Your Customers' Feedback - Ask for it, Listen to It, Use it to Improve

In an earlier article, I discussed the latest survey which shows that when people quit doing business with a company, 86% of the time it’s because of poor customer service.  As a business owner, manager, or employee, this is something you can control.  In order to know how your customers want to be treated so that they come back, you have to know what they’re experiencing when they interact with your employees.  Then you have to be sure every employee is trained to deliver extraordinary service each and every moment.

Here are three things you can do to find out what your customers want so your business can survive and thrive in this economy:

  1. Look around your place of business.  Do people have to wait to get help?  Are people on hold on your phones?  Do people appear to be frustrated or angry?  You may be busy, but you must pay attention to everything that’s going on. 
  2. Look around the Internet.  What are people saying about your business on sites like Twitter and Facebook?  Are you losing business because of what people are saying about your company on these social networking sites?  Don’t forget that there are millions of people who read these sites every day. I recently came across postings by @ComcastBonnie on Twitter.  She searches Twitter for any mention of Comcast and contacts the people posting those comments to see how she can help.  Through Bonnie, Comcast is not in the dark about what people are saying on Twitter.  Comcast isn’t the only one; many businesses are providing immediate customer service on Twitter.  This is an example of how companies are finding proactive ways to provide service to their customers.  Every day check these sites to see what is being said about your company and about your competition.
  3. Ask your customers for feedback. Let your customers know you welcome and appreciate their feedback.  Make it easy for them to tell you – What are you doing well?  What could you do better?  What do they want?  What don’t they want?  Then do something with that feedback.  Here are examples I’ve seen lately of how companies are asking for feedback, using it to improve, then letting their customers – and the world – know what they’ve done.

Domino’s Pizza has ads on television showing clips from focus groups where they asked people what they thought of Domino’s pizza.  The ads go on to show Domino’s employees arriving with pizzas at the homes of the people who had been critical.  Domino’s had made the improvements suggested and brought new and improved pizzas to ask how they’d done.  This is a brilliant example of companies asking for and listening to their customers’ feedback.  They let their customers know they had listened and that they did something with the feedback. 

Microsoft is running ads for the new Windows 7 including customers who contacted Microsoft with suggestions for improving their operating system.  In the ads, the customers themselves are saying that Microsoft listened to their suggestions.  These customers are taking ownership in the new operating system. 

Make your customers feel valued by listening to their comments, and then letting them know what you did with their feedback.  They might turn out to be customers for life.  Wouldn’t you feel special if you were treatedthat way?& That’s extraordinary customer service. It’s what helps those companies outpace their competition. 

Customer service skills can be taught.In this economy, the companies that are going to survive and thrive are the ones that train their people to deliver extraordinary customer service each and every moment.