We have all heard that customer feedback is a great way for a company to develop strategies to improve their business. It is said that many Fortune 500 companies depend on customer feedback to improve their businesses. For them, as Ken Blanchard asserts, feedback is the healthy breakfast for a profitable and growing business.
But one of the things that holds many small and medium sized companies back from gathering customer feedback is their fear that ‘the ask’ will be viewed as a nuisance to customers. Management may be concerned that ‘the ask’, will take up too much valuable customer time. So we ask the question: Is Gathering Customer Feedback a Nuisance to Customers?
Our experience has been contrary and so on a recent project we asked the question, “is it valuable to you that your Supplier wants to get your feedback on their service?” Here is what the results indicated:
Of the 60 interviews completed, 98% said that “yes, providing feedback was valuable to them”. So why did these people value the opportunity to provide their feedback? Here are some of the common themes and some interesting points.
- More than 35% of customers said that “if it helps my Supplier improve, then it is valuable to me”. Several customers indicated that they depend on customer feedback in their own business and that every company should have a customer feedback program. They asserted that “it is the best way to improve your business”.
- More than 20% of customers said that “it is important for our Supplier to know that they are doing a good job, so this phone call is valuable.” Several customers said, “they don’t find the time to provide feedback in other ways”. Another customer said, “that we always hit our targets because of the way our Supplier performs, so they need to know”.
- On this project, more than 12% of customers said that it was important to have a third party involved in gathering the feedback. One customer said “through a third party is the only way to get an honest opinion from customers.” Several customers said, “that they don’t normally take the time to give feedback but for this Supplier, they would take the time.”
- 11% of customers said that it was good to know that their Supplier was interested in knowing how they are performing. One customer said, “it really shows they are interested and value our relationship”. Another customer said, “it rebuilds my hope in them, it is a good step that they have initiated this.”
- One customer said “it will be good for my Supplier to quantify the value of the business relationship.”
- Several customers shared specific concerns that they wanted addressed and indicated that this is a good way of communicating the issue. On this project, the Owners and key Management were receiving the feedback directly, so the comments were getting directly to “the C-Suite.”
So, is gathering feedback a nuisance to these customers? Absolutely not. Another question may also be, what percentage of the listed customers did you actually interview? Some believe it is only the highly satisfied or highly agitated customers who provide feedback. In this case, we interviewed more than 92% of the customers, so we feel that the supplier, our client, got a good representation of what their customers were thinking.
So we encourage you to bring customer feedback into your company’s improvement program. Many owners and managers don’t realize it but it is a significant ‘thank you’ to customers. And when you implement the suggested changes employee engagement, company morale, customer satisfaction and most importantly profitability will improve. If you are interested in a process that will ensure you get customer feedback from a wide cross section of your business, give us a call (RW please insert link). We continually have customer engagement rates exceeding 90% of the customers we are asked to interview.
So get going! Get customer feedback working for you and grow your profits.