A Chinese philosopher once said, “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” You might also have heard that action speaks louder than words. In the realm of customer satisfaction both of these quotes hold sway. I was reminded of this as I was going through past posts and came across a piece by Dana Vaille of Chadwick Martin Bailey which touched in on the nature of customer feedback.
Ms. Vaille was expressing her discontent about a recent purchase she had made. The item she purchased did not meet her expectations for length of use and this led to a state of discontent. She took time out of her day to provide honest feedback to the company, not with an expectation of redress, but from a place of genuine concern. What the company did with this customer’s inputs is the moral of today’s story.
When customer feedback is received many companies and organizations seem grateful, but they do not always have a process in place to act upon that feedback. For a company not to have a well-executed process for incorporating customer feedback is out of step with the times. The company in question not only responded to Ms. Vaille’s comments, they thanked her, informed her that because of such feedback they were switching manufacturers, and lastly offered to replace her item when the new and improved product became available.
This is about taking the lemons and making the best lemonade possible.
The key point – it is an absolute necessity to invest the time developing a process that closes the circle with the customer. This will not only improve customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand, it can also provide a clear competitive advantage. If a customer uses his or her time to inform you of a good experience or a bad one, be polite and thank them for the opportunity to improve.
An easy way to obtain this type of feedback in a structured manner is to incorporate a follow-up item whenever you employ a Net Promoter Score question. The follow-up should be worded appropriately for the response to the NPS question (e.g. what can be improved for detractors, what can be done to increase your score to a 9 or 10 for passives, and what are we doing right for promoters).
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