Customer feedback is a vital component of business growth, yet plenty of companies shy away from it out of fear that they’ll be criticized or even arrogant in thinking they know best. You’re never going to impress everyone, and not all customer suggestions will prove worth your time, but ignoring feedback leads to your support bleeding away and your brand stagnating.
You need to pay attention to customer feedback, first of all, but you mustn’t stop there. You also need to respond to it, both in what you say and in what you do. Get it right and you’ll show your customers that you’re genuinely invested in retaining their support — but how can you do that? In this post, we’re going to look at some core suggestions for how you can respond to customer feedback correctly. Let’s get started:
It doesn’t matter how someone leaves you feedback, or even what that feedback is (provided it’s constructive somehow): you need to acknowledge it with grace and show some sincere appreciation. Keep a close eye on all the channels through which people can address you, monitoring them for brand mentions: your website, your email inboxes, your social media accounts, etc. Comment on any feedback you see, even if only through private messaging.
There are two big reasons for doing this: firstly, it encourages those offering feedback to keep doing it (and bolsters their loyalty in the process), and secondly, it makes it obvious to anyone watching — other customers and prospective customers alike — that you care what people say about your business. You want more feedback. It can only ever help.
If you pay close attention to all your customer feedback, reading between the lines where necessary, you’ll be able to pinpoint various ways in which you could better meet customer expectations or preferences. Not all of those possible improvements will be viable: some (perhaps most) will be wildly impractical, requiring far too much of your time or money.
What you need to do is pick out the most significant improvements that you can make. What can you get done with minimal fuss? If your customers don’t like your website, that can — and should — be addressed, but it would take a while to figure out. If they think your product range is getting a little boring, though, that’s much faster to fix: even if you’re cherry-picking the best, it won’t take very long to find some new items to add to your range.
If they’re dissatisfied with how long they’re left waiting for a support agent to respond, perhaps it’s time to implement an AI solution. And if you’re already using a customer support platform with chatbot functionality, maybe it’s time to change things up — conducting a quick Google search for “Zendesk alternatives,” for instance, can provide you with a wealth of alternative solutions to consider. Conversely, if a minor tweak can make your loyalty program truly unique in your niche, isn’t it worth the time?
No matter how hard you try, you’ll always get some negative comments. There might be a mix-up on your end with a delivery, or some kind of service problem that leads to someone having a terrible customer experience. So what happens when such an issue drives some scathing feedback running down your company?
You can fight back and deride them for criticizing you, but that would be a massive mistake. Instead, you should accept their comments (with grace, as noted) and do whatever you can to make things better. This may include offering some compensation, but it might be as simple as sincerely apologizing and committing to doing better. If you let someone vent about a bad experience and do what you can to make up for the mistake, they can end up on your side.
Let’s say you’ve done all of this very effectively: you’ve taken to highlighting all your feedback, improving your business accordingly, and taking action to turn negative customer experiences into positive ones. Don’t stop there: let people in by talking about that process in a very forward and transparent way, ideally by creating some talking-head videos.
Address your customers directly, thanking them for their assistance and explaining why you care about their feedback. In the end, you just want to provide a fantastic service, and you can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re doing well and what you’re doing poorly. You need them to guide your hand, and their impassioned feedback continues to help you improve.
Responding to customer feedback effectively isn’t as hard as you might think. Even your most ardent critics don’t want to be disgruntled, after all. Listen carefully to what people have to say, thank them for commenting, and take action to make your business better: in the end, they’ll appreciate your effort, and be more likely to buy from you.