Unless you ask, you'll never know what a customer really thinks about your product or service. "By embracing a customer-feedback program," writes Carolyn Hall at MarketingProfs, "you can gain insight into customer attitudes and learn important truths about buying behavior as well as the evolving attitudes that will determine future buying behavior."

Use a customer-feedback program to encourage ongoing dialogue. "The increased consumer engagement forges tighter purchasing relationships and builds significant brand value," notes Hall. But there's more: "The constant communication also provides an excellent platform for the creation of personalized, relevant promotions, creating a win-win that further builds the relationship."

Be sure that everyone has access to your insights. You never know when the feedback that improves your marketing campaigns will also benefit other departments. "Few organizations today have created the tightly integrated framework required to maximize the value of customer feedback companywide," she says.

Prepare for a quick response. Some feedback will influence long-term strategies; other feedback will require an immediate response. "If a customer's poor experience with a service representative leads that customer to defect to a competitor, there is little point in contacting that customer three months later. The opportunity has been missed."

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