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How to Make the Most of Your Customer Feedback

Very rarely do you hear someone say “I love negative feedback from my customers!” After all, hearing someone tell you why they didn’t enjoy your product or service can be upsetting and, more often than not, a little bit defensive. But before you start listing off reasons why the customer was wrong, why don’t you make a decision to approach this as an opportunity to make your business better. Still not convinced? Here’s how you can learn to really love your feedback.

First of all, here’s why it’s important…

Even when customer or client reviews feel like they are hindering rather than helping, it’s vital to look at them as a necessary and expected part of running a company. After all, if you never knew what your customers were thinking, you wouldn’t only be in the dark about what you’re doing wrong, but also unaware of what you’re doing right! Once you come to terms with the fact that it plays a pivotal role in making your business better, you can begin to see why it is so intrinsic to ensuring you continue to grow and succeed in your industry.

How it helps you improve

While many business owners are very aware of what parts of their service are in need of improvement, the truth is that there is bound to be areas you are overlooking unintentionally. After all, when you are involved in a company it’s very easy to forget how to put yourself into the shoes of the consumer. This is exactly why customer feedback is so necessary to improving the services or products you deliver. Remember that the customer often has no pre-conceived notion or bias towards your business and will more than likely be giving a review based solely on the way your service made them feel. Take this into account and you are able to ensure future customers don’t have the same experience.

It is an avenue towards innovation

It’s no secret that our world is highly competitive, especially when it comes to products and services that can be bought online in any part of the world. Customer feedback therefore can be used to set yourself apart from the pack. If your reviews are constantly on the average side, use this as motivation to offer something that is different to your competitors. More often than not, you will find that your feedback may even include suggestions that would make the service better, so you can know exactly what the customer wants and work to implement it.

It helps you stay on top of trends

If you work in an industry where social trends are important to your growth, chances are that you’re already paying attention to the hottest new ideas. However, customers often do this intrinsically as their demand often sets the trends that are followed in the future. A good way to identify something that is up and coming is to see if there are any common suggestions or themes throughout your feedback so you can catch the idea before it takes off.

It shows that you care

Receiving negative feedback doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer has decided to never support your business again. In fact, more often than not, a touch of great customer service and a willingness to rectify the issue in the future can make them want to give you another chance. Whether it’s in store, a written form or posted on your public profile, responding to the feedback is critical in showing the customer that you value their opinion. If you plan to develop a strategy based off their comments, let them know. This keeps them engaged with your business, makes them feel heard and makes them more likely to choose your product or service in the future.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback

Before we begin, it’s important to note that not every person is willing or comfortable in giving feedback. This is perfectly fine and should be respected by whoever is asking it of them. However, to improve the likelihood that customers will respond positively to providing their thoughts and opinions, it’s imperative that you make the process as non-intrusive and unintimidating as possible. Asking them a few simple and specific questions after the point of purchase is the best time to do it, as they have received the service they came to you for. Keep the questions brief and express how much you value their input and, more often than not, you will find that people are more than happy to communicate their constructive opinions.

Some great ways to gain feedback are…

  • Surveys – make sure they are short and to the point. Most importantly, only ask questions that you genuinely want the answers to.
  • Online forms – you can post these to most of your social media sites in order to gain input from a large cross section of your customer community. As always, make sure that it is quick, easy and convenient to complete.
  • Direct contact – if you have an email database, use it to communicate with your customers in a way that will really help improve their experience.

Know how to manage your feedback

If you create a set method of dealing with customer criticism, the whole process is less likely to feel so overwhelming. Make it a habit to sit down with your team of staff to discuss feedback when you first get it, so that you can have everyone’s input when it comes to ideas that will stop similar customer experiences from happening again. You can then delegate tasks to different employees and make a start on using the feedback for what it is intended to do – improve your service! An important part of this process is to respond to the customer, whether by phone or email, so that they feel heard and know that their thoughts are contributing to change.

In a world where avoiding customer feedback is next to impossible, it’s important to emphasise effective, open-minded listening when approaching a client with something to say. After all, if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, how will you know that you’re on the right path?

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