It’s all about feedback, isn’t it? If you can make it easy for your customers to provide feedback, use their feedback to find out what’s most important to them and focus your efforts on meeting and/or exceeding those needs, you’ll get the benefits of their future patronage and that of many new customers
For example, when a customer has been presented with a piece of steak so underdone that could probably revive it; the waiter always passes by and asks ‘is everything OK?’
You may have ordered the steak well done. You may not have even ordered steak. But the answer is always the same. ‘Yes, fine’.
Elsewhere businesses leave little feedback forms for customers to complete. But, as I’m reliably informed, only one in a hundred customers ever fill these in.
Feedback is absolutely vital to business success, but somehow we’ve created the conditions to repel it. How, then, do we devise a feedback strategy that will increase your business’ customer focus?
1) ‘Walk in the customer’s shoes’
Corny, I know, but as a business owner you should be aware of what it is like to experience your business as a customer.Contact your business yourself or get a friend to. Better still, engage someone to provide a detailed snapshot of his or her experiences. Where does the experience start? Where does it end? Where are the areas where your business has the greatest opportunities to impress (or depress) your customer? You can underpin your findings with the results of an informal focus group.
2) Make it easy for customers to give their feedback
Is it possible to give out an SMS number, so customers can text in their comments? Failing that, make sure that in every email you send, there is a link allowing customers to share any observations or feedback. Have a high profile link on your website for customers to use to share their feedback. Publish your own email address and telephone number and ask for the feedback.
3) Be transparent
You would forgive customers for being sceptical when they receive a request for feedback; since few are the organisations who appear to take it seriously, do everything you can to show that you’re committed. Consider putting your customers’ feedback on to your website, unedited – or if this sends a shiver up your spine – summarise, on a regular basis, what customers are saying (good and bad) and what you’re doing about it.