Momentum Podcast: 866
How to Create Effective Customer Feedback Loops
by Alex Charfen
Join host Alex in this insightful episode as he explores the pivotal role of feedback loops in business operations. Discover the benefits of direct communication with customers and members and the critical decision of implementing real-time feedback versus centralized systems.
In this episode of the Momentum Podcast, you will learn:
– What are feedback loops, and why are they vital for businesses?
– Practical examples of effective feedback loop mechanisms.
The significance of listening to your audience, regardless of your industry.
– Cautionary tales of co-dependency and unrealistic expectations.
Alex also shares his personal journey and experiences as an entrepreneur and coach with the evolving nature of feedback loops and the lessons learned. That's why he devenloped The Simple Operations system and its mission to enhance interactions within entrepreneurial teams.
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Book a call with our team and see how we can help you get out of overwhelm and calm the chaos in your life and business: https://simpleoperations.com/survey
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
Welcome, everybody. Welcome Simple operations community. So excited to have you here for our weekly Thursday Facebook Live with Alex. We've got some questions we're going to ask. Alex how are you doing?
I'm doing good. Thanks, Eddie. It's good to have you here, man. Yhennifer’s out. We have redundant systems and… not redundant. Well, yeah, we have some redundancy in our company where if one person's out, somebody else can jump in. So good to have you here.
Thanks. Well, I'm excited to be here, Alex. You know, Yhennifer left some really big shoes to fill. She's an awesome leader in this community, but I'm excited to be here to ask you a couple questions.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.
Alex, the first one we had actually came into the group as a poll from Gabe Arnold, and it's a question for the group, but I love your perspective on this, Alex. Have you ever tried to create a real time chat channel from your customers to your team? Email is challenging for some of our clients and implored setting up dedicated Slack channels or similar channels so that we can reach our clients in real time, in theory. My concerns are that this will create noise and issues operationally. So I'm curious if anybody has feedback on this. What's your perspective on that?
So this is a really good question. You know, if we back away and we say, like, what is the question really here? It's what are the consistent feedback loops that you have for people you're working with for whether you're an agency like Gabe, where its customers or you're a coaching company, where it's members of your product company, where it's purchasers, what type of feedback loops do you have and how effective are those feedback loops? And so I want to split this into two things. First, like what is a feedback loop and why is it so important? And then the idea of having real time feedback loops and why you may or may not want to do that.
So first let's talk about what a feedback loop is. Oftentimes when we're running our businesses, we don't consider that one of the most important things that we can do is get feedback from our customers. Our members are the people who purchase our products. You know, having that direct communication and understanding what's going on is crucially important. And so I suggest that people always have some type of a feedback loop process in place. And, you know, there's so many different ways you can do this. We have an email that is [email protected] and anybody in our membership or outside of our membership can contact us through there. And then it gets distributed to the right person in our company. We also have feedback loops like the Facebook groups or social media where we get input from people. And so having those loops, having that accessibility is really important. I feel like regardless of what type of product or service you are selling, hearing directly from the people who are consuming that product is crucial. And oftentimes when I've coached or worked with companies in the past, that's missing. There isn't a real clear feedback loop. And you know, it's interesting these days how often you buy a product from Amazon or you buy something on a Shopify store or something else, and you can see people are creating feedback loops because you open the package and there's a card inside that says, “if you have any type of an issue, call us immediately or email us”. And it goes further to say, “if you send us your information, we're going to give you a free gift”. And what are those people trying to do? Why are they giving something away for free? Is because they are proactively establishing feedback groups, even in the sale of a product or feedback loops and even in the sale of the product. And so the contact with the people consuming what you do is crucially important. And oftentimes it's left out. And when I've worked with companies and we install feedback loops and we have a clear channel for member or client communications, it can be a path to a lot more success, understanding where there's gaps, understanding where you can make things more clear and creating more momentum for the people you work with.
Now, as far as having real time feedback loops and in some cases I think that is an okay thing to do is to have, I've had people use Slack or messenger or Voxer or some people use Telegram or Signal or WhatsApp, like all of those different programs can be a real time feedback loop with your members. But there's a caution. So here are the benefits. The benefit is you have a clear place that they can go to communicate with you. It can be real time. You can get back to them quicker. You can hear from them in a faster way. Here's the challenge of using something like Slack as a feedback loop. Slack can become very overwhelming and it is usually typically Slack Voxer or Telegram. All the things I named can become overwhelming and we can go from creating support for our members to creating co-dependence and to creating a feeling like whenever they do something, they need to check in with you. And if we create a real time feedback loop, what we're telling our customers is we want you to use this real time. Any time you have an issue, any time you have a question, anytime you in a lot of cases, it becomes anytime you're doing something to move forward, like reach out and contact us.
And the challenges that this can create is that you can start to create a level of co-dependence. And there was a period of time in our company where as a coach, I had Voxer channels set up for all of our members. I think you remember this, Eddie. At the beginning it felt very productive because people would leave us a question. We get back to them. It felt fast, it was real time. But what we saw develop and why we don't do it anymore is it created this level of co-dependence where instead of people taking our information and applying it and then understanding how to grow, they started checking in with us for everything because we told them to. Because we created a system where we said, ‘Hey, here's what we want you to do.’ The very fact we created a real time right up to the minute, this-is-what-we're-going-to-do feedback loop told them, ‘Hey, in order to be successful working with us, we want you to make sure you are, you're checking in with us for everything.’ And that became uncomfortable for us. And it also became uncomfortable for the members because it was real time until it wasn't. And it was right up to date until we didn't have time to check that channel for a few hours. And people would leave us messages like, “Hey, I've got something going on in 10 minutes and I need your input.” And it started to create this expectation that we were constantly monitoring and constantly going to be available. And what I feel like that did to us was we lowered the expectation on the member that they would be able to self-serve, that they would be able to understand that they would be able to solve for themselves. And we created the expectation that in order to move forward, we expected them to check in with us first. And so from a very personal and vulnerable and real place, I feel like we created a level of codependence that was unhealthy for the members and unhealthy for us.
And I'm not saying that if anybody who does this real time feedback loop type of process is going to create that. I'm just expressing this as a caution for why if you're going to do this, you want to be careful with that occurring. And today we have helpdesk software that every request that comes in goes into a central location and can be distributed to our team. And it's very easy for the issue that comes up to be sent to exactly the right person to answer it. And when you're in a Slack channel, especially if you have team members in there, you have everybody seeing everything all the time. And that can also become overwhelming. And so if you do set up real time feedback loops that are some of the things for you to think about to be cautious of. And in my experience where we are today, it is much more effective to have a system where we have things coming into a central location and then Ana, who's in customer service for us, can kind of reroute those items to the person that needs to see them. And it causes minimal distraction in our company and it also creates a history and a record of what's coming up so that we know as a company what's happening that's very hard to do in Slack and can gain super overwhelming when you're just trying to do it there. And we don't create the expectation of immediate feedback. And it didn't happen once, but there was more than once where I would go in and listen to the channel and the message would start with something like, “I need an answer in the next 15 minutes”. And you know, what happened for me, to be very candid, is I started to feel frustrated with that. I started to feel taken advantage of by it. I started to feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, how can their expectation be that if you leave me a message that you need something in 15 minutes and I'm going to get back in 15 minutes?’ Well, it wasn't until I took a second and really examined what we had done and what we had recommended. And we didn't just create that expectation. We created the system that reinforced the expectation. So can it be effective? Yes. Are there pitfalls and challenges to look out for 100%? And I think that in most organizations I've ever worked with where they create something like this, the fact is that eventually they back away from it to something more centralized, something with a history and a record, something where the thing where it comes in can be distributed to the right person. And you don't have an entire population on the other side distracting your entire population on your team.
And this is all, of course, part of our simple operations system that we coach, teach and train entrepreneurs around the world. And if you're interested in understanding more about how you can make every time you and your team get together into a targeted interaction where it's more productive, creates momentum, gets things done, and everyone in the room feels like they're winning. You can go to simpleoperations.com and sign up for a call with our team. We'd love to be able to help you.
Alex. I love the way that you put all of this stuff in this community for entrepreneurs to realize that they're not alone. These conversations don't happen anywhere else. Thank you for taking time on Thursday to meet this group and to do these Facebook live, Alex. Thank you so much for being here. You all are incredible. Thank you so much for being world changing entrepreneurs.
Thanks, Eddie. Thanks, everybody!