Your customers are the heart of your business and their feedback is a vital component to your success. Customer feedback provides you with the information you need to maintain and grow your customer base.
Three common reasons for collecting customer feedback are to:
- Improve customer relationships. Asking your customers for their feedback and suggestions demonstrates you value them and their opinion. They are more than a customer; they are a trusted advisor. When your customers feel like trusted advisors, they become more loyal to your business.
- Establish customer satisfaction levels. You need to know how your customers feel about your business from a number of perspectives. How do they feel about the products you offer? Are there gaps? Customer expectations are on the rise. Many expect free Wi-Fi everywhere they go. Does your restaurant or hotel offer that? Flat screen TV's used to be wows. Now they are not. What about from a service perspective? Do your customers feel recognized and valued by your staff?
- To obtain new product or service suggestions. Nobody knows what your customers want or like better than your customers. You could pay thousands of dollars for suggestions on new products or new services or you can ask the people who are already walking in your front door.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to convince customers to share this information with you. One of the reasons customers aren't willing to share is because they don't think you'll do anything with the information you collect. Unfortunately, that is very often the case. A lot of companies ask for feedback because it's the thing to do, but the feedback isn't reviewed or acted upon.
If you are serious about collecting customer feedback, you also need to be serious about making change based on the feedback. There are four key steps to follow:
- Evaluate. There may very well be some suggestions that simply don't fit in with your business model. Although, before you cross them off the list, ask yourself if they really don't fit or if they just haven't been done before. If you can't implement the suggestion as stated, is there something you can do instead that will address the need?
- Prioritize improvements. As you gather more and more information, you may start noticing trends or certain areas referenced over and over again. Organize these from highest to lowest priority. Which change will have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction? How will this benefit the customer and the business?
- Develop an action plan. Some changes can be implemented quickly. Others take longer and are difficult to implement. Answer the questions: Who will lead this? What are the steps required to make this happen? When will the change be completed?
- Respond to the customer. When customers takes the time to share opinions, thoughts and suggestions with you, thank them. Let customers know that their voice has been heard and what steps you are taking in response to their feedback.
In the next article we]ll take a look at how to develop customer survey forms to increase your response rates. Until then, take some time to identify what information you need from your customers to help you grow your business.
For more information on creating positive customer service impressions, visit www.servicedge.ca/.