A good service experience can really make an impact on the way a customer sees a company, putting steps in place for repeat custom and also spreading positive word-of-mouth. The flip side of the coin is that a poorly executed interaction can have far reaching effects that can resonate for a long time afterwards.
Most people in most businesses (sadly not all!) would agree that collecting customer feedback is a good idea. Most (sadly not all…) businesses have customers, and so it should probably be someone’s job to ask those customers what’s on their mind.
But a lot of people, when pressed, struggle to really clearly articulate why feedback’s important. They sort-of feel like it’s a good idea, but aren’t crystal clear how the business will make more money if they collect the feedback. Or, the benefits they mention (influencing strategy, affecting marketing communications) are the benefits of market research , not customer feedback.
And whilst market research is great and important to do, it doesn’t have the same direct connection to your bottom line and your team’s happiness as customer feedback does – when you do customer feedback correctly.
This article is about whyyou should do feedback correctly – the benefits you’ll unlock for yourself, your team, and the wider business, once you start following “the golden rule.” ( Put your customers first!)
Before we get to the benefits, it’s worth a quick detour into the ‘anti-benefits’. The two things that you should absolutely not hope to get out of customer feedback.
When we see companies try to start collecting feedback for either of these reasons, nine-times-out-of-ten they won’t see the results they’re hoping for.
If you think ”benchmarking against your competitors” is a business benefit of customer feedback, then think again.
We totally get that you’re curious about how the competition are doing. But knowing this isn’t going to increase your profits. What does it matter if you’ve got an NPS score of 20, and your competitor has a score of 50? It’s the direction of travel that’s important. A NPS of 20, up 5 points from last quarter is a much better indicator of future success than a score of 50 which is dropping like a rock.
Besides, focusing on benchmarking as a goal is ignoring the golden rule – Put your customers first! Your customers don’t care about benchmarking, so you shouldn’t either.
2. Best practice
Great! Who could argue with doing something that’s best practice?
The thing is, asking for feedback isn’t best practice. It’s acting on feedback that makes you money.
If you’re just looking for feedback because you feel everyone else is, but you don’t know if you can act on it, you run the risk of decreasing customer satisfaction. Your customers are real people with busy lives, and they don’t want to feel like you’re wasting their time so you can tick a box which says ‘customer survey sent’.
So, what are the benefits?
When it comes to improving customer satisfaction, doing customer feedback correctly delivers arguably the single biggest return on investment. There are many other noble initiatives you can take to improve your customers’ experience, but without a good feedback program, they’re just icing on the cake.
How does feedback live up to this promise? Let’s have a look at all the benefits it unlocks:
1. More repeat business
Customers have a choice who they spend their money with. You want them to welcome your offers and promotions, not trash them.
So it’s important to make sure that your customers are happy, so that your marketing doesn’t fall on deaf ears
2. More new business
Word of mouth recommendations grow your business, and cost nothing.
But giving a recommendation has a high bar – your customers need to really trust you won’t damage their reputation by giving bad service after they recommend you.
So collecting, and acting on feedback helps guarantee that everyone is 100% happy, and will recommend you given the chance.
3. Less lost business
You can ask customers how things are going face-to-face, and they’ll say ‘fine’, even if that’s not what they’re thinking.
Small niggles can build up over time and make customers more receptive to a pitch from a competitor – it’s better to make the grass always greener on your side by making it clear you always welcome candid feedback.
4. Increased online conversions
Publishing case studies and testimonials is evidence that you’re great to do business with. It increases buyer confidence.
You can use the feedback you receive to identify your super-fans, and approach them to develop case studies with
5. Win in competitive bids
If your business submits competitive bids and tenders for work, feedback has two huge benefits
First, it’s great to have a body of evidence from your current customers that you’re great to deal with. The feedback people who use a system like this are overwhelmingly positive, so it doesn’t hurt to add a sample to any competitive bid.
But more subtly – when you collect feedback, you have all of your current customers, in their own words, saying what’s important about your business to them.
This will be very similar to what’s important to the prospective customer you’re bidding to – and expressed in a language they’re familiar with. Don’t underestimate how powerful this can be.
6. Stronger reputation
We’ve already touched upon why acting on feedback ensures that customer-by-customer, people are happy to come back, spend more, and refer their friends.
But what’s harder to quantify, and equally important, is the cumulative effects of all this goodwill.
When lots of customers are fans of your brand, unexpected things happen. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When many people are aware of you, and have a ‘good feeling’ about your brand, unexpected business opportunities start appearing more often… And your team start feeling better about where they work.
7. Cross-sell & up-sell opportunities.
The best time to try selling something new is when customers are happy with you. So it’s a good idea to have an open dialogue with all your customers, so you know who’s happy or not, and why.
One way to delight customers, rather than just make them ‘happy’ is to fix their problems. Which means finding out if they have any problems… Which means asking for feedback.
8. Morale and motivation.
Getting praise from a customer gives teams a real boost. It gives them confidence that business is on the right track, and peace of mind that another customer account is secure.
Every time a customer gives praise, someone in your business feels like a hero.
9. Improved skills
Receiving verbatim comments from customers’ means there’s nowhere to hide. All the training courses in the world are no substitute for lessons learned through personal experience.
A tough comment can feel raw, but as long as you learn from it and put things right, you’ll never make the same mistake twice. And it’s easier for the feedback to come from a customer than a colleague, because the person receiving the feedback knows there’s no agenda.
If you want to find out how to get feedback for your business, contact us at Surveway Solutions
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0844 777717