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 reviews on Yelp, Google+, TripAdvisor and other websites are the most public of all the reviews. They are often current, specific, and designed to appeal to the discerning eye of your next prospective client. Sometimes, positive reviews on these websites can lead to a surge in business. Other times, a few negative reviews can give you a poor reputation online (whether warranted or not).
The most important thing you can do is to join the conversation. Log on, ensure your company information is correct (address, website, photo, etc.) and dive into the reviews. Respond to both negative and positive reviews. Thank those that continue to patronize your business. As for those that have had less than favorable experiences with your business, ask them to send you an email so that you can get more details, and “make it right.” By monitoring the various review sites, you show your customers that you care about their feedback – both good and bad.
Oh, and don’t forget to ask your regular/loyal customers for reviews on these sites! We’re sure they’d be happy to write you a glowing (and accurate!) review.
Ask for Feedback
Instead of waiting for reviews, why not email or schedule a phone call with your most valued customers (your “regulars,” the highest spenders, or VIPs) and ask for their feedback. Actively asking for their feedback shows that you value their opinion, and can help you strengthen your relationship with your customers. Plus, we bet you’ll get some good tips to make your business better!
Before asking for feedback, you need to know what to ask! Take a step back and look at the different components that make up an experience at your retail shop, restaurant or other small business. These components could include:
- Customer service
- Service or menu offerings
- Knowledge and helpfulness of staff
As you are asking your most valued customers for this information, you should be ready to take this feedback to heart. Chances are, these folks enjoy patronizing your business, and want you to succeed – so, hearing what they have to say (and doing something about it) is a win-win!
If you’re interested in more, we have an entire Course dedicated to Customer Experience.