No one likes criticism. When you feel you’re doing all you can to satisfy your customers, those negative comments can really sting. And let’s be honest. Customers don’t walk in your shoes. They don’t know an outside vendor caused an issue, or that the new website your team worked so long on is 99.6% functional. Your customer doesn’t know what keeps you up at night or how hard you’ve been working to create a better customer experience just to hear their complaint. Small wonder many companies adopt a Sgt. Schultz approach to feedback – “I hear nothing. I see nothing.”
If that describes you, we understand, but you’re missing out. Customer feedback and data mining for customer data are mother lodes of data that can help you improve your product, service, process, team, communications, not to mention your overall operations. First, though, you need to change your mindset. Compliments and good reviews are great, but no one ever made a constructive change because of a pat on the back. Also, consider this. According to this 1979 survey from the Technical Assistance Research Program, only 4% of customers who have a complaint will actually tell you. That leaves the other 96% to tell someone else, probably multiple someones. And let’s not forget our friend, social media. Why limit your complaints to just a few when you have a platform that can reach thousands? The exponential negative impact of unharnessed feedback is huge.
On the other hand, when you sincerely ask for and listen to customer feedback, your customers are more inclined to talk to you rather than someone else, and you’re more likely to turn that frown upside down by proactively addressing any issues. Specific feedback can also be incredibly enlightening, highlighting pain points you might not be aware of and service gaps you need to address.
So, how do you make it happen? The key to gathering direct customer feedback is to have a process in place that collects, analyzes, and implements needed improvements. When your customer base is small, maybe you do this by manually updating a spreadsheet, but that quickly becomes impractical as your customer base grows. Also, having that data outside your operational systems makes it much more likely not to be captured, to be forgotten or not used (or worse, not addressed).
The answer? It’s not necessarily the dreaded customer survey. Using something like a Net Promoter Score (NPS) as an engagement tool is a great way to take a “temperature check” with your customer by using a simple ten-point scoring system and a comment field. To incorporate NPS into your customer’s online experience, consider specialized customer service software that invites, gathers, and analyzes feedback as well as ensuring customer feedback is acknowledged and addressed. (The only thing for a customer that is worse than dissatisfaction is not being heard.)
We like this Zendesk article that outlines various direct approaches to customer feedback as well as some great tips on mining your own operational data to find potential customer pain points. Check it out.
If you’re interested in learning more about how customer service software and data analysis can help grow your business, we’re here for you. Why not schedule an online demo today?