Do you actively solicit feedback from your customers?
If you do, congratulations! If you do not, start immediately. All businesses lose customers over time, the key is knowing why you are losing them. Did they move out of your trade area, stop using the product or service you provide, or have you lost them due to service or price? By knowing the answers to these questions you can increase customer satisfaction, retention, and profitability. And you may even generate referrals from your customers. If you don’t know why customers are leaving, customers will continue leaving. Often at an accelerating pace especially if there are systemic service, product, or price issues which are not being addressed. Conversely, engaging your customers gives them a much stronger connection to your business – simply because you told them that their opinion mattered – while helping you to do a better job of meeting their needs – since you have a clearer picture of what those needs are. A key point here, it is vitally important that if you ask for their input that you take action on their recommendations. Not all of them, but some of them. You also want to let them know you have heard their concerns by following up with them, either one-on-one or as a group.
How do I get feedback?
There are several easy and affordable ways to ask your customers for their input. Using your web site or social media home pages is a quick and easy way to get started. An annual survey via the mail can provide valuable data, too. We conduct an annual survey and results are shared with our entire staff and our Board. If you have a formal complaint process make sure that complaints are properly resolved and that the appropriate employees know what happened. All written complaints come across my desk. Something new we are trying, placing my name and direct line phone number on the back of every employee’s business card, along with an invitation to call me if you have problems, concerns, or ideas you want to share with the CEO. Simple, but the message to customers and to our employees, is that customer comments are valuable and will be taken seriously in our company.
Your customers are willing to give you feedback, you simply need to make it easy for them. Oh, and the vast majority of comments are positive, which I am quick to share with our staff. Good luck!