Why Bad Feedback Can Be Good for Business

Daily Mirror

August 13, 2014

Copyright 2014 MGN Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Most businesses think if they actively reduce complaints, it means that customer satisfaction is going up. Unfortunately, the two don't actually go together.

Bad feedback on your business needs to be actively encouraged.

Research shows that 96% of your customers won't complain to you, they will just walk away—and then tell other people why. Even worse, they can go online—we have all seen the horror stories on Facebook and Twitter that can spread like wildfire.

By encouraging customer feedback on your terms, you have a chance to fix things so people go home happy—and in the process, turn them into advocates for your business.

To help you get started, here's some tips from Lindsay Willott, CEO of Customer Thermometer:

  • Ask customers for simple feedback as much as possible, and make it easy and fun for them to give you that feedback.
  • Be proactive—ask for feedback when you've just finished a job or delivered a product. Don't send a long survey each year. A year is just too long—your customers will be in the arms of your competitors by then. Customers are busy and want to be able to give you feedback quickly and on their terms.
  • Consider asking just one question, like "how did we do?" rather than 20 multi-choice ones.
  • Ditch the paper surveys and comment cards and get with the 21st century—customers are much more likely to respond to you if they can answer from their phone or tablet.
  • If you are managing a long-term project, make sure you ask for feedback regularly, such as each week or month, and track it to spot any trends.
  • Don't hide customer feedback away if it's bad—make sure it is regularly discussed and used in training.
  • If you've changed something as a result of customer feedback, let that customer and the person who served them know—so they can see the power of their input in action.
  • Make sure your staff know that satisfaction is not their goal—loyalty is.
  • Put complaints first. Have you ever called a company to complain, and found it takes three times longer to get through to 'customer service' than to the sales line? Make it clear to people how they can give you feedback.

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