How to Utilize Customer Feedback for Your Small Business
Thu, 11/15/2012 - 3:00pm | by Guest Contributor
One of the most challenging and important aspects of running a small business is having strong customer service. Of course finances are important, as well as generating capital, marketing, and dozens of other things--but without a loyal customer base, your business has very little hope of success. Customers come back to companies that treat them like more than just a number, so excellent customer service is one of the best ways to build repeat business and ensure healthy growth over the years. Start making use of your customer feedback to optimize your business and give the people exactly what they want.
Examining customer feedback will help you to pinpoint problem areas in your business. Take your customer feedback seriously and it will be a great asset to you. Gather all of your feedback forms in one area, whether it's a filing cabinet or a dedicated folder on your computer, and check them periodically. It is highly likely that you'll begin to notice patterns after a short while. Many of your customers are going to experience the same problems, and these should be addressed. If you find complaints about a particular department, employee, product, or any other aspect of service, work on fixing the problems quickly for the sake of your business and your customers.
While it's great to use your customer feedback to find out what needs improvement, you should also pay attention to what your customers like. Positive feedback can be just as valuable as criticism, but only if you analyze and carefully consider it rather than patting yourself on the back and filing it under F for "Forget". The things your customers like are aspects of your business that should be nurtured and grown. Work to develop your strengths at the same time as guarding your weaknesses and you'll be on track for success.
A fantastic benefit of customer feedback is that it can also allow you to connect directly with your customers. If your customers include email addresses or phone numbers in their feedback forms, reach out to them. Sending a personalized email or making a phone call to discuss their experiences can be a tremendously positive experience. Not only will this help you to get the full story directly from your customers, but it will also improve their image of you and your company. More steady customers are won by competent addressing of service complaints than by any other way. Take some time out of your day to get personal with your clients.
Remember to always give your customers the same great experience with your company, no matter how difficult it may be. You never know when you may be dealing with a career news insider or journalist whose review can make or break your business in the eyes of many people. Customer feedback is very valuable and should not be underestimated. You got into business because you wanted to make a living by fulfilling a need--don't forget this. Always pay attention to the customer's needs.