Feedback can be a powerful driver of change.
From a performance appraisal that highlights areas in which a staffer needs to improve to marital partners being transparent about one another’s habits, gaining outside perspective can be a transformative tool. And for today’s businesses, that transformation is needed more than ever—as modern consumers are more willing than ever to vote with their feet and give their loyalty to another business. However, garnering sincere feedback from customers comes with some unique challenges—which business leaders need to overcome in order to reap the benefits of a transparent customer relationship.
No matter the industry, market, organization size or growth potential, all modern businesses share a common goal: securing and keeping customers. To do that, they need to know what the customer experience is actually like—so it can be improved upon and tailored to meet the needs of that business’ targeted customer audience. That’s where customer feedback can play a major role.
Insights from customers can tell business leaders where the customer experience is strongest, where there are problems and what the areas for improvement are. But if the business isn’t actively soliciting this feedback, customers probably won’t offer it, creating a major missed opportunity for growth.
But that’s not to say customers won’t still have opinions—and act on them. According to Zendesk, nearly three-quarters of American consumers are loyal to at least one brand, and the same amount say that a personalized customer experience will further solidify their loyalty. Importantly, Microsoft found that more than 60% of customers said a negative experience with a company caused them to refuse to do business with the organization again.
Particularly as economic worries continue, those are sobering statistics for business leaders—and they build the case for the value of transparent customer feedback. Here are three ways to show customers that your business values their loyalty, and their feedback:
Encourage transparency by being transparent
If you want your customers to talk to you honestly, you have to take the same approach with them! Be upfront about why you’re seeking their input, areas in which the business wants to improve and how their involvement can further those goals. Importantly, be clear about how their feedback will be handled—for instance, who will have access to it, and whether their individual or company names will be shared. Remember to emphasize that any feedback—even if it’s negative—can propel the company, and its relationship with that individual customer, in a positive direction.
While the human touch can strengthen any customer touchpoint with a company, technology can also play a significant role in discovering how that customer experience went. Employers can turn to emerging tech, including AI-powered chat bots, to communicate with customers quickly, seamlessly and still in the flow of the standard customer interaction. Technology can also be an important partner in gathering and analyzing data from customer feedback, suggesting themes and insights that drive improvements.
Soliciting customer feedback is an important step in strengthening the relationship between a business and its customers. However, that work is lost if the company doesn’t act on the information, using the perspectives gathered to inform changes. Importantly, businesses need to close the loop, ensuring customers are kept aware of any improvements—and that they understand how their feedback helped inform them.