Toys R’ Us left us hanging. We loved you, but, it seems, in the end, you didn’t love us back. Photo by Philip Veater on Unsplash

Gather customer feedback (and use it) like your life depended on it.

I remember as a child being enamored with Toys R’ Us.

Hailing from the Caribbean, I did not have the privilege of accessibility, but I’d always dreamed how great it would be to go to a megastore of toys. To see, feel and (hopefully) get all the Mattel toys, Hasbro games, and 1000 piece puzzles that my heart desired.

As an adult, I was able to travel to the States, and experience a part of my childhood dream. It didn’t feel the same, but it was still nice to go through the flagship in Manhattan back in 2012.

So it pains me to see it die. And really, it didn’t have to.

Many would say Toys R’ Us failed because of financial mismanagement and delusions of grandeur. That’s true.

But it also failed because it didn’t value the opinions of its customers. It didn’t listen to what customers wanted quickly enough, and by the time they acknowledged the problem, it was too late.

Customers needs and wants were evolving with technology. They wanted speed and accessibility online. They wanted great customer interactions and experiences in the stores, and they wanted an emotional connection to the brands they support.

The best business owner understands that it’s a relationship, and a healthy productive relationship requires constant communication; because people change.

The exceptional business owner understands that the people they serve are no longer “customers.” They are Jane Doe and Jim Brown. They have names and individual desires and they seek to understand each of them and what each of them want.

That’s why you need feedback. Whether you have one client or 10,000 clients.

And more importantly, you need to use it.

Here are some questions you can ask your customers/clients:

  • What are you struggling with right now?
  • How easy was it to use our product/service? — The more difficult it is to use your product, the less likely they would want to use it again. See Customer Effort Score.
  • How can We improve our product/service?
  • Where/How didn’t you find out about our product service? — You can find out where like-minded persons of your ideal Customer hang out and reach even more of them.
  • Would you recommend our product/service to your friend/family member? — Also known as Net Promoter Score, this question helps see how highly they view you.
  • What more can we do for you? — Are you doing enough? Can you add more value? The right Customer would not hesitate to say.

Gather this data on a spreadsheet, document or an app like Airtable and look for similarities. Start solving the pain points for customers. Start making the changes that we customers want.

Always be a work in progress for your customers and get their opinion.

Everything depends on it.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 332,253+ people.

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Marvin Marcano〽️〽️

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The Startup

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