Customer feedback on both positive and negative experiences can benefit both consumers and businesses in the long run, a new study finds.

Research from actionable intelligence solutions firm Verint Systems Inc. revealed thatbusinesses don't gain anything by customers' withholding of complaints. In fact, the more feedback customers share — both positive and negative — the more companies gain.

Dave Capuano, vice president of digital marketing at Verint, said consumers can gain monetary rewards — such as discounts on future purchases in exchange for their feedback — as well as an increased level of satisfaction in knowing their concerns are being noticed. In the end, he said it's the business that ends up benefiting the most from this feedback.

"Customer satisfaction breeds true loyalty," Capuano told Business News Daily. "For truly satisfied customers whose needs are met and expectations are exceeded —they cannot imagine using another product or service."

The study revealed four different types of consumers, three of which businesses must try to get to speak up more:

  • Brand champions: These customers will sing a brand's praises, remain loyal over a long period of time and be most likely to get rewarded in return.
  • Silent likers: These are customers who may be loyal and happy, but are the least likely to talk about their experiences and engage with brands.
  • Fence sitters: These are customers who appear to be ambivalent about the service they receive; they don't engage with brands or share their experiences.
  • Churners: These customers will constantly be on the hunt for a better deal and won't hesitate to leave if they are dissatisfied with services.

Capuano said businesses should strive to turn each consumer segment into brand champions. "These brand champions are not always rewarded financially, yet they are willing to pay more for a solution because of the associated experience they have with it," Capuano said.

He points to Apple as a company that does a good job of converting customers into brand champions.

"Users will often talk about their experiences integrating content across multiple devices with friends and family," Capuano said. "For Apple, maintaining a consistent experience helps to keep customers satisfied and acting as brand champions."

Researchers believe the study shows an opportunity for companies to establish longer-term loyalty with more customers by encouraging them to become more engaged.

While the onus is on the business to make consumers understand their organization is willing to reward them for speaking out in order to help inform and improve the customer experience, the researchers said consumers need to take more responsibility for sharing their feedback.

Verint encourages consumers to become brand champions by being vocal about positive and negative experiences and by giving direct feedback to the organizations with which they do business.

"The data shows that service is a two-way street, and it should demonstrate to consumers that businesses are willing to reward those who speak out in order to help improve loyalty, service and performance," said Nancy Treaster, senior vice president and general manager of strategic operations forVerint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions.

The study was based on surveys of more than 8,000 consumers in the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, Germany and Poland.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.