Unless your company is massive, you’re probably going to be relying on a small set of clients that come back on a frequent basis. For obvious reasons, you want to keep these clients or customers satisfied with your products or services, so they’ll keep coming back and won’t seek out the competition. However, correctly gauging customer satisfaction can be extremely difficult. Many customers have nothing to say on the matter, some will give a dishonest response to avoid conflict or having to deliver a longer response.
You’ve run into the dilemma that many businesses face early on, and struggle to get past: how do you get a useful response from a large base of customers and clients?
Sometimes, it’s in how you ask them. One of the biggest issues with ‘selling’ feedback is that both the customer and company treat it like an afterthought. Many companies tell their customers “Feel free to leave feedback at *website*”, but the language here insinuates that the company isn’t particularly interested in receiving feedback.
The best alternative is making it sound like your company cares about the feedback they get sent. Insist that their feedback is important to the company, and isn’t simply shoved into a box after being glanced at briefly. Other factors to consider are if your customer service staff are operating from a generic email address or have their own name on it – this helps to build up some trust between the client/customer and the customer service rep.
When receiving feedback, it might be better to make the questions as open as possible, to encourage honest and descriptive answers. A lot of customers will say that there aren’t any real problems with the company when prompted, but a question that allows them to open up reaps considerable benefits. Questions that can open a discussion are especially useful, since you might get a lot of useful information via some simple probing questions that allows them to expand on their initial complaint or compliment.
Once they’ve delivered their feedback, you may think your side of the exchange is over. However, it’s best to send a letter or email to customers that provide constructive criticism, to thank them for their suggestions and as a gesture of gratitude. This will show the customer that their opinions are valued and play a role in the company’s growth, especially if it’s already implemented by the time the letter is sent.
Asking your customers and clients for feedback can be difficult, but if you approach most of your interactions with them with carefully and consistently with the above methods, you’ll notice how more people are willing to send good feedback. At the Change Consultancy, we’re excited about taking new technology, methods and workplace philosophy to reinvigorate companies and get them running at maximum efficiency in an age where change is fast and confusing.