|How to Create an Effective Customer Feedback Strategy|
|By Laurie Barkman | May 23 2013 (0 Comments)|
While your customers are not the expert on your business, they are the expert on how to make them happy and keep them coming back.
Regardless of the industry you are in, customer input and feedback is a critical piece in your business planning.
The challenge many business owners face is how to get the information they need. The how breaks down into two distinct categories; informal feedback (conversations) and formal feedback (surveys and/or comment cards).
Talking to your customers while they are still in your store, your hotel, your restaurant or your attraction is by far the most efficient and cost-effective way to solicit ideas, opinions and suggestions. It also has the added advantage of immediacy. "In the moment" feedback tends to be less filtered. The customer hasn't had the time to rationalize their emotions or convince themselves their great idea would never work. Plus, if the customer feedback is negative, you have the opportunity to address it before they leave.
But informal doesn't mean haphazard or unplanned. You need to know what you need to know! What information are you looking for? Are you looking for overall satisfaction levels or information on specific likes and dislikes? If you want specifics, you need to ask specific questions. "Did you find the new signage easy to follow?" or "What kind of interactive activities would make this exhibit more interesting for you?"
Once you know what you need to know, create questions to solicit the information you need, train your team on how to deliver the questions and what to do with the information they receive.
These conversations with your customers should be seen by customers as a conversation, not a list of questions on a clipboard. Work with your team so that they know the questions and are able to deliver them in a conversational, meaningful way. We've all been to businesses where we just know that the questions asked are part of a script and the answer is not being listened to. How the questions are delivered will absolutely impact the quality and quantity of responses.
The next step is to identify what to do with the feedback. Conversations provide valuable information that you don’t want lost. Identify where and how the information will be recorded. Some companies do have a clipboard. It's just not pulled out and completed until after the conversation is complete and the customer leaves.
Some customers don't want to hold conversations. They prefer a less direct form of communication or a more formal structure.
The customer comment card and on-line survey are two examples of a more formal approach to collecting customer information. When you are creating a customer survey form, keep the following in mind:
In closing, creating an effective customer feedback strategy is not a quick and easy job, but it is certainly worth the effort. The more information you have on what makes your customers tick, on what makes them happy, on what will keep them coming back and refer your business to others, the better off you are. That information helps you make business decisions based on the people who matter most ...your customers.
For more information on creating positive customer service experiences, visit www.servicedge.ca/.
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