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4 Surprises when you Implement a Customer Feedback System

Guy Letts

Every company is different of course. But having now seen hundreds of companies set up and run a customer feedback system for the first time there are some remarkably common themes.

It was the same surprises, and the dramatic benefits I was able to achieve when I went through this process when I ran a customer services department, that led me to launch CustomerSure to help other people get the same results.

So for anyone wondering what will happen when you take the plunge, the chances are that this is what you’re likely to find!

1. More good feedback than you were expecting.

Most companies agree that customer feedback is important. Ironically that’s often as far as it goes - paying lip service, rather than doing it. And even those who do collect feedback have a very poor track record of acting it. Or at least that’s often how it feels as a customer. So the very fact that you’re one of the people who cares enough to check how customers feel means that you’re probably already doing a lot of things right. The good feedback is just a reflection that your customers appreciate you and you already stand out from the crowd.

That’s good to know. It’s nice to receive the compliments, everyone feels a boost from the extra motivation and, if you care to, you can use all the great comments as reviews to convince prospective customers to buy from you rather than your competitors.

2. Some bad feedback that you weren’t expecting.

Although it’s never pleasant to receive bad news, the point is that you now have a chance to fix things and keep a customer who may otherwise have left without warning.

It’s so much easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one. The problem is that first you have to know there’s an issue, and it turns out that customers will often just vote with their feet rather than complain. Checking for satisfaction makes it much easier for them to highlight any problems at an early stage, especially if you make it clear they have permission to be honest.

So this surprise, whilst slightly uncomfortable, is also a good thing, because these are the customers who were at risk of leaving but who you thought were safe.

If you choose to display customer feedback on your website then the way you respond to problems is as valuable to potential customers who visit as the good feedback because it tells them what you’re like to do business with. People are realistic and they don’t expect everything to be perfect. In fact if we can only see glowing praise then we tend to trust it less. On the other hand if someone’s posted a problem, and you’ve posted a prompt and professional response, then we see that as a positive. It reassures us that if there’s ever a problem, we too will get a prompt and professional response - which is just what we hope for.

3. You’ll wish you’d set up a customer feedback system sooner.

The business benefits become clear immediately you start to experience the feedback coming in. It becomes a virtuous circle because it helps everyone tune in to what’s important to customers. That means they give even better service and become better at anticipating customers’ needs. Satisfied customers tend to be more loyal, deliver more repeat business and more new customers through personal recommendations.

I know only too well how many pressing demands there are in businesses of all sizes, and how many worthy initiatives there are competing for attention. But I’ve never heard anyone regret a decision to get started with customer feedback. In fact quite the opposite - a very pleasing part of my job is to hear from our customers who are delighted with the results they get.

4. Surprised (and delighted) customers when you respond.

This surprise is different - it’s the surprise that customers feel when they experience a customer feedback system that genuinely benefits them. One that looks like this:

  • A short, fast satisfaction questionnaire that makes it easy for them to give feedback about what they like or what they’d like you to change;</li>
  • Questions about the things that they want you to be good at rather than questions they feel are not relevant;</li>
  • Action taken on the responses so that nobody giving feedback ever feels that they’ve been ignored.</li>

Case studies

To see some of the comments from people who are up and running, take a look at our case studies.

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