Your customers are the heart of your business. They pay your bills, they keep your doors open, they send you on vacation now and then. Asking your customers for their thoughts, their ideas, their feelings helps you keep on top of their wants, needs and expectations. Customer feedback provides you with information to maintain and grow your customer base.
Collecting customer feedback helps you:
- Improve customer loyalty. Asking your customers for their opinion on your product and your service, sends the message “I value you and your opinion.” When your customers feel valued, they become more loyal to your business.
- Establish customer satisfaction levels. You need to know how your customers feel about your business. Are they satisfied with the product you offer? Are there gaps? Customer expectations are on the rise. Many expect free Wi-Fi everywhere they go. Does your restaurant or hotel offer that? Flat screen TV’s used to be wows. Now they are not. What about from a service perspective? Do your customers feel recognized and valued by your staff?
- Obtain new product or service suggestions. Nobody knows what your customers want or like better than your customers. Asking them if there is something else they would like to see may open new opportunities for you.
Unfortunately, many customers are jaded about the whole concept of customer feedback. There are many companies that ask for feedback, because it’s the thing to do, but then do nothing with the feedback they collect.
It may take time for customers to trust you will actually do something with their feedback. When they demonstrate that trust in you, it’s important to respect their time, their evaluations and their suggestions. Four ways to do that are:
- Evaluate. You may receive suggestions that simply don’t fit in with your business model. Before you cross them off the list, ask yourself if they really don’t fit or if they just haven’t been done before. If you can’t implement the suggestion as stated, is there something you can do instead that will address the need?
- Prioritize improvements. As you gather information, you may start noticing certain areas referenced over and over again. Organize these from highest to lowest priority. Which change will have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction? How will this benefit the customer and the business?
- Develop an action plan. Some changes can be implemented quickly. Others take longer and are difficult to implement. Identify time and resources necessary to implement the change.
- Respond to the customer. When customers takes the time to share opinions, thoughts and suggestions with you, thank them. Let customers know that their voice has been heard and what steps you are taking in response to their feedback.
What has your experience been with customer comment cards or surveys? Do you fill them out? If so, what type of response do you typically receive?
Creating a customer feedback plan is just one part of developing a strong customer service strategy. If you are interested in speaking to Laurie about creating a customer service strategy, sign up for a free consult.