Gathering customer feedback has become common practice for companies of every kind. Call a customer service line and before you even get to say what your problem is, you are asked whether you would be willing to participate in a survey. Companies send follow-up emails on a constant basis, hoping to know how they can improve their services. Sending out these inquiries is important, but even more important is knowing what to do with the information once you have received it. Here are three ways that you can effectively use the feedback you get to improve your business model, your customers’ experiences, and your bottom line.
Act on What You Hear
This tip may seem obvious, but it is one of the hardest things to actually institute within an organization. However, if you prove yourself to be a responsive listener to customer complaints, requests for help, and suggestions for improvement, you will be surprised at how quickly word spreads – especially in today’s digital, viral social media world. Nordstrom has long had a reputation for its customer-service focus, and this has resulted in its becoming one of the most respected, successful high-end retailers in the world. When a customer asks for something, make sure to provide it. In most cases, the cost of doing so is far less than the negative impact that results from being uncooperative, defensive, or uncaring. Word will get around.
Use Feedback to Drive Innovation
It would be wonderful to think that all of the customer feedback you receive will be compliments on your competitive pricing, great customer service, and perfect product, but we all know that most feedback takes the form of complaints or requests. Instead of just fixing a specific situation and moving on, remember that every problem can be turned into an opportunity. Take the time to examine what the customer needs from you and then put the effort into making it a part of your standard operating procedure or product line. After all, every business is there to serve a need, and every complaint is really just a need that can be addressed with a little innovation.
Don’t Be Impassive About Feedback
When people are providing you with feedback, they are really talking about their experience, and in most cases, that is based on an emotion. Are they getting the feeling that you want them to get from working with you? Pay attention to this, and if you sense that your company’s emotional connection to customers is not what you want it to be, address that first and foremost. People are willing to forgive material mistakes if an overall experience satisfies them and makes them feel like you care.