Today, there are so many forums for small businesses to receive customer feedback. From social media, to online review sites, to email and in-person conversations – it’s almost hard to avoid reading reviews of your product or service. Sometimes they’re what you want to hear, sometimes they’re not. But regardless of the reviews, they are usually valid and worth examining within the grand scheme of your business.
Why is customer feedback so important? Above all else, customer feedback helps you figure out what is important to your customers. And when you figure out a way to combine what you want for your business and what your customers want for themselves, you’ve got a recipe for success. Below, we outline several ways to garner and receive customer feedback, and how to respond and manage that feedback.
Note: If you take every piece of customer feedback to heart and try to please everybody, you’ll probably drive yourself crazy and end up pleasing nobody. Take every piece of feedback with a grain of salt, and suss out what’s really important to your regular customers.
Customer Comment Cards
Customer comment cards are a low-maintenance way to gather feedback from customers. They’re often included along with your receipt from dinner, or next to the check-out at your favorite spa. Do you ever fill them out? Ever wonder what happens to that card? Does anybody do anything with your suggestions, or do they just disappear into the void?
While relatively passive, the cards can offer a general glimpse into how your business is operating. If most customers check “satisfied” for all items on the comment card, you can assume you are doing ok. But, is “ok” really what you’re striving for?
If you can, update how your business receives feedback. If a customer books an appointment or reservation online, email them after they come in to see how their experience was. Or, offer the feedback “survey” online and include the link on their receipt.
By allowing customers a little more time to fill out the survey or questionnaire (at home vs. while rushing to leave the restaurant), you can often garner more valuable feedback. If they provide their email address or phone number on the questionnaire, take the time to contact them and thank them for their feedback.
See the Customer Experience Guide for the comprehensive approach to this topic.