For­get the meal, how was your steak?

OP­TI­MIS­ING FEED­BACK IS VI­TAL IF YOU WANT TO BE A TRULY CUS­TOMER- CEN­TRIC BUSI­NESS. BUT JUST ASK­ING FOR FEED­BACK ISN’T ENOUGH, SAYS MAT WYLIE.

NZ Business - - CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE -

HAVE YOU EVER

gone into a store and wished you could give feed­back, but just find it’s too hard? Giv­ing feed­back in per­son seems a bit daunt­ing; other­wise you have to find the store on so­cial me­dia, call them up, or an­swer a long sur­vey that seems to ask the same ques­tions in slightly dif­fer­ent ways. All of which are in­con­ve­nient and take too much time (un­less you RE­ALLY have some­thing you want to get off your chest).

So why do we make it so hard for our cus­tomers to give feed­back? And how could we be mak­ing it eas­ier?

PAY AT­TEN­TION TO AT­TEN­TION SPANS

We all know how our abil­ity to fo­cus has re­duced in mod­ern times, thanks largely to the on­slaught of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. Ap­par­ently we now have a shorter at­ten­tion span than gold­fish! There­fore it makes sense that if you’re want­ing some­thing from your cus­tomers, you should be aim­ing to get it from them in the short­est time pos­si­ble. If you make some­one take a 20-minute sur­vey when you know how busy peo­ple are, it can show a cer­tain lack of aware­ness of how cus­tomers pre­fer to in­ter­act. Not to men­tion, it can be pretty tire­some for the per­son you’re in­ter­ro­gat­ing!

If, in­stead, you were to ask one ques­tion that can be an­swered in a va­ri­ety of ways and starts con­ver­sa­tion, you’re open­ing the door to more hon­est feed­back with­out get­ting in your cus­tomer's way.

Let’s look at an ex­am­ple we all ex­pe­ri­ence reg­u­larly – a waiter at a restau­rant doesn’t come and ask if your steak was cooked to your lik­ing, or how the sauce tasted, or whether the pota­toes were crunchy enough. In­stead, they ask an ope­nended ques­tion about how you’re find­ing the meal. That gives you the op­por­tu­nity to let them know whether or not you’re en­joy­ing your meal, with­out hav­ing to spend a long time talking to them (es­pe­cially when all you re­ally want to do is eat).

KEEP IT OPEN

We are in­flu­enced by a num­ber of fac­tors in our en­vi­ron­ment; of­ten we don’t know quite why we make a de­ci­sion or be­have in a cer­tain way. As such, we of­ten need open ques­tions that probe us to want to ex­plain why we think some­thing, as op­posed to just ad­ding a tick in a box.

With the right probe, peo­ple are more likely to open up. For ex­am­ple, ask­ing ‘did you en­joy your ex­pe­ri­ence?’ may so­licit a ‘ yes’ or ‘no’ re­sponse, but open­ing it up and ask­ing ‘how could we make your ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter?’ is likely to cre­ate more of a con­ver­sa­tion and help cus­tomers feel like they’re be­ing lis­tened to.

IM­PROVE YOUR RESPONSIVENESS

How awk­ward is it when some­one asks you to do some­thing and it never seems to go any­where? That’s of­ten what hap­pens with mar­ket re­search. A com­pany sends through a long ques­tion­naire and half the time it’s ques­tion­able whether the an­swers have been read.

By util­is­ing real-time cus­tomer feed­back soft­ware, busi­nesses can in­stead re­ceive in­stant, ac­tion­able feed­back. This can en­able you to re­spond faster to your cus­tomers and ac­tu­ally do some­thing with the feed­back. You can con­tact the cus­tomer while it is fresh in their minds and see if there is any­thing you can do to make their ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter – be­fore they have a chance to tell oth­ers about their neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence.

It helps them feel val­ued, looked after, and like their feed­back ac­tu­ally meant some­thing.

To be truly cus­tomer-cen­tric, just ask­ing for feed­back isn’t enough. Be­ing cus­tomer driven means fo­cus­ing on con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment – some­thing that is only pos­si­ble if you are con­sis­tently seek­ing out val­i­dated and in­stant feed­back.

You’re giv­ing your cus­tomers a bet­ter way of shar­ing how they found their ex­pe­ri­ence, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously mea­sur­ing your com­pany and staff’s per­for­mance.

The re­sult? Hap­pier cus­tomers and feed­back you can re­ally use.

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