If customers feel you are not listening to their needs, your reputation and your margins will suffer. Feedback is hard to receive; it’s also gold. The importance of customer feedback can’t be overlooked!
So what can you do to make the most of it?
Collect customer feedback regularly
I recommend surveying your customers via text, email or phone call at least once a quarter. Ask what is going well and be curious about any changes you need to make.
Any time a customer says, “I want this,” consider that feedback a gift. Don’t wait until you get a bad review to ask customers what they need.
If you do receive critical feedback from a customer via a survey, a review, or from a conversation with an employee, always be polite—even if they’re not. Whether you or your employees are actually at fault or not doesn’t matter. Always tell an unhappy customer, “You’re right. I hear you. I apologize for the impact that had on you.”
A gracious response turns a terrible experience into a remarkable one that most customers won’t soon forget.
The importance of customer feedback in real-time
I recommended a lawyer I’d had a good experience with to a girlfriend. After meeting with him, my friend called me to complain about their awful process and begged me to never recommend another company like them.
I was surprised because I knew the lawyer knew better. He clearly wasn’t listening. I called the lawyer to share my friend’s feedback, and he didn’t want to hear it. I never recommended him again.
Accepting bad feedback
Humans don’t like bad feedback. If you don’t acknowledge it, you don’t have to deal with it, right? Wrong. Yes, feedback can be painful. Accept it anyway. We don’t want to feel bad, yet if we ignore bad feedback, we lower our odds of success.
In a successful business, feedback is an essential communication loop. An employee or customer shares their negative experience with you, you actively listen, redesign the affected system, and the experience is improved for next time.
Maybe you pick up the phone, and the first thing a new customer says is they couldn’t find your phone number on your website. What does that tell you? To add it to your site in an obvious place. If one or two customers share feedback with you, chances are hundreds of others have had (or will have) a similar experience.
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!
The Small Business Field Guide
A workbook for small business success.
Written in clear, simple language with actionable steps, pragmatic tools and proven systems.