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Leela Srinivasan | Operating in the feedback economy

Patrick Campbell Nov 2 2021

One plus one is two. Do you remember when you learned that?

You probably don’t, but these most basic concepts serve as an essential groundwork for more complex mathematics. These fundamentals grow and evolve, and over time they morph into linear regressions, imaginary numbers, and all that fancy econometrics I learned that I end up only using half of in my life. Most fascinatingly though—across the entire globe, mathematics is the same. Sure there are different methods to measure it or to get to similar answers depending on who’s teaching, but the core principles of math do not change with your country code. It is a universal language.

There are very few communication tools that adhere to such intrinsic principles. One language that I believe is close to being ubiquitous is something we subscription and SaaS operators utilize every day: marketing. Marketing is actually easy to learn at a very basic level. You promote your value for the return of goods and services every day. But marketing, much like math, can be increasingly complex and executing at a high level takes the dedication and wisdom of a tenured mathematician. 

One of those tenured professors of marketing—in fact she’d be the chair of the department is Leela Srinivasan, the CMO at Momentive. I caught up with her at a conference in 2019 when she was the CMO over at SurveyMonkey, and she had plenty to share on lessons in marketing. Even though her taste in American Football teams is dreadful, she can take you from the basic phonics of the marketing language to complex formulas and equations. All that and more.


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Here we summarize the main takeaways for you to implement or hand off to your team for implementation.


Key term

What is the feedback economy?

The feedback economy refers to an economy driven by feedback, including opinions, comments, and reviews, typically from customers.

Why is it important?

As our guest, Leela, puts it, “Feedback has become a global currency in a transparent world where people share their experiences.” And as consumers look to other consumers for their  opinions on brands, this feedback will have a direct impact on your business and the future of your business. So it’s more important than ever to obtain and understand feedback, work to get ahead of it, and use it to your advantage. 

Additionally, having a proper customer feedback system in place will help you foster trust and build long-term relationships, dramatically improving your retention. 


Action plan:

What to do today: 
  • Follow Leela Srinivasan.
  • Schedule a time to meet with your with your customer service and success teams to discuss your customer feedback and communication process.

What to do next quarter:

Establish or refine your customer feedback and ongoing communication strategy. 

In this day and age, it’s imperative that you collect customer feedback if you’re to succeed. However, how you interpret and respond to that feedback is even more crucial. It’s essential that you have a proper system in place in order to successfully—and continually—benefit from your customer feedback.

We’ve put together some helpful tips for you to keep in mind when analyzing, interpreting, and responding to your customer feedback.


1. Know your customers – This may seem obvious, but understanding your customers and their preferences around communication is crucial in being able to obtain their feedback and continuously engage with them. Feedback sources may include the following:
      • Surveys
      • Social media channels
      • Online reviews
      • Emails
      • CRM notes
      • Customer service calls
      • Chat interactions

2. Never stop listening to your customer – Another seemingly obvious tip, but you’d be surprised at how many companies neglect customers after initially getting feedback. Remember that customer needs and expectations change, so listening and collecting feedback should be an ongoing process—with new and existing customers. This is crucial for you to continue growing.

3. Categorize your customer feedback – By categorizing your feedback (e.g., feature preferences, usage, price preferences, issues, etc.), you’ll get a better view of your customers’ perception of your business. Furthermore, you’ll see patterns and trends around what’s working and what’s not, so you can make more informed decisions about where to focus your resources on.

4. Analyze all customer feedback – Though some feedback may be fairly general and may not seem useful, it’s still important to consider it, as it’s still providing you with intel about that customer, which is and can be useful when it comes to targeting.

5. Respond to customer feedback – Be available and accessible to answer any questions, as well as finding solutions. Responding to customer feedback—good and bad—is crucial to establishing a connection with your customers. It shows that you value them and care about what they have to say. It establishes trust, which is how loyal customers can turn into brand advocates. 

6. Be proactive – As mentioned above, listening to your customers and their feedback is not a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing process. And one mistake companies often make is waiting for their customers to provide feedback. You need to be proactive. Not all customers are the same, and you may be missing out on valuable information, by not consistently communicating and asking for feedback.

Sometimes asking is all it takes. You should be communicating with your customers on a regular basis, even if there are no issues. 

7. Leverage automated tools to help manage feedback – As your customer base grows, so will your feedback. You’ll want to consider using specialized and automated tools to help you properly and effectively analyze the growing amount of feedback coming in. These tools can help you meticulously analyze your feedback and/or data faster, extracting even more value from it.


What to do within the next year:

Turn your insight into action. 

Once you’ve analyzed and understand your feedback, consolidate the results and determine a plan of action to effectively address any issues. Be mindful of what is working, so as not to disrupt that. And as always, assess the output and iterate the process regularly.


Who should own this? 

Customer success, product, and marketing teams would all benefit from being involved in a customer feedback strategy.


Think end-to-end about your customer journey and look for the vulnerabilities to move from insight to action."



               –Leela Srinivasan



Who's up next week?

Next week, Paul Lynch schools us on what it takes to operate a B2B SaaS business.

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By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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