Want a competitive advantage? Just ask for it.

customer-feedback2smallMost businesses get their customer feedback in two ways. One is from angry, dissatisfied, or frustrated customers whose rants are rarely welcomed with an open mind or a willing ear. The other is from happy, satisfied customers whose praise we eat up with a spoon and then pat ourselves on the back with it.

While both may contain information that might prove valuable toward improving the customer experience (CX), it is the silent majority of customers that hold the key to a wealth of unmined insight that could give your business a unique advantage over your competition.

Ready to mine for some of that gold? Just follow these simple tips:

Obviously, you don’t want to present a customer feedback survey the instant they step into your store or visit your home page. Present the survey at the close of the transaction, whether in person or online, when the experience is fresh in their mind.

Some businesses may offer an incentive such as a future discount or entry into a prize drawing for completing the survey. While that is nice, most customers simply want to be heard. If you position their feedback as an important and valuable tool, an added incentive may not be necessary.

Not even your 80-year-old shut in grandmother wants to fill out your six page survey, and she plays word search puzzles all day! Respect your customers’ time and limit your questionnaire to no more than 10 questions.

Ask questions that will provide you with the greatest insight into generating greater future sales. Since your idea of what your customers might say may influence your questioning, investing in a professional consultant to help you identify the right questions is often a wise decision.

An Overlooked Opportunity
Customer feedback can be gathered in many ways. Online surveys, feedback cards often seen in hotels and restaurants, and survey invitations printed on receipts are just a few options. But many businesses overlook the ability of employees to capture information. Train your employees to ask simple questions during the transactions such as “Have you shopped here before?”, “Where do you usually purchase your widgets?” and “Why did you decide to try us?” and immediately record their response.

Turn Data into Information
Hopefully you will get an impressive response to your survey, but don’t just tally the responses so that all you have is raw data. Translate that data into information that you can use to positively impact your business.

Take Action
Once you have a clear idea of what your customers want, take action – but only if it fits your business model. You can quickly go broke trying to cater to each and every whim.

Follow up
As mentioned earlier, people just want to be heard. Follow up with your feedback participants and keep them abreast of your progress. If you’ve made a change they requested, they’ll likely come back. If you could not honor their request, let them know that their voice was heard.

Don’t rely solely on glowing reviews or scolding critiques to evaluate your brand delivery. Make regular customer feedback a part of your service culture. Contact Electrum Branding to evaluate the customer experience your business provides.