A business has two purposes: marketing and innovation.” – Peter Drucker
“Opportunities are often missed because we are broadcasting when we should be listening.” – Unknown
In marketing terms, customer feedback is a process of obtaining a customer’s opinion about a company, product or service. This is an important resource for improving and addressing the needs and wants of customers and the performance of the company.
Research firm, TARP, found that for every person who complains, there are 26 who do not – if you have 1,000 customers, and 10 of them complain, another 260 may be silently fuming. To know what they think, you need to ask, hear what they are saying and act.
Even though Customer Feedback is vital to a company’s success, many fail to ask for feedback. The common reasons for this are:
- Fear of being told that your company, product or service is rubbish – yet most companies don’t hear this type of painful feedback.
- Not knowing where to start – a Google search will reveal many resources and tools to help generate and collect feedback. As a customer survey usually serves as the central focus of the process, it is a good place to start.
Why Customer Feedback is Important
- It can help improve your product or service. Listening to your customers is the only way to be sure you create a product that they actually want.
- It offers the best way to measure customer satisfaction – helping you figure out whether your product meets or surpasses their expectations.
- It provides actionable insight to create a better customer experience. Constantly improving service, retaining customers and motivating referrals, it is a vital investment every company needs to make.
- It can help improve customer retention – providing a direct line of communication with your customers so you can determine if they are happy or not. A happy customer is a retained customer.
- It delivers real data that can be used to make better business decisions. The best decisions are based off data, not hunches.
Ten Tips to Make Customer Feedback Work for Your Business
- Believe that your customers have good ideas – do not be put off by those who argue that customers are incapable of knowing what makes a product or service valuable to them.
- Look to gather feedback at every opportunity – every interaction is an opportunity to ask for feedback.
- Focus on continual improvement based on the feedback received.
- Actively ask for both good and bad feedback – use carefully crafted questions to tease out the negative in a constructive way.
- Don’t spend vast sums of money doing it – short, fast surveys, focussing on one or two issues, deliver better response rates.
- Look for real-time feedback by actively calling customers every day.
- Make it easy for customers to provide feedback – this may not necessarily be the most convenient for the company.
- Use technology to aid your efforts – for example, online survey tools make it easy to gather and collate responses.
- Share customer feedback throughout the company and report back to customers.
- Use feedback to make changes quickly – you can’t move a mountain in a day but you can make it easier to climb by clearing a path.
Before you set off to gather customer feedback, remember to give it the attention it deserves and be sure to have a clear business objective in mind.
On one hand you don’t want anything to get in the way of you starting to request customer feedback but on the other hand it’s going to be so valuable to your business that you don’t want to rush in and mess it up – get the approach wrong and you can impair customer satisfaction rather than improve it. But, don’t be surprised if you receive:
- More good than expected;
- Some bad not expected;
- Surprised and delighted customers when you respond; and
- Wish you had set up customer feedback sooner.
Building A Customer Feedback Dashboard
A quick way to monitor customer feedback and share it with your employees is to build a Customer Feedback Dashboard. The data from Customer Surveys can be processed and presented in real-time so all can see at a glance which products or services need to be improved.
This example was built using a Google Form for the customer survey which collects data in a spreadsheet to be processed and presented as a simple dashboard. The working example can be found on the demo page of Resonate Cloud Service’s website,
It is a simple tool but can be extended to present historic and trending information as well as giving access to the raw data for individual responses for follow-up.
A number of different surveys may be presented on a single dashboard, for example data from sales feedback and data from support ticket feedback.
The Customer Feedback Survey form can be presented on your website or Facebook page, or emailed to customers (with personal details pre-filled in) after each transaction.
Francois Joubert is the owner of Resonate Cloud Services Limited. With his 20-years experience of technology in business and that of his specialist partners, he helps companies of all sizes use technology better in order to make the way they work simpler, smarter and quicker. Resonate offers full resale and integration services for Google G Suite, Office365, RingCentral and a range of other cloud-based business tools.