Let’s be honest, shall we? I’ll start. Numbers are important but let’s face it, we can’t all be good at math. In fact, the new math that my kids are doing these days makes me break out in hives. When I was in high school I was encouraged to drop trigonometry (I didn’t need to be told twice!) and aside from basic math skills, I haven’t needed to use a whole lot of “high-level” math in my daily life.
That said, I think that we can all agree on one mathematical statement: Numbers Don’t Lie.
When I look at my bank account, I either have money or I don’t; there’s really not an in-between. And I don’t have to actually DO any math to figure out how much I have, thankfully. Numbers in and of themselves are neutral in that they don’t react, don’t get emotional, don’t accuse, don’t defend, don’t deflect, nor do they have the ability to lie.
You can’t shoot the messenger when the message is data.
As you and your company rely on Customer Feedback Service, the results of this information will enable you to track how well your organization is performing through the eyes of your customers. To quote one of our previous articles, “A business that doesn’t listen to its customers appears unengaged and silent; it will not survive in today’s marketplace.” Getting feedback from your customers is a tangible way to have this data at your fingertips.
According to businessdictionary.com, the definition of Customer Feedback is:
Information coming directly from customers about the satisfaction or dissatisfaction they feel with a product or a service. Customer comments and complaints given to a company are an important resource for improving and addressing the needs and wants of the customer. The information is procured through written or oral surveys, online forms, emails, letters, or phone calls from the customer to the company.
It would also be beneficial for you to take a look at this infographic that we posted earlier this year. WebPunch surveyed 1,000 people and received a lot of interesting information about what customers hope for when they post online reviews.
Getting Customer Feedback about what your company does is your operation’s first line of defense when it comes to managing your online reputation. Armed with this tool, you will be equipped to climb the reputation mountain that leads to more smiles and more sales. It’s vital that you know what operational changes may need to occur so that your customers’ overall experience with your company are positive. It also helps you understand where you and your employees are doing a stellar job. It's all about listening to your clients.
If someone were to ask you how business was going, your answer might be, “Great!” But if that same someone were to ask your clients to give feedback on your products or services, you might be surprised to find that they disagree with your assessment. Customers aren’t always up for confrontation and may be unwilling to give you feedback face-to-face. If you want to know where your company’s strengths and weaknesses lie, you need cold, hard data, otherwise known as Customer Service Feedback. In this day and age of technology and instantaneous feedback, you need more to go on than just a hunch, you need data.
Furthermore, utilizing this kind of service helps take the emotion out of the equation. See how I used a math term there? You won’t need a bachelor's degree in math to understand the data you’ll get from your Customer Service Feedback company.
Once you have a system for obtaining Customer Service Feedback, you'll need to know how to deal with it. It’s human nature to get defensive when we get criticized and everybody struggles with accepting criticism, however constructive it is. If I had a nickel every time my kids have said, “It wasn’t me. I didn’t do anything wrong” I’d be rich. This mentality can carry over into the business world and it’s easy for you to think that you’re always right, case closed. However, if you want your company to succeed, you need to possess the ability to consider your customer’s point of view. Their feedback might be just what you need to get to the next level. Customers like feeling that they are part of the process, so it will help to view their assessment of your company as a generous gift, an honest consultation without the fee.
Even Reader’s Digest is talking about how to handle criticism.
“Coming face-to-face with perceived inadequacies can be difficult. It challenges the way that you believe people see your company and your knee-jerk reaction may be to get defensive or even dismiss the critique entirely. But handling negative feedback with grace and decorum will not only make you look gracious, but it could ultimately help you grow as a person.
Before you jump to conclusions and begin to challenge the other person’s opinion, take a step back and look at it objectively. “To survive well, we need to know when to protect ourselves from negativity and when to be open and change the criticism into constructive feedback,” explains Yael Benn, PhD, a lecturer in psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Next time you get a bad review, don’t immediately allow your emotions to get the better of you, but rather, take a moment to consider whether the criticism is at all accurate. Give yourself a chance to really take in the information and evaluate it.”
The fact that customers care enough to give you feedback about their experience with your company means they care. It’s worth your time to reach out to these clients and thank them for their observations. Once trends are recognized, you’ll be able to show these clients that you listened to them, made changes based on their assessment, and then you can to invite them to try your services again.
Remember that you only need to focus on the large paint strokes rather than each and every negative tidbit that comes in. You can't solve everyone's woes but it should be relatively easy to find a pattern. It's all about showing clients that you are listening and making changes—otherwise, what’s the point of getting feedback? It’s also extremely important to take the time to thank the customers who gave your company positive feedback. People like to be acknowledged for posting a review and they enjoy being thanked for choosing your company. After all, these are the clients who will refer your business to others which in turn, helps it grow. Please take the time to let your clients know that they have been heard.
Jeremy Bailey, the creative director of FreshBooks says,
“No matter the size or industry of a company, orienting around customers-first can be a humbling experience that challenges core assumptions about a product. Organizations can often become stuck in a certain mode of business-as-usual, and inadvertently fail to create a culture conducive to innovation. By deeply engaging with customers, organizations can make evidence-based design choices and avoid what’s known as “design debt” — the accumulation of arbitrary decisions that prevent a team from effectively improving their product. In short, engaging customers makes work more fun.”
And who can forget Winston Churchill?
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
Criticism can be a tough pill to swallow, but if you’re able to start framing it as something positive, it can help you dig deeply into how your company does business and discover things that it might need to change. It’s okay to sit with all the feedback for awhile and really reflect on what your customers are saying. Try to focus more on what they’re saying rather than how they’re saying it. After all, it’s free advice and it’s yours for the taking.
Basically, you need to start with the man in the mirror and, you know, ask him to make a change.
Jay Baer, author of one of our favorite books, “Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers” says:
“And here’s something that might unsettle you: your business has haters, too. Every interaction between brand and human has the potential to delight or enrage—in short, to become memorable. Today, with the widespread usage of social media, those memories can live on, and live in public, for a very long time. Customer service has become a spectator sport, and your online panel of judges can award or deduct points for speed, execution, and style.”
Zappos, an online shoe and clothing shop based in Las Vegas, believes that the number one tool any company can use is listening. And they put their money where their mouth is by responding to every single customer inquiry, whether it's via phone, email, live chat, Twitter, or Facebook. In fact, many of their experience improvements are inspired by customer feedback.
We think it’s safe to say that Customer Service Feedback is vital to your company. There’s nothing as important as getting a pulse on what your customers are saying about your brand.