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Methods of Customer Feedback
Whether you utilize voice of the customer surveys, e-mail questionnaires, observing customers or focus groups, the intention is the same—to gain valuable customer feedback and improve your business.
What most businesses don’t do is follow-up on feedback received, and in the long run they lose customers to competitors.
Why spend the money on obtaining feedback if you don’t analyze problem areas and implement changes? Perhaps the biggest reason is the average business owner has no experience or examples of customer feedback and, once gained, how the valuable feedback should be used to change the business.
Let’s look at three examples of feedback from customers and see how to implement the suggestions to improve your business.
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1. Poor Service Feedback
This example of customer feedback deals with poor or no customer service. Let’s say you own a restaurant and the largest complaint you receive is no coffee or drink offered upon customer sit-down. Instead of letting the complaint stand, take a look at why your wait staff isn’t offering up drinks promptly: You might find where you have coffee or drink stations is quite a distance away from the dining area. If so, change the location of the drink station and train your employees on immediate service.
Often, a circumstance may cause low feedback from customers when it comes to how well they enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) their experience. Use this negative service feedback by talking with your staff to gain their input and make changes to ensure service will be a top priority.
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2. Inadequate or Poor Product Offerings
If you constantly receive complaints about your product—it breaks, it makes a noise, it’s loud or it simply doesn’t work--you won’t be selling the product for very long. Let’s say you performed a focus group and allowed end users to see, feel and touch the product and then complete surveys on how well they liked it. If the survey revealed they simply couldn’t use the product, why are you still selling it?
In this example, gather your development staff together (using customer surveys) and try and replicate the problems they had with the product. Next, if you have to spend money for some redesign, do so; you’ll sell more products in the long run if you pay attention to customer wants.
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3. Business Policy Problems
Almost every big box store these days offers no-hassle returns, and those wanting to compete with the big box store are now jumping on board—even online retailers. If your return policy is so extensive and requires much paperwork or offers stipulations your customers must follow, they may buy (and return) to you once and only once.
In this example of customer feedback and how to use it, send some of your staff to those no-hassle return retailers, have them buy something and then return it. Compare their return process to yours and see how you can improve it.
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Let Customers Know About Changes
In order for any of these customer feedback examples to work, you need to let your target audience know about any changes you implement—even if it’s saying, “Yes, we got it wrong but now we’ve listened to you and now we have it right!"
Often admitting to the poor experience your customers complained about encourages them to try your product or service again.
When obtaining customer feedback, first determine why you need it. Are sales low? Does your product work as designed? What could be changed as far as company policies or services offered? Once you have the feedback, make sure you don’t drop the ball and actually utilize it to implement changes. Your customers will thank you, offer referrals and you’ll be able to watch revenues grow. Failure to follow-up on surveyed customers is simply a waste of money.
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