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how-to-handle customer feedback

How to Handle Customer Feedback

Negative feedback is an inevitable reality of business. As hard as you try, you can’t please everyone and eventually you will have to hear what some people do not like about your products or services. But instead of feeling angry, upset or dejected, approach these situations as a way to grow and better your business. After all, if you never receive customer feedback about what you’re doing wrong, you won’t ever be able to fix it.

Think you don’t need customer feedback? Think again

For the sake of your business, it’s important to recognise the value of your customer’s opinions. Even during those times when it feels like they are being petty or rude, take it as an opportunity to assess how you could avoid similar reactions in the future. The truth is that you are likely too involved in your business to see it from an outsider’s perspective. This is why you need to take feedback seriously as it is the best opportunity to see it from the perspective of the people who matter most; the customers.

Here are a few ways that feedback can be a blessing in disguise:

It helps to improve your services and products

Most business owners make a point to identify areas of their service that need work in order to increase customer satisfaction. However, doing this without the help of feedback can make the process much harder. Your customer is usually able to give you a completely objective view into your products and services, providing an outsiders view that you simply cannot provide yourself. They will let you know what they did not like about the experience and sometimes even make suggestions as to what can be changed to make it better.

It helps you innovate

Thinking of creative ideas that you customers will love can be extremely hard. So when they make these suggestions for you, it’s important to listen. Even if you have regular brainstorming sessions, you may never be able to really get into the heads of the people who use your products and services and monitoring feedback is the perfect way to combat this.

It helps you stay on top of trends

For most businesses, paying attention to up and coming trends is incredibly important as it helps you reach more people. Of course, it’s difficult to be on top of everything that is happening in your industry at any time, but this is where customer feedback comes in. If you regularly monitor the opinions and suggestions of your customers, you should be able to spot growing trends before they happen. That way, you can innovate your services and products accordingly and be ahead of the curve.

It shows that you care about your customers

This one seems obvious, but you would be surprised as to how many owners and managers forget how important it is. People are more inclined to continue supporting a business – even if they believe it’s in need of improvement – if that business treats them well, values their loyalty and actively shows appreciation for their thoughts and opinions. When you give your customer the chance to make suggestions, they feel that they are a part of an equal transaction and remain engaged with your business even when they have worked out of the store.

So when should you ask for customer feedback?

The timing of your feedback is incredibly important to ensuring that you and the customer gets the most out of it. Here are some helpful tips…

  • Be aware and accepting of the fact that not everyone will want to give feedback
  • Make it a non-intrusive experience
  • Ask for their feedback just before or just after the point of sale
  • Centre the feedback on one topic
  • Include simple, easy to understand questions
  • Keep it brief ­ – no one wants to hang around for a 15-minute survey
  • Try including a 1-10 scale, as this makes it easy to gauge your customer’s responses
  • Make sure your customer understands how valuable their feedback is to you and your business

Some of the best ways to gain feedback for your business

  • Customer surveys – keep the questions short, sweet and only ask the ones you really want to know the answers to.
  • Online surveys on your website – Make it simple and be sure no to divert them away from the current page as that can influence people to forget the survey altogether
  • Direct contact – If you have an email database that your customers have agreed to being on, you can send out emails asking for feedback on their experiences.

Make a plan to manage the feedback you are given

The process of gaining feedback means nothing if you don’t analyse it and make changes accordingly. When you receive new feedback, make an effort to have a company meeting where you show it to your employees. If the opinions are positive, it will help motivate them where as if it’s negative, you can all work together to think of ways to improve the customer experience. It’s also important to devise a response to the customer so that they know their feedback was appreciated and useful to the business.

In our increasingly digital age, customer feedback can seldom be avoided as it can be shared all over social media in an instant. If you focus on making your business receptive to the opinions of your customers, you can better manage their experiences and grow your services in a way that will benefit you immensely in the long run.

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