Customer feedback isn’t a new idea. With the explosion of social media there are many ways that a client can give feedback on how they experience your brand, business or product. Whether it’s about voicing their concerns, championing your product or flat out complaining, customer feedback is a modern day democracy that you need to be on the right side of. So what are you doing to engage with this dynamic and are you using customer feedback to build relationships, drive performance and strengthen your business from the inside out?

Why is customer feedback so important?

Customer feedback is a like a guiding resource that when analysed correctly, can be a yard stick for growing your business. The only way to understand what you are or aren’t getting right is by checking in with the people engaging with your offering. Whether good or bad, feedback can be a useful guide to help you adjust to customer experience. It also ensures you consistently keep your customer at the heart of everything you are doing.

What should you do when you receive customer feedback?

1. Act immediately

Although this may seem obvious, often companies don’t react immediately to customer feedback. But there really needs to be a discipline instilled here, whether feedback is given online or in person. The best way to effectively and timeously respond, is by empowering your staff to be able to react to concerns and queries in real time, without having to escalate it up the ladder.

2. Reduce customer effort

If your customer has a concern, it should not be their problem to solve. Rather the business needs to take it on and come back to the customer with solutions. This comes down to the fine art of listening and observing, then creating working solutions to resolve issues. By understanding their various pain points you can then resolve the issue and add value to the customer’s experience.

3. Use feedback to innovate

This simply comes down to using the feedback, ideas and concerns received to adapt your product or service. Since your customers are the ones using your products, their feedback matters. This can be a powerful way to understand your market and tweak your product to meet their needs in a more meaningful way.

4. Spot gaps in the market

Sometimes the feedback received is not about problems with your product, but rather lies in helping you identify needs that are not being met generally. This can alert you to an important gap in the market beyond what you are already offering. Providing greater potential to increase market share and meet even more customer needs down the line.

5. Take an emotional approach

It is very important to identify the emotional tone your customers are conveying when they discuss your product or service. Next you need to understand if this matches the experience you were hoping for. If it isn’t, you need to ask yourself if you are able to close the gap on that original target. This is vital because when a customer is emotional it builds loyalty meaning that the connection to your business is more than practical, it’s emotional too.

The bottom line

Customer feedback is a given in today’s market, and so as a proactive business owner you need to have a clear approach on how and when to use this feedback to grow your business. This often comes down to mindset and then empowering your staff to be able to act on it in real time. Taking a proactive approach to collecting customer feedback ensures you never stray too far from the needs of your community, even as those needs evolve. This will not only help you spot gaps in the market, but will also help you secure relationships with existing clients by fulfilling their needs, anticipating their concerns, making them feel heard and solving their problems.

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