Customer feedback – why it matters and how to get it

Customer feedback – why it matters and how to get it

Someone once said that no business should have to pay for advice. When asked why they thought that, they replied “Surely business is simple, you just need to understand what your customer wants, how much they are prepared to pay and how they want to buy it”.

It’s hard to disagree that the best person to ask how to improve your business is your customer, but you could also argue that it isn’t ‘that easy’ – everyone needs expert help now and again.

The truth is, most businesses don’t actively listen to their customers or seek feedback.

A recent survey showed that only 30% of UK businesses ask their customers for feedback – and many of those do so in a way which annoys customers so they don’t get much value from it!

Some companies do it well though – and they show just how valuable it is for growing your business. Slack is an online communication platform which replaces e-mails, and they are one of the best examples of how to use feedback to grow. Within 4 years of launching, they had 6 million unique users a day and are valued at over $5 billion. They achieved this by focusing on getting and using customer feedback and now 20% of their employees work solely on getting, analysing and incorporating it.

Why do you need customer feedback?

For most businesses, there are only 3 reasons for getting customer feedback:

  1. To find out what you do well, so you can do it more frequently.
  2. To find out what you could do better, so you can improve your business.
  3. To find out what else you could do, so you can build your business.

What questions do you need to ask?

Don’t start to ask customers lots of questions. They will soon get bored and stop answering. Keep it simple and only ask the questions you really want the answers to. Here are 4 basic but powerful questions:

  1. What did we do well?
  2. How could we have done it better?
  3. What else could we have done for you?
  4. How do you feel about doing business with us?

When you start asking for feedback, you should adapt these questions to suit you, but make sure that when you ask questions you use open questions (beginning with who, how, what, why or when) as this will give you more meaningful results.

What to do with customer feedback

Think about customer feedback as a conversation. That means it has to be a 2 way process.

First, you should thank the customer for answering your questions, tell them what you have learned, and how you will use it in your business.

Second, you need to actually make the changes. Only 10% of UK businesses do this, so you will immediately be ahead of most of your competitors.

Third, you need to prove to your customer that you have listened. This means telling them about the changes that you have made and why you made them. By doing this, they will see that you value their opinion and means they are more likely to give you feedback again.

When to ask for feedback

You should only ask for feedback when a customer has experienced enough of your process, product or service to understand the value they got from it or any problems they had with it. This means having a pop up survey on your website that appears as soon as someone hits your homepage is a waste of time, whereas asking questions as someone is leaving your site is more valuable.

As well as using online surveys, get your staff to ask customers for their feedback and make sure they record it. Don’t forget to ask staff their opinion as well – often they are your best source of ideas!

Seeking customer feedback allows you to develop your business with your customer experience in mind – take expert help to set up this feedback system and to monitor and review the results for maximum effect.

Blunt thinking on customer feedback

Have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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