If you have very few complaints, you must be doing something right, yes?
Well, not exactly.
Studies show that only about half of customers make their grievances known, with about 90% of those complaints made to frontline employees who may not be positioned to fix the issue.
Other studies suggest that for every customer who complains, there are about 26 other customers who don’t say a word… to you, that is. They might tell their friends and family, air their rants on social media, or post a negative review online. But you may never find out about it straight from the customer.
Here are five reasons why your customers aren’t telling you what they really think, and what you can do to help change that and improve customer experience.
It’s too complicated.
Some customers want to share their experience with you, but don’t want to go through a lengthy Q&A. Companies who use long surveys or require customers to navigate a complex feedback channel are sabotaging their chances at connecting with their audience.
Honest feedback is crucial to your operation’s success, which means you should simplify the process as much as possible to boost your chances of receiving it. Keep surveys short, don’t collect information that isn’t critical to the process, and consider making some survey questions optional. This way, the customer can tell you exactly what they want to, and nothing more.
They fear retaliation.
There seems to be a widespread fear among customers who send back a food order, thinking the kitchen staff will meddle with their meal. This same fear permeates other industries, believing if they make a comment about their experience their words will be turned against them somehow and they’ll end up worse off than before.
This should never be the case. If you want to quieten fears and encourage customers to speak freely, your feedback strategy should be welded into your brand. Invite feedback at multiple checkpoints, such as their receipt or signage in your store. When guests feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, they’ll do so more freely.
They don’t want you to have a negative view of them.
There are a few bad eggs who will complain simply to get something extra out of the deal. Unfortunately, this mentality has ruined the feedback experience for many who do not wish to be viewed as one of these people.
This stigma prevents many people from speaking openly about their experience, which means you need to foster a welcomed approach to receiving feedback in every possible way.
They don’t know how.
Those who don’t know the proper channels to share their customer experience will either talk to whoever is available or forgo talking to anyone. You should take care to ensure your guests know how they can leave their feedback. And if, by chance, they talk to someone who isn’t authorized to help them, your staff should be trained to direct them to the proper channels.
They don’t think it will make a difference.
Some people refuse to complain, because they think it’s a waste of time. And when people don’t complain, problems continue to exist.
When customers leave their feedback, acknowledge it in the most personal way possible. If applicable, follow up with them to tell them how their feedback has helped make changes. People who see their feedback in action might be more likely to contribute their thoughts again and associate a positive customer experience with your brand.
You should encourage your customers to share their feedback, even if it’s something you might not want to hear. Learning how others view your business is the only way you’ll know if you’re doing as well as you think you are.