How to Leverage Customer Feedback

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rage-1015611_1920Customer feedback is a pot of gold to a business. Customers who care to provide feedback want you to succeed. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t do a good job in gathering the feedback and following through with concrete action. In order to leverage customer feedback to improve your business, you need to pay attention to the following.

Ask fewer questions

Keep the list of questions to a minimum. The longer the questionnaire, your customers are less willing to participate. Keep in mind that a customer feedback survey is different from a market research. You want to focus your questions on the specifics. A market research tends to be broad and general. For example, if you want to gather feedback on customer service, avoid questions on product features.

Do it promptly

Memory fades with time. The longer you wait, your customer would recall few details from the interaction. Their interest in providing feedback also diminishes with time. It is better to approach them when the details are still fresh in their mind. For example, have your support centre agent send the feedback survey immediately after the call. If you wait for a week, the response rate, as well as the thoroughness of the response, would not be as good.

Use an unbiased sample

It is important to get objective feedback from your customers as you want to know what’s not working and make adjustments. You don’t want to target those customers who would give a stellar review because it would make you look good. The feedback would be positive if indeed you have done a good job. For example, a technology company solicits feedback from customers in all market segments though the major accounts are their priorities.

Conduct regular surveys

Annual surveys don’t provide adequate information. It is difficult to make conclusive observations because there isn’t sufficient trending data for proper diagnosis. Many events would have taken place and affected the responses. It would be difficult to associate cause and effect. For example, an online retailer invites every shopper to provide feedback at the end of their session. It compiles the feedback every month. When there are major changes to the website, the company examines the results daily to ensure that issues are addressed quickly.

Follow up

Without follow up, you are missing opportunities to win back customers who are about to defect to the competition. Many businesses invest effort in creating the survey and gathering the responses. They fall short of committing to make the necessary changes to a cumbersome process, defiant workers, or dumb policies. You need to close the loop with the customers who provided input and work out a way to improve the situation. For example, the manager of the contact centre calls the customer who has an issue with the service received to understand the cause and subsequently, implement changes.

If you are serious about serving your customers well, you need to be disciplined in how you gather feedback, follow up, and commit to make a difference. Otherwise, the effort invested in conducting surveys is futile. Companies which are leaders in their industry leverage the customer feedback to enhance product and service offerings, operational processes, policies and even hone their positioning to stay ahead of their competition.

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