The Importance of Customer Feedback

Posted by Jim Otto

customerfeedbackCollecting customer feedback is an important way to gauge whether the efforts you are putting into growing your small business are really meeting the needs and expectations of your customers. Following are some different ways that customer feedback might be gained, as well as some helpful tips and useful questions you might want to ask.

Direct Communication with a Customer: One way to collect great feedback from a customer is to speak with them directly either through a phone call, or face-to-face dialogue. However, be sensitive as to when might be the best time to talk with a customer about their experience. For example, at Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids, we will often call parents after hosting one of our birthday party experiences in order to hear their thoughts and suggestions in regards to the event. We'll also seek to communicate with customers directly who might have a complaint, as we want to assure them that their concern is not only heard - but extremely important in helping us become better!  

EMail: Do you email your customers?  If you have a newsletter or other email campaign you will get people who unsubscribe.  Use this as an opportunity to get feedback.  Your email system may allow you to customize your unsubscribe email response - use that to ask questions, or if you have phone information on that customer give them a call.  Never mention the unsubscribe in the phone call, you don't want to make them feel singled out.  But, if you are always calling customers for feedback anyway just include these people in the list of those to reach out to.  You may find that those who unsubscribe still love your business, they are just moving, or clearing out email as they get too much!  Or you may find that something has happened that you need to deal with as an owner.

Surveys: Utilizing a survey to collect customer feedback is a great way to reach out to a much larger base of customers than you might be able to do through direct communication. Some of the ways surveys might be done is through a short questionaire that a customer can fill out at your business and drop into a box, or through an online survey sent to your customer mailing list. Some of the advantages of utilizing surveys is that some of your customers might prefer giving feedback in this manner. However, it can also be a challenge to actually convince customers that filling out a survey is worth their time. As such, offering a small incentive for their help can be a great way to encourage this customer feedback.

Survey Questions: Following are some sample questions that a business owner might want to ask their customers. As with any customer interaction, make sure that you do everything you can to help them feel great about their experience with your business. Thank them for their time in talking with you or filling out the survey, and possibly offer them a coupon for their helpful assistance.

  • What was your primary goal in visiting my business today?
  • Did my business meet your objectives?
  • What could my business have done differently in regards to your experience?
  • Compared to similar services you may have received elsewhere, how does my business compare?

Responding to Feedback: Of course we all love when we receive positive feedback. But what about when we get negative feedback? As a business owner, it's inevitable that you'll receive negative feedback and criticisms leveraged against your business. And while it might be easy to become offended and disheartened by such feedback, consider looking at criticisms as a way to help make your business even better. Most customers just want to be heard!  So when you reach out to someone with negative feedback make sure and really LISTEN to what they have to say!  Thank them for sharing with you!  If they didn't share, you wouldn't know - many times your system may need some tweaking and this can be jump started by this negative feedback.  There will be some negative feedback that may be totally unjustified, but if you evaluate the entire situation there WILL be something there that you can learn from to make improvements in your system.  Whatever the case, be sure to treat customers who provide negative feedback with as much care as you would a positive customer. Assure those customers who are critical that their thoughts matter and that you want to do what you can (within your power) to help make it right. 

The Best Feedback is a Referral:  If you can track your referrals this is a very nice thing to do!  Kindly reward those who refer you.  Most refer you with no expectation of any kind of reward.  But if they get one - a thank you note, a phone call, or an email - they will love you even more!

Are you looking for a franchising opportunity with someone who has your back and works hard to encourage your success? If so, why not check out Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids Franchising? Not only do we love to have FUN, but we also love sharing our many great business tips, free business tools and resources for small businesses so that our franchisees will have the tools to succeed! If you're interested in learning how to become a successful owner of your own franchise business, please click below!

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