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If you care about the quality of service you deliver, of course you do!

The Why, When & How of Customer Feedback

While many business owners fear getting negative feedback from your customers, it can be a useful educational tool. While it hurts to be told that you didn’t do a good enough job, or hear in detail what your customers do not like about your product or service, this information can be used to improve your service. If your customers were left feeling disappointed by their time with you, wouldn’t you want to know why? If you care about the quality of service you deliver, of course you do!

Why customer feedback is necessary

More often than not, business-owners complain that customer feedback does more to hinder – rather than help – their business. Whilst feedback can be negative, it’s important to remember that your customers’ opinions should be valuable to you. Your business’s continued existence relies on you responding to and meeting the expectations of customers, so pay attention. Try to get beyond the feeling that your business or you personally are being attacked by the customer. Your customers’ personal experiences can give you an insight into how your business operates and can help to improve the quality of your products and services.

Helping to improve your products and services

Many businesses are already keenly aware of their weaknesses and where they could strengthen their operations. However, occasionally you’ll have a blind spot. Whether you were too involved in the day to day operation of the business to realise exactly what your customer might experience or by sheer happenstance, you’ll miss some crucial detail that will affect the delivery of the product. Remember when you read feedback pointing out the shortcomings of their time with you that you are not the customer and cannot assume what they are experiencing. Don’t take this harshly, as feedback gives you an opportunity to look at your business from the outside. Look at negative feedback as a way to identify what needs fixing and what works well.

Helping your company to innovate and develop

In the modern, globalised and hyper-competitive economy, you need to be constantly looking for ways to enhance your business. These should extend beyond your team brainstorming sessions. When you get feedback telling you what the customer did and did not like, and what they prefer, look at it as an opportunity rather than an insult. See it as one more point of data to add to your ongoing study of the market. If they’re bringing innovative ideas to the table, consider them. You lose nothing but at least giving them the time of day.

Keeping you on top of the latest trends

Astute business-owners take care to keep a close eye on industry trends to ensure that their business is a leader and an innovator, rather than a follower. However, customers can be even better to this, as every industry trend is really a customer trend. Consider asking your customers questions to try and spot trends before they break into the mainstream. They themselves may not even be aware that they desire something trendy, but by collating all of the data you may be able to spot what people prefer before your competitors do.

A more caring, responsive company

If you want to be known as an organisation that cares about its customers, it’s critical that you’re accepting of customer feedback. People will support a business that treats them well and values their continued loyalty. When done correctly, customer feedback can be an exceptional way to let your customers know that you value them and their opinions. Giving them the ability to offer feedback gives customers a sense of satisfaction; making them feel like they are part of an equal transaction. Keep valued clients engaged with your business well beyond the point of sale with a little clever thinking.

Knowing when to ask for feedback

When asking for feedback, you have to be aware that not every single person will give it, which is okay. Feedback should be a non-intrusive experience for your customers and to ensure accuracy should be done as close to the purchase as possible. Think carefully about the questions you ask; prioritise simple and easy questions that any customer could respond to. People will very rarely hang around for a 15-minute survey, so keep it brief. Offering a 1-10 scale for customers allows them to easily rank parts of their experiences in an easy-to-understand way. Let customers know how much you value their feedback, and ensure you zero in on a specific topic or subject to ask about, rather than just asking generally.

Some ways to get feedback for your business:

  • Customer surveys – stay to the point and only ask questions you want the answer to. Consider rotating questions regularly to ensure that you questionnaire reflects your current offerings.
  • Online forms via your website – make it easy and necessitating as few clicks as possible. Do not divert them from their current page as this can affect the user experience.
  • Direct contact – If you have a large email database, a custom letter can work particularly well.

Creating a management plan for feedback

Upon receiving feedback, one of the first things you should do is organise a meeting and show the comments to the rest of your team. Positive feedback rewards workers and motivates them to do better, while negative feedback gets the team into action, looking to improve services and come up with solutions. This plan should include a response to the customer, letting them know that their opinion was heard, acted upon and appreciated.

It’s almost impossible to escape customer feedback in this day and age. Whether on social media, review sites or Facebook, you should be on guard to receive advice and critique on any angle. Customer feedback is – above all else – about being an effective listener and valuing your customers’ opinions. This keeps them happy and gives them an incentive to return to your business, and maybe to recommend you to their friends!


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