How to Make the Most of Customer Feedback
Employers have more access today to up-to-the-minute customer feedback. Online surveys, social media and web platforms mean you can elicit feedback from customers anytime. Making the most of the information you receive can help you build a loyal and satisfied customer base. The caveat here is that you need to be willing to respond in a timely manner, while also maintaining authenticity in this transparent environment.
There are several steps you should consider when embarking on a customer feedback strategy so that you use this information to your advantage. The first is to define the goals you want to achieve in soliciting feedback. Are you looking for opinions to improve products or services? Are you looking to understand why business is declining in a certain area? These are the types of questions you should ask when outlining your plan.
Once you've determined your goals, the next step is to choose the mechanisms you will use. Again, this can be a survey, online forums, or utilizing social networks. When the mechanics are in place and you are gathering information, you will then need to develop a strategy on how to use the feedback collected.
Here you can take two approaches. You can either respond to customers immediately or collect quantitative data to help improve processes going forward. The worst thing you can do is solicit feedback from customers and then stay silent; doing nothing with the vital information you have received. By showing that your business responds to customer feedback you will improve satisfaction and loyalty, while also putting a human face to your business.
Take an email survey, for instance. You've asked your customers to engage with you and they've responded. At this point, you can choose to personally address major issues individually with each customer in real-time. Or, you may opt to respond more globally by highlighting customer commentary in future email communication. The objective is to show your customers that you are listening to them and are addressing their issues.
From the quantitative data you receive, such as that culled from an online survey, you may see a need to implement new business practices. Your customers may have indicated that there is a need for greater access to customer service, for instance.
When you implement any new business practice based on customer feedback, highlight that this is being put in place in direct response to their demands. Addressing your customers' needs and being responsive to this degree demonstrates that you are serious and value their opinions; opening up even more levels of communication and access going forward.
The success of a customer feedback plan ultimately falls on using the information you receive as an ongoing opportunity to connect. Don't let this information go to waste.
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