The importance of actively seeking customer feedback comes down to a single, unavoidable truth: the happier your customers are, the more successful your business is likely to be. By collecting feedback from your customers, you can identify which areas of your business work well and the areas that require improvement, which gives you the power to improve your offerings and keep your customers content.
Happy customers become repeat customers. They can also transform into veritable brand ambassadors, spreading the good news about your services and products to their friends, family and co-workers. For that reason, aiming to make your customers happier is much more than a noble, human endeavour. It actually makes smart business sense.
But it’s important to remember that simply collecting feedback from your customers isn’t going to make them happier. You’ll need to analyse the feedback and act on it to make the improvements necessary to take your products or services to the next level.
Is asking for feedback as simple as pulling a customer aside, sending an email or calling them to ask, ‘how did we do’?
Any of the above are certainly viable means of requesting feedback. But there are now more tools at your disposal than ever before, including powerful email campaign managers that allow you to automate much of the process.
For example, a new customer who just purchased an item from your online store could receive a follow-up email in two weeks to find out how they’re enjoying the product. A simple link, within the email, to a short online survey could detail their purchasing experience, reveal any pain points they experienced and let you know which areas worked well for them. You can then use this information to identify ways to make the online shopping process more seamless for your customers, thereby encouraging them to purchase more or recommend your store to their peers.
There are also a range of software applications that you can use to capture customer feedback. These include tools for generating surveys and analysing response data, such as Survey Monkey, Get Feedback, DataCracker and more.
But every bit as important as knowing how to ask for feedback is the art of knowing what to ask. It’s important to ask targeted questions that your customers will answer thoughtfully. With that in mind, asking a bland question like ‘Did you like the product?’ is only going to generate a simple yes-or-no response. It’s much better to ask your customers how they feel about a specific element of your service, or what they would change about a particular aspect of it.
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), where respondents are asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1-5, has been widely used for years. The score of one often represents “very dissatisfied” and the score of five often represents “very satisfied.”
Net Promoter (or Net Promoter Score) is a tool that is used to gauge the loyalty of your customer relationships, and is seen as one of the more superior customer satisfaction tools because it claims to correlate with revenue growth. You can calculate your Net Promoter Score by asking your customers a single question, using a 0-10 scale: ‘How likely is that you would recommend [brand] to a friend? Respondents that answer with a 9-10 score are classified as ‘promoters’ or loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others; respondents that answer with a 7-8 score are ‘passives’, or satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are susceptible to your competitors’ offerings; and anybody who scores between 0-6 are known as ‘detractors’, or unhappy customers who have the ability to damage your brand and hinder growth.
Once you’ve mastered the art of asking for feedback, it’s time to think about how you’ll use it. It’s important to remind yourself that constructive criticism is a positive thing, as it allows you to improve your offerings.
It’s pointless gathering valuable feedback from your customers if you don’t intend to use it to enhance your business and provide a better customer experience.
Start by identifying ways that you can be proactive instead of reactive - are there areas of your business that you can look at from the perspective of a customer and improve before waiting on feedback?
Once you’ve collected the customer feedback data, can you identify common complaints or praises? Seek to improve your customer’s pain points while further enhancing the positive parts of their experience with your product or service.
And remember, don’t let the negative feedback get you down. Instead, use it to your advantage and see it as a way to embrace an opportunity.
When you ask your customers for feedback, you’re communicating to them that you appreciate their opinions and insights, and you care about what they have to say. In turn, your customers will feel valued because you’ve treated them with respect and asked them to get involved in shaping the future of your product or service.
Requesting customer feedback via timely, focused surveys can transform the relevance and value of your product or service to your customers and foster customer loyalty.
When your business is serious about collecting and acting on customer feedback, it demonstrates your commitment which allows customers to become more engaged and enthusiastic about your product or service. This almost always leads to increased revenue, a favourable reputation and a more attractive service model.
Additionally, when you consistently seek to improve your product or service, you strive to make them the best they can be. Your business will also have a clear indication of what’s working for customers and what’s not. This will, ultimately, lead to doing better business, boosting sales and providing a seamless customer experience.
Posted by Mat Hollingsworth
Thu, 14 Jul 2016
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