Every successful company knows that one of the most effective ways to separate itself from the competition is by focusing on customer feedback. Gathering feedback helps successful companies quantitatively measure their internal performance, how they compare to the competition, and what expectations customers have of them.
Without question, customer feedback provides an invaluable trove of information.
- A well-designed feedback strategy eliminates much of the guesswork regarding how customer satisfaction directly impacts business outcomes.
- It provides an estimate of revenue increase a business can expect based on increased satisfaction levels.
- Offering to help existing customers before they have problems not only makes their experience better, it helps a business predict what it can do to serve future customers better.
Ultimately, feedback presents a very clear picture of what a business must do to ward of the threats of customer dissatisfaction, disinterest, and abandonment. Often businesses think of customer feedback as something that occurs only when there is a problem that needs to be solved. But if a business is able to consider the broader advantages of collecting feedback, it will open itself up to the possibility of not just soliciting feedback when problems arise but proactively solving problems before they appear.
More Feedback = Fewer Problems
Most customers who have a problem won’t tell a business about it. Lee Resources International suggests that, on average, for every customer who complains about an issue, there are 26 who don’t say anything; they just leave. One way to avoid losing customers is to proactively gather feedback.
In this age of Big Data and evidence-based business activity, high-performing businesses use customer insights to shape and improve products, services, and strategies. According to one report, high-performing organizations are at least 2.5 times more likely than their lower-performing peers to regularly collect feedback to gauge customer satisfaction levels. From customer relationship management (CRM) software to social media, high performers put technology to good use to better connect with customers. These successful companies recognize the power inherent in not just soliciting customer feedback, but in listening to it, and acting on it.
When a business proactively delivers customer care, they establish a clear point of differentiation that reinforces the company’s brand identity and provides greater customers value. These companies attract a more loyal following who appreciate being consistently treated like valued customers. Here are some examples of how top-performing businesses have used feedback to proactively solve problems and win over their customers:
- Based on survey feedback, Dannon Yogurt company discovered that customers were unhappy when the company omitted a warning label from its packaging, alerting customers to the inclusion of cherry pits in its product. As a result, the company reinstated the warning and saw a 50% drop in complaints.
- Alamo Rent-A-Car mailed an informational brochure to 1,000 customers. In a survey of 2,000 customers, it discovered that the 1,000 who received the brochure were 24% happier with the company. These customers experienced fewer problems understanding car-rental procedures, rates, and billing procedures.
- Dell regularly contacts customers three weeks after delivery of a product. This enables the company to address any operating problems or billing questions the customer could be experiencing.
Welcome and ask for constructive feedback
As the above examples illustrate, companies need to proactively reach out to customers for feedback to gain the most accurate data, and to glean the kind of actionable insights that will improve their overall experience.
Successful businesses understand that they must make regular contact with customers to address issues which are potentially problematic. Importantly, these businesses don’t wait for negative feedback to come to them. Instead, they proactively reach out to customers on a regular basis to find out what they like, dislike, and what they think can be improved.
Customer service is about giving customers what they want, which means first finding out what that is. And there’s no better way than to ask them. Businesses that regularly check in with customers can easily identify areas of weakness and correct them before customers become unhappy.