your feedback tools, you need a central data platform to set up and process this data. This is where a customer data platform comes in.

Which method you decide to use, the most important thing is to actually listen and use the feedback to keep optimizing. If you do, you’re well on the way to create the perfect customer journey.


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About the author

Peter Vertongen

As a strategic thinker, I advise organizations on how to unlock their full digital potential. I’m passionate about sharing my experience and know how so I’m always open to discuss all things digital.