Few of the businesses that claim their customers come first actually have programs in place to solicit, collect and act on customer suggestions. If you aren’t seeking out customer feedback, use this top ten list to make your business better.
Got Customer Feedback? 10 Ways to Use Complaints, Suggestions and Customer Opinions to Grow Your Business
Businesses that want to grow shouldn’t just wait around to respond to customer complaints; they should actively solicit and continually collect and act on customer’s complaints, suggestions and preferences. Here are ten ways to turn customer feedback into marketing fodder.
Many businesses lack formal programs designed to ask for, collect, analyze and act on customer complaints, let alone suggestions or opinions, even though these are the very activities that can lead to increased customer satisfaction, higher customer return and retention rates, more word of mouth marketing and improvements throughout the customer experience.
What’s more, there are more ways to engage in this type of dialogue with customers and prospects than ever before; including:
- Polls and surveys
- Direct mail
- Social networks
- In-store information areas
- Sales professionals
- Focus groups
- Secret shoppers and other marketing consultants
10 ways to use customer feedback to help grow your business
1. Resolve minor problems before they turn into major issues.
Depending on their loyalty to your brand, customers might be willing to overlook small problems and minor inconveniences within the customer experience. However, these small problems can affect your ability to attract new customers and generate return visits. If left unexposed (and unaddressed), small problems can turn into big ones that are harder to solve.
2. Find the best solutions.
It’s easy to forget that customers could be a treasure trove when it comes to providing ideas and suggestions to help improve business operations.
3. Improve the customer experience.
With a vested interest in the customer experience, their feedback should be a top priority when it comes to analyzing and improving the customer experience at your business in order to create real, meaningful competitive differentiation.
4. Write or change policies.
We have all observed instances where a business changes its policies without getting feedback from customers first, only to find that they overlooked the impact to the customers. In many cases, this means lost customers and erosion of loyalty and goodwill that could have been avoided had customer feedback been obtained during the policy development process.
5. Evolve your product or service line up.
Customer opinion, feedback and suggestions can be used to help as you determine which new products or services to add to make your business more successful, or which low-performers are becoming obsolete and can be eliminated (or replaced) in order to make your business more profitable.
Do you need financing to expand your product or service line up?
A DB Squared business or merchant cash advance could be an ideal way to quickly add new products or services to your business in advance of busy seasons or to help you attract more customers to your business.
6. Increase word of mouth marketing.
Customer feedback can be used to write case studies, testimonials and reviews that will have a direct impact on your word of mouth marketing results.
7. Strengthen your branding.
In reality, your brand’s identity only exists in the mind of your customers. Asking customers to provide feedback or even participate on focus groups or your long range planning committee can help you identify the true characteristics of your brand as it exists now, and map out a plan to evolve your brand into what you (and your customers) most want it to be.
8. Pinpoint the best training for employees.
Customer feedback can help you pinpoint gaps where staff needs additional training or where enhanced employee education can help your business grow to the next level.
9. Better educate customers and prospects.
When it comes to your business, products and services, do you know what your customers don’t know about you? Use polls, surveys, opinion and other customer feedback to identify areas where your customers and prospects may need more education in order to produce more conversions.
10. Improve your marketing ROI (return on investment).
Feedback from customers, prospects, leads that failed to convert and even customers who leave can help you identify those areas of your marketing, customer relations and other efforts which are not up to par or which can be improved to increase leads, conversions and sales.