Are Your Customers Happy?
As Internet marketers, it’s our job to make sure that our customers are happy. Not minimally satisfied, but happy with our services. Sure, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to. Successful marketers are constantly looking for ways to improve their company and product line. One of the most effective ways to do that is through customer feedback.
Your customers may not know all the specifics of your business, but they do know what they need from you. They know what problems they’re having and what’s holding them back. They know what doesn’t work quite the way it should and what new features would make their lives easier. If you want to make your product or service better, ask your customers what they want to see. Customers are like bloggers, they come complete with opinions. And it’s that voice and input that is going to help your company to be successful.
I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know. On the surface, I think most companies recognize how valuable their customers are. But I wonder how many companies really take customer feedback seriously.
Keeping clients happy is something that we often talk about internally at Bruce Clay. We get a sense from our interaction with them and the fact that contracts are being constantly renewed that they are pleased with our services, but how do we know for sure? How can we engage them in order to learn more, better ourselves and ultimately create even happier clients?
There are tons of ways to get customer feedback. Companies will create satisfaction surveys, stuff comment cards into mailings, make phone calls, or maybe they’ll even set up focus groups. The method that you use to interact with customers isn’t that important to me. What I want to know is if you’re (a) really giving them room to tell you what they think and (b) if you’re listening. Are you encouraging them to engage or are you leading them down the path to give you the answer that you ultimately want. It’s like when you were a kid and your mother would ask if you wanted chicken for dinner while it was already in the oven. Sure, you could say no, but then you got the dreaded Look of Death. The one that burned a fetus-sized hole straight through your soul.
To get the most out of customer feedback, site owners really have to understand what they’re being told. Sometimes that means reading between the lines. You must give customers room to say what they want to say. Sure, you can give specific answer options or rating systems, but make sure there are enough options for them to say what they want to say. In other words, don’t do what WordCamp just did.
I attended WordCamp back in July. It was fantastic. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and besides being stranded in the SFO airport overnight for “wind”, the whole experience was quite enjoyable. That was two months ago.
Yesterday, I received a customer satisfaction survey asking me to rate the event. When I opened it up, I got the distinct feeling that the folks behind WordCamp didn’t want my opinion. Why? There was no room actually to state an opinion or offer a genuine comment. All I was able to do was rate each of the sessions by giving them a vague “Didn’t Attend,” “Not Good,” “No Opinion,” or “Loved It” assessment. I’m sorry, but there are light-years of middle ground missing there. What if I liked it but didn’t love it? What if it was okay, but I felt the presenters could have done a better job? It takes a lot for me to love something. Ask my kitties; they’re constantly working for their supper.
To be fair, the WordCamp survey did include a few general questions, asking for my favorite and least favorite aspect and what I’d change. The questions were okay, but the boxes where I was to provide my answers were curiously small. Maybe I could have typed all I wanted to inside them, but I didn’t feel like I could. I felt like they just wanted me to write a few positive words and then get out of there. I didn’t get the feeling they were really interested in my opinion, so in the end, I didn’t really give it to them.
You don’t want that to be the feeling customers get when you ask them for your feedback. You want to give them plenty of room and ways to express themselves and voice their opinion. If you don’t give them a place to do it on your site, they’re only going to go somewhere else, and you may not like where that is.
I’d also ask that if you’re going to get feedback from customers about a product they just purchased or an event they just attended, do your best to make it timely. WordCamp was in July. I realize July wasn’t all that long ago, but it was long enough that I don’t remember most of the sessions, even though I wrote about a number of them. WordCamp and the month of July are locked back in my head behind lots of birthdays, search conferences, company retreats, and life events. I would have liked to have received this survey 2 weeks after the event.
Listening to customers and acting on their feedback helps your company to earn a reputation as someone who cares about users and customer service. Encourage them to voice their opinion. You’ll not only end up with happy customers, you’ll ultimately end up with a stronger company.
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Staying attuned to your customer’s needs and preferences is paramount. Gathering feedback from your customers is not optional if you want your business to thrive and expand. I can guide you through this essential process and give actionable insights that will help your organization improve.
Customer feedback is critical to any business’s success. It provides invaluable insights into customer satisfaction, pain points, and improvement areas so you can tailor products or services specifically to the needs of your target market, thus increasing customer retention and profits.
There are several methods to gather customer feedback, each with its advantages and limitations:
- Surveys and Questionnaires: Create well-structured surveys to collect specific data about customer experiences and preferences.
- Feedback Forms: Embed feedback forms on your website or product to capture real-time insights.
- Social Media Listening: Monitor your social media platforms for comments and mentions related to your brand.
- Customer Reviews: Pay close attention to online reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google, or industry-specific sites.
- Email and Direct Communication: Engage directly with customers through personalized emails or phone calls to gather detailed feedback.
Once you’ve gathered feedback, it’s essential to analyze it effectively. Consider these points:
- Segmentation: Categorize feedback by the type of customer, product, or service.
- Identify Trends: Look for recurring themes and patterns in the feedback.
- Prioritize Feedback: Determine which issues are most critical and need immediate attention.
- Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis: Combine quantitative data (numbers) with qualitative data (comments) for a comprehensive view.
- Benchmarking: Compare your performance with industry standards or your competitors.
Armed with customer feedback, you can now take meaningful steps to improve your business:
- Implement Changes: Address the identified issues and make necessary improvements.
- Communication: Inform customers what changes were implemented based on their feedback.
- Feedback Loop: Make sure that customers can provide regular feedback and open lines of communication with them.
- Training and Development: Ensure your team is equipped to deliver the desired customer experience.
- Continual Monitoring: Regularly review and update your feedback collection and analysis processes.
To gauge the effectiveness of your feedback-driven improvements:
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Set clear KPIs to measure the impact of the changes you’ve made.
- Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Conduct follow-up surveys to assess if the changes are positively influencing customer satisfaction.
- Repeat Feedback Analysis: Regularly revisit the feedback data to identify trends and areas that still require attention.
Gathering and utilizing valuable customer feedback is an ongoing journey for any business seeking to thrive in a competitive marketplace. Your business can benefit by understanding the importance of feedback, selecting suitable methods, and analyzing data systematically.
Step-by-Step Procedure for Gathering Valuable Customer Feedback
- Recognizing the significance of customer feedback to your business.
- Determine the most appropriate feedback method for your business, such as surveys, feedback forms or social media listening.
- Collect feedback through the chosen methods.
- Analyze the feedback by segmenting, identifying trends, prioritizing issues, and conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis.
- Benchmark your performance and gather insights for improvement.
- Implement necessary changes based on the feedback received.
- Communicate these changes to your customers.
- Create an ongoing feedback loop to maintain open communication with your customer base.
- Invest in training and development to ensure your team can deliver the desired customer experience.
- Continually monitor and update your feedback collection and analysis processes.
- Set clear KPIs to measure the impact of your feedback-driven improvements.
- Conduct follow-up customer satisfaction surveys to assess the effectiveness of changes.
- Regularly revisit feedback data to identify trends and areas requiring attention.
This article was updated on December 7, 2023.