The importance of customer feedback
Let me introduce you to three little words that can make the difference between business success and business failure. TALK TO ME. It might sound a bit like therapy, but believe me, when it comes to asking your customers for their feedback, then it really is a case of ‘sharing is caring’. And don’t worry, your customers will never fob you off with a cursory ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. If you give them a real chance to share their feedback, they’re likely to give you a no holds barred account of their experience, and you’re 100% guaranteed to learn a few ways in which you can improve your business.
The worst thing a customer can do is to simply walk away, silently resolving not to repeat the experience, or to remain unhappy until an alternative option entices them away. If they walk away you have not only lost the possibility of repeat business, but also your single best source of referrals, and most importantly, the opportunity to make improvements to the way you do business. I think you’ll agree, those are three extremely powerful reasons to ask your customers for their feedback.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a painter/decorator, a hairdresser, a retailer or a global software developer, your customers are sitting on a wealth of information that could potentially transform your business – for the better. Those little gems of feedback are there for the taking - all you have to do is ask. Not only will you learn what you’re doing right and what you can improve on, but it will do wonders for your relationship with that customer. We all like to feel appreciated and what better way to show that you value your customers, than by taking the time to ask about their experience doing business with you?
How you go about obtaining your customer’s feedback will (as always) depend on the size and scale of your business. If you’re a sole trader you might be able to have a conversation over coffee or lunch. If you’re a larger business, then perhaps you could invite representatives to a focus group or an advisory board. Electronic surveys (like Survey Monkey) can be useful, but if you really want open and honest feedback, then it’s best to get up close and personal.
Over the years I’ve been privileged enough meet many of my client’s customers when I’ve had to interview them in order to write a case study about a completed project. Quite often, because I’m an ‘unaffiliated third party’, their customers have felt able to bring up complaints that they might otherwise feel uncomfortable speaking directly to my client about. In some instances, sending in a third party to obtain feedback might work in your favour.
There are many ways to obtain feedback – what’s important is that you give all the information you receive serious consideration. I have absolutely no doubt that the exercise will give you serious food for thought and some valuable tips that will lead you to improve your business and your customer’s experience.
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