In March I was a speaker at the Three Counties Expo in Luton. The focus of my presentation was ‘Why you need Unhappy Customers’. As the presentation was well received, I thought I’d share the main discussion points in this blog.
We often see the term ‘continuous improvement’ crop up in business plans and vision statements. It means the company is striving to be better, it wants to excel. This is very positive and motivational talk, but how is it put into practice?
In order to understand what to improve, you need an objective perspective. Any boardroom strategy should be based on feedback from the most important people: your customers.
The opinion of your customers is one of the most valuable assets for business development, yet too few businesses actively seek out honest feedback. The aim of my Three Counties Expo talk was to encourage more companies to:
Ask for Feedback
Any company that wants to get to the top of their field has to find ways of exceeding expectations. You can’t accurately second guess what your customers want, but you can ask.
If approaching your customers for feedback seems daunting, consider the fact that you can’t lose.
Responding to Honest Feedback
It is professional to respond politely to all comments – positive or not. Thank the customer for their feedback and tell them how you will use the information they have shared.
At times you may not have requested the feedback. The customer may post their views on a review site or social media. Again, it is courteous to personally thank the reviewer. If they were dissatisfied with your goods or services, refer to your company policy for the appropriate way to respond. Remember your comments will be shared publicly and this is an excellent opportunity to show that you care about your customer’s experience.
Don’t be tempted to try to ignore or delete negative feedback. Although high scoring reviews give us confidence that our expectations will be met, companies that also show (rather than block) negative feedback are also viewed favourably. The reader feels the company is honest and transparent. Rather than avoidance techniques, you need to act on negative reviews.
Act on Feedback
There is no point in asking for opinions if you aren’t going to use that insight to inform decision making and change.
If feedback is positive, invest more time and energy on the specific areas which have been praised. Then look at ways to bring other areas of your service up to these exceptional levels.
On the other hand, if you have unhappy customers, you can find out exactly where you are going wrong. This helps to direct time, energy and investment into areas where a tangible difference can be made. It ensures that you can make changes for the better.
Customer Service Training
If you discover more unhappy customers than you expected, my customer service consultancy can help to turn things around. I’ll make recommendations, starting with small adjustments, which can make a big difference. Change for the better isn’t always meteoric; little details can really count.