Three Ways Customer Feedback Can Play A Key Role In Improving Businesses

Whether it’s a casual comment made in-person to staff, a message posted on social media, or a carefully collected data point such as those gathered through Customer Effort Score (CES), every business receives customer feedback in some form.

But what do they do with that feedback is what separates a great company from its competition. In a surprising number of cases, feedback is simply ignored: gathered by businesses, but never used in any meaningful way to bring about change. That is a major mistake. Feedback can be hugely transformative for companies in all sorts of ways. In an ever-more competitive business environment, it’s a resource that should be leveraged in a manner that extracts as much value as possible from it.

Here are three ways it can be used to help improve the service businesses offer:

#1. Show that you listen

What do positive and negative feedback have in common? Answer: Both of them provide unfiltered insights on the part of customers that you can use. Of the two, most businesses would rather have positive feedback, of course. But negative feedback can be useful as well, since it shows areas for possible improvement.

Feedback also gives you an opportunity to interact directly with customers, giving you the chance to respond to comments. If it’s a positive comment that means reinforcing what your customer already suspects: that you’re running a great business that provides high quality service. If it’s a negative comment, while it may sting to receive criticism, responding in a quick, timely manner could go some way toward redeeming the experience — particularly if you offer more than simply platitudes in your comments.

Whatever the type of comment, showing that you will listen tells customers that you care about their opinions, that you can accept responsibility, and — hopefully — that you will make changes accordingly.

#2. Give you valuable testimonials

Picture the scene: You’re walking down the high street looking for somewhere to eat lunch. There are two places serving food: One of them full of people and the other one totally deserted. Which one do you go into? Common sense may say the empty one, but human psychology may point you toward the busy one. After all, there must be a reason one restaurant has plenty of customers, and the other one has zero.

Customer opinions tell us a lot, which is exactly why companies like Amazon allow users to leave reviews, even if some of those may put you off making purchases on poorly reviewed items. Simply put, we trust customer opinions because it’s organic advertising, reflecting what people genuinely think, rather than the narrative the business wants to portray. With that in mind, positive feedback from customers can help you increase the performance of your business by improving perception, trustworthiness, and credibility. This, in turn, can increase sales.

When you receive good reviews or testimonials, consider adding them to your website to showcase the response of legitimate customers. Never let a positive comment go to waste.

#3. Help you develop as a business

You might have a good idea of how you want your business to develop over time, but, ultimately, you want to be in the business of making customers happy. That can mean changing in order to respond to what customers are telling you. That could be something as major as your road map for business development, giving customers more of the kinds of products they tell you they want. Alternatively, it could be something seemingly minor, but nonetheless important, such as updating designs or branding to reflect the feedback you’re getting.

Feedback is a rich source of information from the very people you want to appeal to the most. While companies should have enough understanding of their offerings that they don’t have to listen to every suggestion they get, large-scale patterns can help paint a revealing picture. Rather than having to speculate, feedback can help you make decisions with confidence.

Wrapping it up: Use the right tools to help

There are multiple ways you can gather feedback as a company, but a crucial one is the aforementioned Customer Effort Score (CES). This is a customer service metric that allows businesses to better measure the experience customers have when interacting with a certain product, service, or business. It lets them rank their experience on a seven-point scale by responding to the statement “[Insert company] made it easy for me to handle my issue.”

They can then choose from options ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. This standardized measure gives a cohesive and comprehensive look at the customer experience in an actionable format. Businesses that have yet to introduce CES into their business methodology should do so as soon as possible. The ramifications could be enormous.

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