You’ve likely heard about the concept and practice of “closing the loop” or a “closed-loop feedback” (CLF) cycle. What is it, and how does it work?
There are actually a couple types of closed-loop feedback systems depending on whether you’re talking about internal or external feedback. Internal refers to an employee feedback mechanism where as an external closed-loop feedback system is geared toward the Customer’s inputs and what you do with them. They’re both important to a healthy Customer-centric organization, and they operate basically the same way, just with different sources of feedback. I’ll concentrate on that external, or Customer-centric model here, but realize that there’s another application for this CLF system if you want to approach employee experience the same way.
The overall concept of a CLF cycle is that you (as I’ve often emphasized) do something with the feedback you receive. Rather than just sitting on VoC information or just reporting it, CLFs empower us to actually improve our processes in a focused way thus improving Customers’ future experiences while also showing gratitude to those who offer us their thoughts. At first glance (and if you just take the term literally from its own label), a closed-loop feedback system is one that simply follows up with the Customer on their input. Now, that may take on many different forms depending on how you interpret the concept: Follow-up may be simply replying—perhaps even with an auto-generated, boilerplate, impersonal email—that a Customer’s feedback has been “received.” Sometimes the follow-up is in the form of self-preservation and reaching out to a Customer to save the experience. Let’s be honest: If you don’t find out about a disastrous Customer experience until you’ve received negative feedback is likely to be a lost cause, at least in that instance…that said, sometimes you can recover, and the best experience is sometimes a make-good for what started out as an awful experience. But even these approaches to a CLF don’t really capture the benefit of such a system.