Getting Customer Feedback

It goes without saying that there is a need to treat your customers well and the power of recognizing and appreciating special customers. This is because those customers will bring you repeat business and act as your brand advocates.

One inescapable aspect of a good customer relationship is the fact that you will get feedback from them about your products and services. This ordinarily should be a good thing except not all feedback is positive and receiving negative feedback is not the strong suit of many people. But that is not to say that there is not a wealth of information even in the negative feedback — it can literally save your business.

So what is the best way to receive customer feedback?

· Relax. It’s understandable to be nervous during a feedback session. The other person holds all the power. Accept this imbalance and be easy on yourself.

· Expect to be surprised. You’re likely to hear something that you weren’t aware of. Perhaps something was a bigger deal than you thought, or something you thought was resolved wasn’t.

· Don’t be defensive. Even if you disagree, hold your tongue. Instead of defending yourself, ask questions. Once you’ve cooled down, you can always follow up

· Seek a solution. Post a response and offer a way to turn the situation around. Always extend an olive branch if you can.

· Don’t treat all comments equally. Anonymous reviews don’t carry the same weight as authored comments.

· Invite comments. If you’re open to hearing input, you’re more likely to hear positive things. Create forums for discussions about products or services, allow customers to post video testimonials, and keep social media lines open. Employ online and paper surveys too.

· Monitor customer feedback. There are many things customers will hardly ever tell you themselves, but with careful observation, you will notice those things. There is a trove of information in their behavior that says a lot about how they perceive your product or service.

· Train your staff to be customer receptive. It is important that this becomes a part of your company culture and not just the responsibility of the boss. Train and inculcate your staff and every member of your organization in this.

Again, it bears repeating: customer feedback can be the magic formula for your company to grow as it will help you discover the areas you are doing well and where you need to improve on.

It is not to be underestimated.