CAREER ADVANCEMENT / NOV. 01, 2014
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How to Enhance Your Business Using Customer Feedback

You devoted a lot of time, energy and money into building your business. And even if your business gets off on a good foot, continuing this success requires work. Be honest, how many times have you seen a business take off and earn a lot of money in its early years, only to experience a downfall a few years later. No company is invincible to shutdowns. Therefore, it’s important that you’re constantly enhancing your business model — and to do this, you need to listen to customer feedback.

Getting feedback from your customers is important to longevity. Customers are the life and soul of your business, and by means of feedback, you can understand their needs and give them what they want

1. Make It Easy for Customers to Leave Feedback

Customers might be willing to leave feedback, but only if you make the process simple. There are several ways to receive feedback. For example, some restaurants include instructions for a telephone survey on the back of receipts. This method is also effective if you’re trying to get feedback for your retail store. If you have a website, you can include a link to a customer survey. Keep surveys and questionnaires short and to the point – respect your customers’ time.

2. Be Specific with Your Questionnaires or Surveys

When asking customers for feedback, don’t only ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. These questions doesn’t really get to the heart of what’s on your their minds. You can incorporate these questions, but also ask customers to explain their answers. Additionally, your questions should be very specific. You might ask customers to explain what they like or dislike about a specific product or area of service. Also, you can ask customers for tips on how to improve your business. This information helps you discern issues with your company or product that you have considered.

3. Update Your Product or Services

Once you gather customer feedback, you need to meet with co-owners, managers and product developers to discuss ways to improve your products or services. Remember, if you can’t give customers what they want or need, they’ll look elsewhere. For example, if you have a small family-owned retail store and you close earlier than other retailers, customer surveys may reveal that the vast majority of your clients want the establishment open for longer hours during the week or on the weekends. Or surveys may reveal that your customers want better promotions and offers; or maybe they feel your product selection is too limited. Once you recognize areas that need improving, you can work with your team to fill these needs and maintain customer satisfaction.

4. Improve Your Team

Then again, maybe the problem isn’t with your services or products, but rather your team. With customer surveys and questionnaires, you should ask questions related to customer service. Do customers feel that your team is attentive and helpful? If not, have them explain or give examples. Never underestimate the value of good customer service. Sometimes, this is what keeps customers coming back for more. To improve customer service, you can offer training sessions on customer service, or provide additional training to help your staff better understand different roles in the company. And if need be, replace some of your staff. You can’t watch your people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But customer feedback can help you learn whether your workers are giving 100%.

5. Keep Customers Up-to-Date

It’s important to have a social media page for your company – whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or another platform. Encourage customers to connect with you through social media. After gathering feedback from customers, keep them up-to-date on upcoming changes via social media. Here, you can acknowledge their concerns and briefly explain any plans to improve your business model and ultimately give them everything they want and need.

Bottom Line

It’s importance to periodically review and enhance your company. By means of customer feedback, you can glimpse your business through your customers’ eyes and make needed changes.

Image Credit:  Flickr via Jason Garber

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