On a recent shopping trip, the sales assistant wrote her name on the receipt and invited me to complete an online customer survey. This proactive approach got me thinking, when was the last time you asked your customers for feedback?
Customer feedback offers a perspective that no member of your team can access. It makes you aware of individuals or services that are exceeding expectations, as well as alerting you to the little niggles, potential issues or changing views. If it’s been a while, now is a good time to ask your customers for their views.
Can I Sense that you’re Holding Back?
Does asking for customer feedback feel a little uncomfortable? If so, think of it from a fresh perspective. You are showing that you value your customer’s opinion. They will be even more delighted if you let them know that their feedback has actioned change.
Some businesses fear the worse; they expect that asking for feedback will lead to a barrage of negative comments. I’d argue that a good response rate suggests that you have engaged with customers. Even if you get plenty of suggestions for improvement, it’s positive that the customers have been willing to invest time in helping your business develop.
What Should You Ask your Customers?
The first consideration should be what is relevant and useful to your business. For this reason, avoid searching for a generic customer feedback form. There’s no set number of questions to ask, just explore the current focus of your business.
If you are investing in the customer experience, you might want to know:
“How are we meeting your expectations?”
“What would make your experience better?”
If growth is part of the business plan, it could be beneficial to ask:
“What additional products (or services) would be on your wish list?”
“Where would you like to see us open another store?”
For a company focusing on staff training and development, the questions might be:
“How would you rate your interactions with staff during your recent visit?”
“Did any member of our team stand out in terms of customer service?”
If you are really honing in on a point, or are asking something a little unusual, it is advisable to explain the purpose of the question. This also applies if you request personal details from the customer.
Following Up on Customer Feedback
You have to be willing to act on feedback. This doesn’t mean that every comment results in change, but you can’t ask customers to give their time and opinion, and not do anything with it. For this reason, you also need to plan what happens to the responses.
For any customer survey, it is important to allocate responsibility for collating, analysing, actioning, and following up on the feedback. It is a time-consuming process, but the information can transform the success of your business. If you haven’t the resources to manage this in-house, the work can be outsourced to a customer service specialist.
Keep In Touch with Customers
If individual customers have provided a point that has directly influenced change, it is fantastic if you can let them know with a personal message. More widely, newsletters, email marketing and social media can be used to communicate any changes that have been implemented, along with a generic thank you.
Customer Feedback for Positive Change
In summary, feedback can help you to understand and improve the customer experience. To be of value, it is important to ask questions that are directly relevant to your organisation. It is also essential that you allocate resources to analysing, actioning, and following up the responses. With the right approach, your customer’s opinions could result in positive change, so be proactive and ask for their feedback.