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Thinking Outside the Box: Creative Ways to Utilize Customer Feedback from NPS Surveys and Online Reviews

There are a wide range of metrics you can use to learn about your customers’ experience. NPS and online reviews are two popular tools that measure this, but NPS feedback is internal, whereas reviews are public and easily accessible for customer consumption. 

If you’ve been following us for a while, you now know the importance of Closing The Loop on customer feedback from NPS surveys. Following up with a customer who has responded to your NPS survey is a fantastic way to enhance the customer experience and build consumer loyalty. But what else can you do with feedback – either from surveys or customer reviews – aside from putting out fires or saying a quick “thank you”? 

At WebPunch, we’re all about celebrating innovative approaches to making the most of earned feedback. Here are three unique ways that businesses have addressed their customers’ complaints and praises. We hope these will inspire you to think outside the suggestion box!

A Quick Preface: Why Addressing Negative Customer Feedback Matters

Before we get to the good stuff, first things first: why should you pay attention when a customer complains? Simply put, bad news travels fast (and far).

Unhappy customers are, unfortunately, more vocal than their satisfied counterparts. While it’s true that happy customers are also willing to share their praises and positive experiences, they’re talking to an average of 6 people. Unhappy customers, however, may share their complaint with 15 or more people.

Customer Experience for Executives stats

Additionally, most of this complaining happens behind your back.

It turns out that only 1 in 25 unhappy customers will complain to you directly. If you’re receiving direct feedback, it’s worthwhile to pay attention.

This is especially true if you notice recurring themes across customers. This may be an indication that something is amiss in your process, and this valuable insight gives you the opportunity to identify and correct the problem before it happens again. 

Alternatively, customers might be complaining because their expectations – which were unrealistic – are not being met, and this is where using their feedback to provide certain information upfront can work to your advantage. You can recalibrate their expectations so they will better understand what to expect rather than immediately assuming you’ve done something wrong.

Our first “out of the box” business did exactly that.

Be Inspired By Complaints To Reorient Customers’ Expectations

Goldfish Swim School franchise took negative feedback they had received – from online reviews, NPS surveys, and direct feedback – to create a children’s book to give to new members. Since their swim lessons are developed for young children up to 12 years old, they created a short illustrated book that loosely addresses common problem areas, such as teacher turnover, repetition of class material, and group learning. The colorful pictures, the fun narrative about a sea turtle going to swim lessons with his sea creature friends, act to normalize these “problems” so that children and parents are less likely to see these experiences adversely.

Goldfish Swim School members receive copies of this book.

Try this instead: if creating a book seems too daunting or is not the right fit for your business model, you could create a resource guide or one-page handout for your customers that has company-approved language to address these commonly expressed concerns, similar to a Q&A. For example, if a common complaint is that their child doesn’t get enough one-on-one time with the instructor, be sure to point out all of the benefits of group learning.

Boost Employee Performance and Improve Standard Operating Procedures

When it comes to revenue and performance, Apple isn’t settling for a passing grade. Apple has long been using NPS surveys to find detractors and improve its retail store experience, which has led to an additional $25 million in annual revenue.

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The feedback they glean from customer comments is not locked in a dark room or burned in a dumpster fire, but in many retail stores, customer comments appear on a large TV in the break room. This fosters discussions within the team, and after a manager has contacted the customer to determine what issue they faced and what needs improvements, they bring that information back to the team so their employees know how to improve the customer experience. By implementing this practice – and contacting detractors within 24 hours – Apple found that these original detractors spent even more money at their store. This simple follow-up made a huge difference in their bottom line.

Try this instead: compile a list of common complaints and discuss them with your team. As part of future employee training, share this list along with the best (corporate-approved) ways to address them. 

Try this instead: if you consistently receive angry responses to your NPS survey or negative review content about the same policy, consider changing your standard operating procedure (SOP) regarding this policy to prevent this reoccurring complaint. For example, if you find that a lot of people don’t understand the withdrawal policy for your program, you can implement a new SOP at the moment of withdrawal (as well as when a member joins) to remind them of how the policy works and make sure it’s clear to them. Or if they withdraw online, have a quick, bullet point email that is automatically sent to remind them how long they have to redeem any outstanding lessons or credits, etc.

Try this instead: reward employees for positive shout-outs in online reviews or internal feedback surveys. Some companies provide $5 for every 5-star review that mentions an employee by name, which can go into an end-of-year bonus or a monthly gift card. Even if it’s not a monetary reward, you can pull a line from a review and share it with the team each week. This is a great way to boost morale and acknowledge the good work that your employees are doing.

Use Social Media To Address Concerns Before They Turn Into Reviews

Using social media channels to provide immediate customer service solutions or up-to-date information can save you from some angry phone calls. 

Southwest Airlines implemented this tactic when they created a social media “Listening Center” team, dedicated folks who search for any mention of Southwest Airlines (using hashtags, for instance) and then swiftly identify and address any customer issues. Just by following mentions on Twitter, they were able to track lost luggage and rebook customers’ missed connections. They were faster than any other airline at responding to customer issues, showcasing their commitment to customer satisfaction.

Try this instead: if you’re experiencing a major issue – such as a technical malfunction in your swimming pool affecting your daily lessons, or an influx of clients for restoration work in the aftermath of a storm – it might be worthwhile to disseminate information through Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter. You can inform them that classes are canceled for the day, or let customers know that there may be a delay in responding to phone calls for the next 24-48 hours. 

Try this instead: acknowledge a customer’s praise for your business on social media! Quote their review (or part of it) in a social post, and if applicable, you can include a link to the full review. Create a clean border or branded visual element in which to display the text. Be sure to thank the customer for the review and encourage more customers to share their feedback – who knows, they might be featured, too!

Start using Customer Feedback today!

It pays to have someone in your corner when it comes to your customers. Do you need help enhancing your customer experience online? We can help! 

WebPunch has a whole suite of tools to help you level up your online reputation and overall customer experience. Reach out to us today to learn more.



Jenny thinks of herself as a Jill of all Trades, with WebPunch's "Renegade Review Responder" being one of her all-time favorite titles. As a former dolphin trainer, military school professor, and alcohol researcher, she now enjoys working from home and writing about her misadventures. She lives with her smokeshow of a husband and loves traveling the world with him. You'll likely find the pair wandering through the horios of Greece.