September 29, 2011

Getting Customer Feedback: Listen To Your Customers!

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Getting Customer Feedback

Nowadays, many entrepreneurs think that they already have the best for their customers and potential clientele. Most business owners treat their customers just like children who don’t have the slightest idea of what is best for them. Business leaders don’t tend to listen to their customers (since many companies don’t like to see or hear anything that is negative from them). Unfortunately, this can’t be good for struggling businesses or even those who are already flourishing in the pedestals of the business arena. Getting customer feedback is an essential element of any successful business. It is also particularly very crucial for those companies who are striving their way up the “ladder of entrepreneurial greatness” just to have their niche in the industry they have chosen.

How important is getting feedback from customers? Are there benefits in acquiring client feedback even if some comments are negative? What are the ways in which entrepreneurs obtain customer feedback? How much will entrepreneurs pay just to find out and record what their customer has to say about their products and services? This post will answer all of these questions and more. It is my aim to let you realize the win-win scenario that gathering Customer Feedback can give to both the business owner and customer.

Customer Feedback: Its Importance

Positive or negative- it is best to get it straight from the horse’s mouth (namely, your clients and customers). For those struggling businesses, listening to your customers and acting on the feedback they provide you is one of the most effective steps who can turn your business into a successful one. And for those who are already successful, it is not bad to get more boosts from the feedback your clients give you.

The way you think and sense what your customers feel about your products and services may not always be similar to what they are really feeling and thinking about your products and services. What you think is best for your customers may not be good enough for them or (worse) may not be the particular thing they need and want. This is the reason why you need to hear out and consider your customers own perspective on what works for them and what don’t really serve them any purpose.

However, too many entrepreneurs have to live in “ignorant bliss” which is an alternate reality wherein customers’ voice are not heard and given significance. Business owners tend to escape the true reality about their products and services. Yes, sometimes customer feedback can be painful because the truth really stings!!! The truth may hurt, but then again, it is manageable and can lead to possibilities of improvement and change.

Getting Customer Feedback: The Benefits

Regardless of what industry you are in, getting inputs from your customers can be very critical not only operating your business schemes, but also in your organization or company in general. Your customers, like staff/employees, are the lifeline of your business. Customers keep your business operational and well, they ultimately are responsible for your paycheck.

If a customer feels that a business cares about him and what he thinks, he will more likely be a loyal customer. When you make modifications to your products and services or in your organization in general based on customer feedback, it shows that you truly listen to your customers and respects their own views. By listening to your customers, you will be able to tailor-fit your products and services to better meet their demands. At the end of the day, this will lead you to greater success and for your customers, their ultimate satisfaction.

Here are some of the perks if you get customer feedback.

  • Honest Opinion. Who can give you honest judgment about your products and services that those people who are familiar with them and who are actually utilizing them. These feedbacks can be your ticket to going into the minds of your most important critics- your customers. Their straight and frank opinions can steer your business to the right and positive direction. Customers will appreciate it very much when they know that they have the avenue to tell you how they want to be treated, what you are doing right, and what you need to improve.
  • Cost-effective Business Advice. Although businesses sometimes need to hire someone to come in and tell them what needs to be improve in order to gain more customers, you can also utilize your customers’ feedback as inexpensive business advice. Nothing can replace getting advice directly from the source- not that costly but very effective!!
  • Strengthens Brand Reputation and Uncovers Flaws. The experience of your customers with you and your products can determine your brand strength and the growth of you business. However, there are times when entrepreneurs don’t now how to handle, interpret, interact, and respond to client feedback (especially when customers share their frustrations, disappointments, and criticisms). Even though the feedback is negative, you can take this as an opportunity to explore what needs to be changed and improved. Through this, you can remove any barrier that hinders your brand to be recognized as an authority in the industry you are in.
  • Gain More Customers. When you are willing to receive feedback from your customers and listen to them, they will probably tell others who can be your potential customers. You will have the chance to increase your buying audience. By word of mouth, people will know more about your business and will be willing to know more of your business. They will probably give you a shot based on the merits you earn in your commitment to provide valuable and dedicated customer service.
  • Improves Relationship. Gathering customer feedback can develop and enhance your communication with your clients.

The truth may hurt, but you still need to hear it. There are entrepreneurs that are blinded by the grandeur of their business and their accomplishments that they fail to see problems. Through your customer feedback, you can discover many things that may have hindered your climb to success. You need to have this as an ongoing part of your business if you mean to grow with your clients and remain in business.

Ways to Get Feedback from Your Customers

As we have established the significance of listening to your customers, you should now be planning on how to get their feedback. There are quite a number of methods or venue where customers can express their opinions, convey their needs, and share their concerns with your business.

Common ways includes suggestion boxes, feedback forms, focus groups, and surveys. Suggestion boxes are good for businesses where customers can visit your establishment or office. If you are a service provider, you can make use of feedback forms. It is best since you can mail them to your customers or delivered together with the invoice after the completion of the job. The form can contain questions that prompting customers to certain information you need. Focus groups are made out of customers that discuss your products. Usually these groups are formed in new product launches, but it can still be beneficial on existing products and services as well. Surveys can be done via electronic mail, snail mail, or phone. Effective questionnaires can be categorized under survey. You can consider the answers of your customers and the trends.

Your website can also be a perfect venue for you to gain valuable customer feedback. Ask your website designer or web developer to add an area in your website where your costumers can leave comments, reviews, and suggestions. Customer feedback and survey software tools are available for you to avail of. There a wide variety you can choose from, depending on the fee range and the features it offers.

The cost of gathering feedback should not be very expensively. Common forms of accepting feedback can be done without any expense or with minimal costs. However, if you need to make use of software or applications, you need to have budget for it.

Start Listening Today

Why do many entrepreneurs not want to get feedback from their customers? Not because they don’t want to, they are only afraid of what they will read or hear. Instinctively, these entrepreneurs know that gathering feedback is important. Yet, many entrepreneurs either do not know how to collect the data, the aren’t sure what to do with the data, or are worried with what they will find.  If you are holding back from gathering feedback from your customers, what is holding you back?  Gathering feedback is not only essential for growth and creation of a successful business, but is also significant in leading to greater productivity and motivation.

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Jeremy Oms

Jeremy is an entrepreneur and leading manager of New Blood, Inc. Excited about all things Internet related, Jeremy spends much of his time project managing custom web applications and directing advanced search engine optimization efforts.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hi, I absolutely love the article. I am a big advocate of online surveys myself. The benefits they get are endless. I use SoGoSurvey for my business.

    Comment by Emily Woods — April 21, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

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