One of the primary questions I ask when working with a new client is:
“What is the most common piece of constructive feedback you receive?”
More often than not the response I receive is: “Our customers don’t really give us constructive feedback.” Which tells me two things – they don’t intentionally solicit the feedback, and they may think this non-response is a good sign. Here is where I offer a different frame of thought, as this question is important and revealing.
Most of us know the adage “assume makes an a$$ out of you and me.” Don’t assume that no feedback is good feedback. This requires you to wonder or hope you are doing a good job. Your customers probably have some strong and useful thoughts about how you serve them. Remove the guess work about your business’ performance and straight out ask!
Intentionally soliciting customer feedback provides you with insight as to where you can improve the customer experience. You present yourself a great opportunity when you proactively reach out to your customers for their thoughts on your business. Not only would you have the opportunity to harness a bunch more brain power for good ideas, you are also making it known that you value the opinion of your customers. As you use their feedback to improve, they feel recognized and appreciated which is how you promote long term customer relationships (and stellar referral sources).
Customer feedback helps to focus your growth goals. There can be what seems a never-ending list of possible goals to strive for when running a business. Take advantage of the feedback from your customers to help set priorities and take a tiny bit of the strategic thinking off your plate.
Here’s how to go about asking for feedback:
- First, you should ask for feedback anonymously. This allows your customers to be honest with you, without fear of retribution. Or fear of hurting your feelings because most people don’t actually want to do that.
- Ask for both general feedback OR explicit questions. Let your quarterly goals at the time lead your questions. This immediately gives their responses a purpose, which quickly leads to action.
- Using the word “feedback,” rather than “criticism” or “complaint,” allows the customer to be more open to providing both positive and constructive responses.
Beginning this process opens a business up to vulnerability. But I want you to put your confidence pants on and add “proactively asking for customer feedback” to your priorities in Q2.
As a special note: Our country (and the world) continues to navigate unique circumstances with COVID-19. This presents a timely opportunity to solicit that customer feedback. As the pandemic hit in 2020 businesses had to rapidly change, and have continued to do so over the last year. Think about all those changes you made and ask for your customer’s perspective on what you did well and what was less than successful. This will help give you some direction in how you will move forward.