When I go shopping, I have a tendency to wear my business hat while I walk around the stores. I assess the quality of service I receive to gauge how well the business is doing and if it’s losing sales because of poor service. It’s like being my own self-assigned mystery shopper.
The only thing worse than delivering poor customer service is not being prepared to handle feedback from an unhappy customer. As a business person, if I receive poor service, I usually let someone in management know why I’m unhappy so the situation can be corrected. I’m frequently disappointed in how ill-prepared management is for my call. They are usually at a loss for words and clearly don’t have a system to be prepared for customer feedback.
Dissatisfied customers are a certainty in any business. So the question becomes, what are you doing in your business to minimize the number of dissatisfied customers, and what system do you have in place to handle customer complaints?
Dealing with a dissatisfied customer can be one of the biggest challenges for business owners and their staff. We humans naturally want to avoid confrontation, especially when we feel like someone is about to go on the attack. But avoiding a dissatisfied customer is guaranteed to lose you a customer for life.
Purposely asking for customer feedback can feel like walking through a mine field. But when done properly, what I call Customer Survey Marketing can be a powerful tool in your business. Rather than assume that “no news is good news,” I recommend a systematic, proactive approach to gauging customer satisfaction.
Below are some of the top reasons why should regularly seek feedback from your customers with surveys:
It identifies customer service trends in your business
Customer surveys have a tendency to put a spotlight on areas in your business where service is consistently a problem. It’s likely that service is generally good, but there are a few areas where the ball is being dropped. A targeted survey will reveal this. You can use this information to train your front line staff on improved customer service techniques.
It lets them know you care
Few companies take the time to proactively survey their customers. (Asking the customer on a sales receipt to complete a survey for a chance to win is what I call “passive” surveying and doesn’t have the same positive message.)
Surveying your customers lets them know you care about their experience and opinion. This is powerful Public Relations for your business.
This level of care will shine through when the client speaks about your business and could lead to referral business.
To help you develop a customer feedback system
Customer surveys are a more “gentle” way to receive feedback because you’re not dealing with irate customers in the moment. Any negative feedback you receive can be used as a starting point to develop standard responses to situations. Staff can be trained on these responses so they have more discretion on effectively handling customer complaints.
To discover new product and service opportunities
Surveys are a great way to carry out cost-effective market research while gathering feedback. Do you have a new product or service you’re thinking of launching? You could include a question related to it in your survey. This will help you make a more informed decision before investing time and money in the launch.
Additionally, a more open question such as “what other services would you like to see from us?” could give you some ideas that you had never even thought about.
To learn what you’re doing well and should shout about
Surveys aren’t just about uncovering issues so you can fix them. Many customers will be happy to tell you about all the things you’re doing well. And this is just as important because you can emphasize what your staff are doing well in future training.
Positive survey feedback also makes great sound bites and testimonials for your business to shout about when looking for new clients.
Author: Ruth van Vierzen is the founder of REVSquared Business Growth Agency. She is an expert in business management and growth strategies with a focus on sales, marketing and operations. Ruth is also a speaker on a variety of business topics. Follow her @rev2bizgrowth on Twitter.