Finding effective ways of implementing feedback from your customers into your business is needed to ensure the success of any business or entrepreneur. Keep in mind these 4 critical factors:
1. An active voice makes your customers feel special
With the availability of so many ideas, feedback, and suggestions offered to businesses by their customers through online ecommerce channels and social media, there should be no reason for anyone to worry about how to fix a failing business. Although learning about your customers' preferences and understanding how to market directly to your customers with little or no money available can be a challenging mission, it is essential to improving your business. It is possible to overcome obstacles and part of the solution requires you to collect feedback. Whether or not the feedback is solicited or unsolicited, your goal should be to understand your customers now, then to improve and win more customers over. Since getting online reviews from real people has proven to be quite effective if strategically applied through the underperforming areas of a business, it should come as no surprise that reviews or feedback of any sort can provide numerous benefits—and can significantly improve the value gained by end users of your products and services. People live in the present, and want to respond, and be responded to, quickly. We need to give customers a voice the moment we get them through the door of our business, or after completing a payment transaction for goods and services we offer. Although there are tons of survey sites out there to facilitate the process of collecting information, very few of them, actually offer useful ways to get actionable, live feedback at events and venues, which can be hosted by your business and which allow you to grow your company in the present, not the future, and at a faster rate. Customers often seek illuminating pieces of information about where to shop, what to buy, and ultimately, how to spend their money. When your customers begin to see that you want to use their feedback to create better experiences for them, it makes them feel special, valued, and in some cases, they might consequently become even become more inclined to buy more from you, or to refer a friend to your service. In the abundance of feedback customers provide every day on online sites, online reviews have been wired into our decision-making process because they give customers the power to speak up and express their personal experiences—more or less like a human emoji—and to share with the rest of the world the products or services that make them feel content, excited…or even disappointed. Receiving feedback does not have to be esoteric in nature. All types of feedback, whether resonating positively or negatively in our minds, are healthy for organizations in order understand which areas of a business need the most help. Your customers will be willing to let you know about something if you're willing to ask them about it.
2. Feedback sets the stage for constructive change
For the past decade, social media and online shopping sites have made it easier for us to share, rant and complain about almost anything that makes negative impression on us. Frustrating experiences, such as waiting over an hour on a cashier line, challenge our lives every day. Even an unfortunate seating conflict on a commercial airline flight at a busy airport can result in plenty of backlash for both the feedbacker and the receiving end of the feedback. There is no question that feedback delivered this way might be viewed as unwanted. However, on the contrary, it should be seen as a positive influence, helping an organization see their flaws more clearly, and become more open to devising a plan to use the feedback and implement a corrective and fast solution. The big question still remains. How can all these reviews and feedback be used by the business or organization on the receiving side?
Well, the short answer is: it depends. If all the customer reviews or feedback is implemented in such a way that it addresses the problem areas directly, it might be safe to assume we can drive positive change, which can contribute to help make your businesses become more refined.
The real problem that still lingers, however, is that sometimes the feedback is not necessarily what the business may want to hear. Listening to the same “bad” experiences at a local eatery, one notoriously known for its bad service is never a good thing for both the customer and the business. The reality is that such feedback should be a clear indication for the business owner to start listening and take action. Fixable issues, such as poor lighting conditions, cold food, inadequate air circulation, or late food delivery may all sound like simple issues customers deal with every day, but sometimes small issues may make the difference between a 40% and an 80% customer retention rate.
The art of listening to the customer should be a continuous process and a goal that businesses shouldn’t let their own comfort or ego stand in the way of. As business leaders, we need to understand that although the customer may not always be right, we still need to also need listen to, understand and value their feedback.
3. Rewards can improve the quality and likelihood of receiving feedback
In collecting feedback, one has to realize that not all customers will be inclined to tell you what problems they faced with your goods or services. No matter how we ask for feedback, we need to understand that we are not all action-driven people, at least not always right away, especially if we are not being offered any incentive or reward for providing the feedback in the first place. Furthermore, not all businesses choose to listen to their customers quickly enough to mitigate or prevent a bad customer experience from escalating into a much worse situation. Other businesses may be traditional and feel safe enough with their market position, which allows them to be competitive with very little feedback, and to simply focus on their customer intimacy value chain.
However, these days, nothing seems to be truly traditional anymore; unless you are in an exclusive niche market and provide or sell a rare product or service, you cannot be complacent. Businesses that have the ability to capture and apply feedback quickly are likely in a better position to weather the impact of the sometimes unpredictable behavior of customers than those that do not.
The inability to capture customers’ voices can lead a business to crumble, based on low customer demand, a decline in sales, or even poor customer retention.
4. Customers provide value
As much as businesses can offer a wide array of experiences to customers that range from exceptional to horrible, customers still have more power than you think to influence how sustainable a business can remain.
As opposed to sharing an angry outburst of negative experiences, sharing insightful feedback, creating an environment that fosters positive and constructive feedback should be the goal, one that will positively influence businesses and entrepreneurs. There is no doubt that there exist very bad, rude and sometimes offensive services that will warrant extreme action being taken against a business, perhaps on a rant-friendly social media site such as Twitter or Facebook. However, if the degree of “badness” was not intentional, your customers might be willing to offer milder feedback such as saying, “I did not enjoy it here because the service was poor, and you should consider retraining your staff or hiring a more professional team.” While this feedback is probably not what you would prefer to hear as a business, the tone suggests that customers are not comfortable at your restaurant and your staff needs to be either retrained or replaced.
If feedback is repetitive, the suggestions or ideas included in your feedback can set the groundwork to correct deficiencies of all sorts, and reverse lapses in the quality of the service you deliver to customers. It can contribute to you offering them more appreciation and value.