Customer Feedback: The Trick to Responding
Posted by Resource Nation on December 13, 2013 in Marketing [ 2 Comments ]
The introduction of the Internet has created something of another world online. Customers can now rent movies, buy groceries or do any number of other things formerly reserved for in-store shopping. if there’s a demand for it, it’s a safe bet it can be found on the Web. And with increased accessibility, consumers can now provide feedback on products or services just as quickly as they can purchase them.
From an organization’s perspective, the insight gained from the influx of customer input is a business opportunity incalculably valuable to product development and marketing efforts. The concern, however, is once you receive feedback from a consumer, do you respond? And if “yes,” who should take the reigns and how?
First and foremost, businesses should openly encourage customers to provide feedback. Companies that regularly work to engage customers will, over time, see increases to their page views and visitors. As more customers come, more will make purchases and, in turn, supply companies with even more valuable insight.
Rely on your vanguard
Responding to a piece of customer feedback, especially if it’s particularly negative, will require a fair amount of finesse. In this respect, you should rely on employees who already boast relationships with customers, whether it is online or in person. This frontline of employees can help you respond to customer comments and complaints on any number of platforms, like social media and email. One rather compelling example of a successful response effort comes from Best Western. The popular hotel chain regularly monitors reviews about its service on TripAdvisor and responds to more than one-third of customers.
It’s not personal
Customers don’t often look at a company as a collection of individuals working together with a common set of goals. They are more likely to see a business as simply that, a business. When responding to feedback, it’s important employees handling the correspondence don’t adopt a personal tone. Companies should strive to be timely, courteous, and above all, professional. Take Seamless, for example. A growing online food ordering service, Seamless monitors their various social accounts around the clock and respond to customers quickly, providing not only reassurance but taking steps to work with customers to correct any issues.
Because of the ease of use, customer feedback more regularly comes from social media outlets, like Twitter and Facebook. These platforms are designed for brevity. Trying to engage customers in lengthy, detailed conversations about past products or services is a great way to lose their interest, as well as the engagement of any prospective customers who might be reading. Keep responses short and clear. Don’t leave too much room for interpretation.
Responding to customer feedback is one thing, but unless a business acts on it, answering a customer is merely a band aid. As feedback accumulates, companies will begin to see trends in what people are saying, common successes and mistakes. When feedback is negative, organizations should take those remarks seriously and implement strategies to address popular concerns. Showing customers you’re willing to make changes based on their suggestions is a great way to engage customers and keep them coming back.
As an individual, self-promotion sounds egotistical. As a business, self-promotion is a way of life. Once you address a specific concern, you should advertise what you’ve done. Not all customers are diligent enough to see the solution for themselves. What’s more, if a client had a particularly bad experience, try to follow up and, possibly, compensate them for their troubles. This could be something as simple as a discount or free shipping on his or her next order.
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