How to improve customer service through data? Explained

Reading Time: 19 minutes

Customer service is becoming increasingly important impact revenue with 2-7% according to HubSpot. Retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones and good customer service can impact the likelihood for repurchase.

If you are looking to answer ‘how your data can create a roadmap for customer service’ and ‘how you can use customer service for revenue growth’ this guide will be for you.

You will learn how a strategic approach to customer service can improve your business outcomes.

This expert guide was specifically created for Founders, COO, Revenue Operations Managers and Sales Leaders who want to elevate their strategic understanding about:

  • How to leverage customer feedback for better customer service
  • How to increase retention via customer service
  • How to drive revenue growth via customer service
  • How to leverage your data to come up with better customer service
  • How Revenue Operations can set your service teams up for success

Get more tips

Keep your personal development up with more valuable expert content like this:

About Megan

Megan Foster is a sales leader and revenue operations manager with 5+ years of experience in high tech SaaS. She has experience in both regional and global sales and marketing teams. She is the co-founder of SlideFill.

Why leverage feedback to drive better customer service

Your organization has multiple departments with direct impact on revenue. These are in general:

  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Marketing

Direct impact on revenue can be categorized in two overarching themes:

  • Retaining existing revenue
  • Growing existing and new revenue

Customer Service for retention

Customer service is a combined source of information which should lead to strategic decisions. Unfortunately, it’s too often confused with ‘Customer Support’.
Customer support and customer service are not the same.

Customer support is a part of the overall service delivered to the customer. It’s how you support the customer when they have a problem or provide feedback.

When you consider customer support and customer service as equivalents, your company is guaranteed to miss out on opportunity. Customer service can create more – revenue focused value – compared to Customer Support.

It’s a direct source of feedback and questions from clients which can be used to evaluate:

  • Your product (and its roadmap)
  • Your sales teams their skill set or quality
  • Your documentation and client’s understanding
  • Your overall customer experience and perception

The understanding of these customer experiences are crucial not only to prevent attrition, but also to generate additional value.

Customer Service for growth

When the right process is in place, feedback from clients will become part of strategic planning in order to create more revenue generating opportunities.

These are the easiest to define through examples

Example: Product and it’s roadmap

If customer feedback showcases x% of your existing clients want a certain feature, incorporating the feature in your product can lead to higher product usage, upsell opportunities and eventually sales or revenue.

Example: Sales teams and their skill set of quality

If customer feedback is indicating they are not getting the right level of support it’s mostly related to a gap of knowledge on your sales team. Working with L&D you can improve your sales teams to close that gap and make them better at the positioning over your solutions, eventually leading to better customer experience, sales and revenue.

Example: Documentation and client’s understanding

If customer feedback is indicating client’s do not understand your product or service, it could drive the product roadmap but also the available ‘self-learning’ material for the clients increasing their understanding. The better they understand how your service is answering their needs, the more they use, the more you sell and make revenue.

Example: Customer experience and perception

If customer feedback showcases a bad customer experience, you can improve this experience, which will increase the satisfaction of your customers, make them advocates and eventually drive referrals, sales and revenue.

These examples all deliberately end with the words ‘sales and revenue’ as they all close a gap and lead to additional usage, upsell opportunities, referrals or simply put: revenue growth.

How to use data to come up with better service

Is CSAT a good metric?

The most common adopted solution in order to collect customer feedback is called ‘CSAT’ or Customer Satisfaction Score Calculation. CSAT will provide you with:

  • A weighted percentage of satisfied customers
  • The likelihood of customers recommending your service or product

While CSAT in itself is not a bad metric, there are a set off issues:

CSAT made organizations lazy. It allows companies that are not 100% bought in to listen to their customer feedback to use it as an excuse for caring. If you don’t ‘consider’ acting upon customer feedback, CSAT is merely a (fake) service label.

It’s comparable to stating: “You deeply care about the environment, because you don’t throw trash on the ground” while you also don’t make any effort to clean up when you see garbage. You should see what’s wrong here.

The second and even more prominent issue with CSAT is the fact that it’s often not representative of your customers. Even when you would be able to enforce clients to fill in surveys, it won’t be reliable.

While CSAT is still important and useful, you should always keep in mind it’s heavily impacted by self-selection bias: only people who want to fill it in, submit a survey.

This will lead to skewed results:

  • Responses are skewed to extreme negative or positive
  • Sample size is non-representative for all your customers

You can imagine the consequences of this when you use CSAT to set your long term strategy to improve customer service. So what to do instead?

Customer Service signals framework

If CSAT is not the answer, are we screwed? No – you are definitely not.

The answer to creating the right customer service framework lies in multiple departments and the right consolidation of data. It’s similar to lead routing, you want:

  • Set a range of ‘signals’ to track
  • Source customer data for the signals across department
  • Allocate a ‘score’ to every signal
  • Calculate an overall score for customers
  • Action customers based on the score related to:
    • Potential attrition or churn
    • Potential growth or opportunity

CSAT is one of the signals you will gather as it’s one of the most scaled solutions. Apart from that you have different types of other signals you want gather from your revenue operations activities:

Sales led customer satisfaction signals

Signals coming directly from your sales team (Sales Development Representatives, Account Executives, Account Managers and Customer Success Managers):

  • Direct feedback to sellers during meetings
  • Proactive outreaches to your sales teams
  • Willingness to engage with sales and specialist teams
  • Amount of meetings attended, collaboration score

Product led customer satisfaction signals

Signals coming directly from your products and the customer interacting with the product such as:

  • Time spend in your product
  • Number of times logged in to your product
  • Amount of output created with your product

Marketing led customer satisfaction signals

Signals coming from a wide variety of marketing material, attendance to events or webinars and different marketing programs:

  • Completion of your self-study material and guides
  • Attendance to marketing events or webinars (and satisfaction)
  • Amount of people who want to use your referral program

Customer support led customer satisfaction signals

Signals coming from your customer support team related to the understanding of clients (which is a good indicator something is wrong):

  • Satisfaction of the support received
  • Number of tickets created in order to get additional support
  • Categories of different issues being raised to customer support

The right metrics highly depend on the product or service you are offering and there is no one-size fits all. Once you have defined your metrics, you should find a way to get the data points, balance the feedback and use it to define strategy for growth and retention.

How to do this?

This is where your Revenue Operations can help: building out the right metrics to track, data capture, consolidation of the data, making data available cross-department and the decision making from the data itself.

Revenue Operations impact on service teams

RevOps Objective: Capturing the right data

The first role of Revenue Operations is to work out which feedback is relevant for the revenue side of the business. These are mostly data points, written feedback, scores or usage insights that give an insight about the perception of the total value created.

The key stakeholders in identification of these metrics are Sales Leadership, Sales Strategy and Revenue Operations itself. In order to capture the data points, Revenue Operations might rely on different other departments or systems in place.

We can visualize potential department using the metrics we defined under the previous header:

MetricsDepartments
CSATSales, Customer Experience System
Time in productProduct
Number of times logged inProduct
Completion of self-study materialLearning & Development, Marketing
Amount of people in referral programAffiliate Manager, Sales
Willingness to engage with sales peopleSales, Marketing, SEP
Number of support tickets createdCustomer Support System

Revenue Operations will define these metrics and work with sales (or other departments) in order to get them. Organizations might be in a situation where no data is available and in this case it’s the task of RevOps to create a business requirement document and plan (stakeholders, resources, timeline, etc.) to get a system in place to get the data or consolidate this data.

Example: No system

As a small company you can provide support through an email alias (help@), but as you grow this will not be sufficient to route tickets and collect data around the categories of problems your clients encounter (feedback). In order to solve this, a system like Zendesk can help you in routing and categorizing data, providing insights into the most common issues.

Example: No data consolidation

Your product team can capture in a database how often your users generate output using your product. This can give a good indication of upsell opportunities. This doesn’t mean the data is easily available to sales. Revenue Operations can work with the product team to get the data from the database in your CRM and create notifications to sellers when certain upsell thresholds are met.

These examples are a good testament why the cliche ‘breaking down silos’ holds a lot of truth. When departments refuse to look beyond their borders, they will miss out on tons of opportunity.

Additional note about internal feedback from the author:

The same principles are true for internal feedback. It’s crucial to define metrics and a system to collect feedback from your revenue generating teams (sales, marketing, customer service) given they are the unsung heroes driving front-line sales. Failing to give them a secure and open platform to provide feedback, will hurt your organization.

RevOps Objective: Creating the feedback loop

After all relevant feedback can be captured, Revenue Operations is responsible for creating the feedback loop. This loop looks different based on the type of feedback:

  • Explicit: for example a customer filling in a survey
  • Implicit: for example a customer using your product less

In the case of implicit feedback a couple of steps can and should be omitted. Revenue Operations will be responsible for the strategic design and driving the implementation of the feedback loop, while other stakeholders are responsible for the final execution and taking the right actions.

The full feedback loop looks as follows:

SlideFill Feedback Loop in Revenue Operations

1. Full feedback loop in Revenue Operations © SlideFill 2023

  1. Receive feedback or data point
  2. Acknowledge feedback (explicit only)
  3. Consolidate / categorize the feedback
  4. Transfer the insight to the relevant team
  5. Make a decision (involved team) about a solution
  6. Implement a solution
  7. Communicate solution back to revenue-driving team
  8. Package solution in order to:
    • Increase revenue
    • Increase retention
    • Decrease cost of revenue
  9. Deliver solution to feedback provider
  10. Scale solution to other customers
  11. Document the solution for future deployments
  12. Report on the impact of the solution (measurement)

The more of these steps can be automated, the better.

In this feedback loop there are three caveats most companies struggle with and most likely you do too:

Acknowledge feedback

Organizations often forget the power of acknowledgement. A simple authentic (‘non’ automated) message of acknowledgement can have a powerful influence on your relationship.

An even worse customer experience is when your feedback is acknowledged but no action is taken.

Over the years, I have worked with many suppliers (SEPs, Scheduling Tools, …) that acknowledge feedback, promise the feedback is included on the product roadmap but never deliver a solution.

It’s especially frustrating, when you are asking for ‘basic’ functionality that never comes to fruition while they are releasing new product updates that are shiny but not necessary. This definitely accelerated with the desperate *need* of companies to include GenAI in their products.

What’s the point of sales teams being able to write automatic emails through GenAI when they are unable to target the right audience because of a product limitation?

On the flip side of that coin, I have worked with suppliers (Enrichment Tools – Lusha, Cognism) that put me directly in contact with their product teams which allowed us to create amazing solutions together both helping our business and theirs.

This built trust and relationship and made me an advocate for their solutions (hence the mention).

Communicate solutions back to revenue-driving team

Because of silo’s in your organization, there is a risk that feedback is being passed on to the relevant teams but the deployment of a solution is not reaching the revenue-driving team.

(Technical) teams often have a passion for solving hard problems but forget that finding a solution is only 90% of the work. When no one knows a solution is available, people will still have the same problems.

This is most likely the biggest learning I have about a role in Revenue Operations: invest as much time in letting people know you have the answer, as you invest in finding the answer.

It’s the same trap that makes tons of businesses fail: “If you build, they will come”

This is not the case and often glorified. There are tons of speeches to be found online of Steve Jobs explaining how Apple became so successful by answering customer needs through a user experience that was simple, appealing and working.

But don’t fool yourself: they invested a lot of money in letting people know this was the case (as 43 million viewers on YouTube confirm).

The same goes for your solutions, whether it’s internal or external, make sure your audience knows:

  • There is a solution to their problem
  • There is a solution to a problem they didn’t realize they had

In short: failing to communicate that you have a solution is as good as having no solution at all.

Decide on strategic revenue opportunities

This one we will cover as the last standalone Revenue Operations objective as it combines two steps from our feedback loop: making a decision about the solution and packaging the solution to drive revenue.

RevOps Objective: Decide on strategic revenue opportunities

Making a decision on strategic (revenue) opportunities is a shared responsibility between Revenue Operations and other departments. It’s definitely not only up to your Revenue Operations Manager.

To understand this better, you should go more in depth about two steps of the feedback loop:

  • Make a decision (involved team) about a solution
  • Packaging the solution for revenue
Make a decision (involved team) about a solution

You should know that there is more at play than purely revenue when you make a strategic decision about a solution and every solution is a question of trade-offs.

The first trade-off someone needs to make is that a solution is in line with the vision and brand of a company, products or service.

While solving a problem can be beneficial, it can also go against your long term vision.

If this is the case, make sure to let your customers know and table the solution for now. Going back to what I said before, authenticity always wins in the long run. Instead of explaining to your customers that it’s on the roadmap and never deploying it, it’s better to let them know why the decision to not pursue this now has been made.
Things that can influence your strategic decision are:

  • Vision
  • Brand
  • Policies
  • Negative impact on others
  • Deviating too much of your core business
  • Etc.

It’s easier to explain this with an example:

Example: Vegetarian store

If you are running a vegetarian store with a brand built around animal welfare, promising a solution on customer feedback around the fact they can’t find a ‘real steak’ can kill your whole business.

As obvious as it is, starting to offer a cow steak will impact:

  • Your brand: you are no longer a vegetarian store
  • Your vision: you do not longer care about animal welfare
  • Your other customers: negative perception from them
  • Your core business: need for completely different supply lines

Whatever might seem like an additional revenue opportunity here, can have a negative impact on all of your other revenue and subsequently your complete business.

The second trade-off has to do with your most precious resource: time.

Companies often have a short-term strategy that’s aligned with a long-term strategy. Any decision that’s been made about providing a solution, will take time away in the short-term from another project that might influence both your short and long term strategy.

Companies, more specifically start-ups, often make mistakes here focusing too much on short-term (to survive) compromising on long-term vision. This is a risky trade-off.

Example: Uber’s price increase

To increase adoption of customers (problem), the company entered the market as a very cheap alternative to taxis (solution). Over time, this impacted profitability. Uber increased their prices by 82% between 2018 and 2022 leading to churn of their earlier customers.

Whenever a decision is made about a solution (which involves other teams than Revenue Operations), one needs to take into account long-term impact beyond revenue.

Packaging the solution for revenue

The moment that building a solution based on feedback makes sense from a timing and overall business perception, the decision on how to package the solution and use it as a revenue lever often comes back to Revenue Operations, Customer Service, Marketing and the Sales Teams.

RevOps will play its role in deciding how the solution can strategically drive:

  • The growth of your sales organization: upsells, retention, cross-sells
  • The decrease in cost of your sales: efficiency or productivity gains

They will need to help drive a motion either externally (growth of revenue) or internally (decrease of cost) to drive adoption of the solution.

This includes decisions around where to pilot the solution, how to go-to-market with the solution and how to scale the solution once insights showcase the solution is working. They should create a (global) vision that this solution can benefit different parties.

If Apple would have only offered the iPhone to a handful of customers complaining about a phone with a keyboard, they would have missed out on the $600 billion smartphone market.

Your Revenue Operations Manager and its stakeholders need to have a broad vision to see a link between the potential of local, limited, feedback and a broader audience of customers or internal stakeholders with a problem (they potentially do not know they have).

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you head to the conclusion of this article, you can find answers on frequently asked questions related to how you can improve customer service through data:

How can data improve customer service?2023-12-26T11:58:42+00:00

Data can significantly improve customer service by providing valuable insights into customer feedback, which can be used to drive improvements across various aspects of the business.

By leveraging customer feedback, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of customer preferences, pain points, and expectations. This information can then be used to refine products, services, and customer interactions, ultimately leading to a better overall customer experience.

For example, analyzing customer feedback may reveal recurring issues or areas for improvement in products or services. By addressing these concerns, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction, leading to increased retention and loyalty.

Want to know more about: How to improve customer service through data? Explained

The right customer service level will increase retention while growing your revenue up to 7%. The “Explained: How to improve customer service through data?” guide provides a strategic approach on how to use data in your customer service decisions and capture additional profit.

Find more answers related to Customer Service

Discover all frequently asked questions and answers about customer service.

How can teams collaborate to grow customer service?2023-12-26T11:58:41+00:00

Collaboration among Revenue Operations, Customer Service, Marketing, and Sales Teams is essential to drive adoption of revenue-generating solutions. These teams play a crucial role in packaging the solution, driving adoption, and scaling its impact . By working together and creating a feedback loop to measure customer satisfaction, they can prioritize strategic revenue opportunities and ensure the success of the solution.

Revenue Operations consolidates customer feedback data and identifies strategic revenue opportunities, while Customer Service provides signals related to customer satisfaction, such as satisfaction with support received and the number of tickets created for additional support . Marketing and Sales Teams contribute signals related to customer satisfaction, such as attendance at events, collaboration scores, and direct feedback to sellers during meetings .

Through collaboration, these teams can ensure that the solution aligns with the company’s vision and brand, and that it does not negatively impact the core business . They can also address potential trade-offs and ensure that the solution is strategically positioned to drive revenue growth while providing a positive customer experience.

In summary, collaboration among Revenue Operations, Customer Service, Marketing, and Sales Teams is crucial for driving adoption of revenue-generating solutions.

Want to know more about: How to improve customer service through data? Explained

The right customer service level will increase retention while growing your revenue up to 7%. The “Explained: How to improve customer service through data?” guide provides a strategic approach on how to use data in your customer service decisions and capture additional profit.

Find more answers related to Customer Service

Discover all frequently asked questions and answers about customer service.

What are the limitations of CSAT and what is better?2023-12-26T11:58:41+00:00

Traditional customer satisfaction metrics, such as the Customer Satisfaction Score Calculation (CSAT), have several limitations that impact their reliability and usefulness.

The two main limitations of CSAT:

One significant limitation is that CSAT can make organizations complacent. If companies are not fully committed to acting upon customer feedback, they may use CSAT as an excuse for caring without implementing meaningful changes based on the feedback . This can lead to a disconnect between the perceived level of customer satisfaction and the actual improvements made to products or services.

Another limitation of traditional customer satisfaction metrics is the potential for self-selection bias. CSAT surveys may only be completed by customers who are willing to provide feedback, leading to skewed results that may not be representative of the entire customer base. This can result in an inaccurate understanding of overall customer satisfaction and sentiment.

Traditional customer satisfaction metrics may not capture the full range of customer satisfaction signals. For example, they may not consider signals from marketing, product usage, or customer support, which are essential for understanding the holistic customer experience.

While traditional customer satisfaction metrics like CSAT are important and useful, they have limitations that need to be considered.

Want to know more about: How to improve customer service through data? Explained

The right customer service level will increase retention while growing your revenue up to 7%. The “Explained: How to improve customer service through data?” guide provides a strategic approach on how to use data in your customer service decisions and capture additional profit.

Find more answers related to Customer Service

Discover all frequently asked questions and answers about customer service.

What can I do with SlideFill?2024-03-27T05:35:13+00:00

What can I do with SlideFill? You can save hours creating data-driven content at scale!

SlideFill is a platform allowing you to connect data from Google Sheets in order to create Google Presentations and other data-driven content at scale.

The software will help you to:

• 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝗲𝘀: Create thousands of personalized client presentations with automatic data insert in seconds and close more deals with your top performing clients

• 𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘂𝗲 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀: Refresh data-driven weekly business reviews decks with up to date metrics and reduce the cost of your reporting team.

• 𝗖𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘀: Produce case studies showcasing best practices and results in a few clicks and build stronger relationships by highlighting client success.

• 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴: Tailor marketing content with audience specific data and resonate with your target market based on their demographics.

Start pulling in personalized metrics and data directly in Google Slides through our easy user interface.

SlideFill is 100% FREE without storing any of your data on its servers.

Find more answers related to what SlideFill is

Discover all frequently asked questions and answers about What SlideFill Is.

What is the role of RevOps in customer feedback?2023-12-26T11:58:42+00:00

Revenue Operations (RevOps) plays a critical role in capturing and leveraging customer feedback to drive strategic revenue opportunities. RevOps is responsible for consolidating customer feedback data and identifying how it can be strategically used to drive revenue growth . By capturing relevant data and creating a feedback loop, RevOps can provide valuable insights that inform business strategies and drive revenue-generating solutions.

This involves collaborating with Customer Service, Marketing, and Sales Teams to ensure that the feedback is effectively utilized to drive revenue growth and inform strategic decisions.

RevOps also plays a key role in packaging the solutions derived from customer feedback as revenue levers. This involves aligning the solutions with the brand’s vision, ensuring that they do not negatively impact the core business, and considering the long-term impact beyond revenue. By making strategic decisions about the solutions and considering trade-offs, RevOps ensures that the solutions are in line with the company’s vision and brand, ultimately driving sustainable revenue growth.

In summary, the role of Revenue Operations in customer feedback is to capture and consolidate relevant data, identify strategic revenue opportunities, collaborate with other teams to drive adoption of revenue-generating solutions, and ensure that the solutions align with the company’s long-term vision and brand.

Want to know more about: How to improve customer service through data? Explained

The right customer service level will increase retention while growing your revenue up to 7%. The “Explained: How to improve customer service through data?” guide provides a strategic approach on how to use data in your customer service decisions and capture additional profit.

Find more answers related to Customer Service

Discover all frequently asked questions and answers about customer service.

Why is it important to prioritize a long-term service strategy?2023-12-26T11:58:41+00:00

Prioritizing long-term service strategy over short-term gains is crucial for sustainable business growth. While short-term gains may provide immediate benefits, focusing on long-term strategy ensures that decisions align with the overall vision and have a positive impact on the core business, leading to sustained success.

When making decisions about revenue-generating solutions, it is essential to consider the long-term impact beyond revenue. This involves evaluating how the solutions align with the company’s vision, brand, and core business, as well as considering potential trade-offs. By prioritizing long-term strategy, businesses can avoid compromising their long-term vision for short-term gains and ensure that decisions have a positive impact on the overall business.

An example of the importance of prioritizing long-term strategy is evident in the case of Uber’s price increase. While the initial short-term gain of increasing adoption led to profitability, it also resulted in churn of earlier customers, highlighting the negative impact of prioritizing short-term gains over long-term strategy .

In conclusion, prioritizing long-term service strategy over short-term gains is essential for sustainable business growth.

Want to know more about: How to improve customer service through data? Explained

The right customer service level will increase retention while growing your revenue up to 7%. The “Explained: How to improve customer service through data?” guide provides a strategic approach on how to use data in your customer service decisions and capture additional profit.

Find more answers related to Customer Service

Discover all frequently asked questions and answers about customer service.

Do you want to
save hours?

Start creating data-driven content at scale by connecting Google Sheets to Google Slides through SlideFill.

Getting started with SlideFill is 100% free and will save you hours instantly.

Conclusion

What’s next for you

To enable your organization to take customer service seriously and grow revenue up to 7% while increasing client retention, you need to define your customer satisfaction strategy.

These are the best first three steps to create customer success:

1. Define the signals to measure customer service

Define the CSAT, product, marketing, sales and customer support signals you want to collect from your customers that are important for your specific organization and product. Work with revenue operations to set up a system to collect and consolidate the information.

2. Create a full data-driven feedback loop

Create a loop to define different themes in the feedback you are receiving and set up a process to acknowledge client feedback almost instantly after it is received, being transparent about the next steps you will or will not take to improve.

3. Decide on strategic revenue opportunities

Rank different themes based on the overall importance (impact on revenue growth or retention), the difficulty to solve it and how much the feedback is still aligned with your overall company’s strategy. Make a decision where you will start improving your service.

Looking for more ways to increase profitability?

Or download the eBook for free

Let us know what you think in the comments and join the discussion!

Looking for more inspiration to lead your organization more effectively?
You can find additional tips and insights on our website.

This article does not contain any promotional or paid placements.
Views are personal and not affiliated to employers.
No generative AI was used to write the article.
All examples are illustrative and fictional.

Get more tips

Found this article valuable? Receive more expert insights and learnings directly in your inbox to keep learning:

Join the discussion

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Go to Top