As a customer, we seem to
be surrounded by people asking for feedback.
Some do it quite well, but
most do it fairly badly.
And the problem with bad
feedback is that it’s usually worse than no feedback at all: this is
- It’s incomplete (and therefore misleading)
- It ignores the silent majority
- It doesn’t build customer loyalty
- It detracts from the customer experience
- It gives a false picture of things being
better than they really are (most ‘less than delighted’ customers just defect
to your competitor and don’t bother to give you any feedback at all).
On top of this, because
most systems are so poor, most organisations mistakenly believe that customers
‘don’t care’ or ‘only care about price’: they get increasingly disillusioned
with the idea of ‘feedback’ and believe that it’s ‘too hard to get customers
They couldn’t be more
Engaged customers can be
seen all over the place: they consistently and continually pay high prices for
quality goods and services that are not trendy and generally not heavily
advertised. Brands such as Barbour, Tiptree, and Ritz Carlton are poorly
advertised yet deliver world class levels of customer loyalty … and profits.
And customers also remain
fiercely loyal to online and offline organisations that now dominate their
marketplace (like Amazon, Waitrose and Apple).
With bad feedback systems
(and lack lustre customer experience) the customer on the other hand becomes
more and more frustrated … and in the absence of anyone rising above the sea of
mediocrity will definitely shop around on price.
So what are the three
essential rules for effective customer feedback, and what can we practically do
to crack this problem of perceived customer disinterest?
- Slow Down:
See customer feedback as a key valuable process that’s an investment in
customer loyalty, customer attraction, reputation and innovation. Put some real
budget into encouraging it, asking for it, and making it easy for the customer
to give it. Make it clear on everything you do and publish that you REALLY want
to hear what the customer has to say, and that you’ll listen and respond to
anyone who contacts you. Don’t hide this away: make it a key marketing process:
shout it from the rooftops!
a proper marketing budget into a ‘blow
their socks off’ response system as the key part of your feedback process:
they need to know that you practice what you preach. Slow down and develop
great systems (step by step) to immediately acknowledge all feedback,
investigate it, respond to it, and close the loop and thank the customer.
Gathering feedback well is a start… responding to it effectively is dynamite!
- Engage an external professional adviser
and auditor to make sure you’re slowing down, getting
this right, auditing your systems, continually improving and keeping on track
with this essential area. You cannot afford to get this wrong, and, with
respect, in the same way that you can’t audit your own accounts, we suggest
that it’s virtually impossible to effectively audit your external feedback and
response systems … you need an external perspective to do this properly.
So now you know what the
three essential rules for effective customer feedback are, all you have to do
is to take some action.
down … stop the daily rush … and spend half an hour getting this off the ground
If you’d like some help in putting these ideas into practice, please join our mailing list or buy the book or contact us for bespoke advice.