The value of customer feedback is immense. It can be used to increase sales, improve retention, boost revenue and shape business development. With that in mind, are you claiming all the rewards possible from customer feedback?

We hope the answer is ‘Yes!’ – but more often than not the true answer is ‘No’ – which means many businesses are missing out on huge growth opportunities.

If you don’t ask your customers for their opinions and views, what are you basing your vital business decisions on? To make effective business decisions that lead to real improvement, you’ve got to be proactive in engaging with your customers.

Collecting feedback

Have you ever gone through the effort of filling in a feedback form only to never hear anything about it again. Pretty deflating right? Collecting customer feedback is just the first step, not the end.

Collect feedback at times that are relevant to the customer, such as immediately after receiving your product or service. Take action on that feedback to produce the biggest returns in terms of increased satisfaction, retention and referrals.

Put a system in place that means you’re able to respond and deal with every piece of customer feedback to fix their problems and follow up to let them know what steps you’ve taken.

The value of actionable feedback

The problem with annual or quarterly surveys, is that it’s often too late to fix the problems of customers in a satisfactory way, and your advocates have likely forgotten about their experience.

Relevant feedback will constantly keep you in touch with what you’re well at and what areas could be improved.

Not only can you make lasting changes to your business to improve customer experience, but you’ll have the chance to intercept a problem and fix before you lose a customer.

In fact, customers who first experience a problem which you’re able to fix are more likely to become outspoken advocates for your business, passing on recommendations to friends and colleagues.

They’re also more likely to remain loyal and spend more than customers who never experience a problem.

Create a company culture whereby members of your team who go above and beyond to delight a customer are visibly rewarded as a result.

Manage and measure

There’s little value to be gained from hiding away customer feedback in a long forgotten folder inside My Documents where no-one will ever see it or gain valuable insights.

Instead, it’s far better to keep it somewhere that’s easy to access, can be mined for important trend info and spot places to improve.

Being able to track a snapshot of how your company is performing through your customers’ eyes can be invaluable.

Take a look at Michael Falcon’s excellent article on Influencing Your Boss to Adopt Net Promoter Score for more info about the kinds of insights satisfaction metrics can produce.

The metrics you choose to track should provide you with a way to track progress as you implement customer satisfaction measures, indicate common problems and chart the speed at which your team are dealing with problems.

Chance to communicate

Gathering timely feedback provides you with a rare opportunity to open up a dialogue with your customers, and with that the chance to develop rapport.

Update customers on actions you plan to take or have taken to fix the problem they encountered. Thank them for taking the time to provide feedback.

At this point you might be thinking that this sounds like a huge amount of effort. In fact it’s never been easier to implement smart solutions to reduce the time cost and maximise your returns.

To give you an example, Ledgerscope, a company that produces software for accountants, took the step of implementing a solution to actively increase customer satisfaction.

They’ve easily integrated their interactions into their work flow and have found that customers really appreciate that they take the time to ask for their thoughts.

Because they follow up on feedback to fix problems, they’re ranked 9.7/10 by customers – take a look at their impressive complaint handling on their reviews page.

Imagine if your company could promote and use this kind of social proof too. How many more customers would you win? And how many more customers would you retain?

It’s entirely possible to replicate these results by following the advice outlined above. Customer satisfaction is absolutely essential to business growth, revenue and sales – and can help you build a more profitable and sustainable business.

What to do next

Think your company could be doing more to capitalise on customer feedback? Take action to change that today. Try out customer feedback software – there’s usually a no-risk free version to try first.

Got a question or a suggestion about maximising the value of customer feedback? Write a comment below!