Business today is not the way business has always been. Depending on what industry you’re in, chances are some of your competitors are cheaper. Or they might have a store physically closer to a customer looking for your service. Or their online product range trumps yours. On top of whatever challenge you face in business, customer expectations are expecting more and more, and you have to work harder and harder to win them over.
Simple methodology you can use to give yourself an edge with your customers is to continually Ask, Act and Improve. Here’s why:
Ask – and gather more customer feedback, faster
Every business need smart, insightful data to base their decisions around. You can start to gather data insights by asking your staff, your accountant, people on the street, heck, you can even find a clairvoyant to look into a crystal ball and tell you what your business needs to win customers over. But the best place to start would be by asking your customers, wouldn’t you think? What bothers them, what they like, how was their shopping experience - all of the things that matter to a customer who deals with you.
Make it convenient and easy for the customers to give you feedback. No one has either the time or the patience to fill out long surveys. Everyone is busy and their time precious, so keep the method you use for collecting data brief. Additionally, do not charge your customers or require them to perform any additional actions to provide their feedback to you. For example, do not give your customers a survey form to take away and mail in to you. Chances are slim that you’ll ever see your feedback again.
Carefully chose a channel that suits your customers best - be it email, text message, web page, free wifi or even printed on their receipt and enable them to easily send you what you need to know at a great response rate.
Aside from the way your customers provide feedback, make the required questions brief also. Many companies have adopted the Net Promoter Score method. The NPS method asks for two questions only - how likely your customers are to recommend you and why. This simple ASK method can reveal things that customers think about your business that you may not even be aware of. For instance, When one major national retailer asked their customers this, they found out that their customer service fell greatly during peak hours. This was due to all service staff being asked to attend checkouts, leaving the retail floor devoid of service staff. This gave management an insight they weren’t fully aware of and also gave them a solid, actionable insight directly from their customers.
Ask your customers for feedback, make it easy for them and you’ll never look back.
Act – on issues immediately, keep more customers
Surprise and delight your customers by acting on their feedback.
Do that by collecting your customer satisfaction data in real time and reacting to it, also in real time. If your feedback takes weeks to get to the decision makers, it’s ineffective. Choose a method or tool which will enable to do this easily. Whatever tool you use, make sure that the data is live, accessible through a friendly dashboard and that you can respond to feedback as soon as it appears. This will empower the right people in your business to resolve issues before they escalate onto social media or your customer walking away forever. For any business that considers itself to be customer centric, it has to be directly connected to it’s customer feedback and champion it by responding quickly and efficiently.
Imagine yourself having a terrible experience at a store. The staff were not at all friendly and you left frustrated and angry. What are you likely to do next? Vent on Facebook? Complain to your friends and family? Just go to a rival store from now on?
Now picture that you’ve gone to the same store and had the same experience but this time you are prompted for feedback which sends a direct alert to the store manager. The manager now has the visibility over your poor experience and calls you to apologise and remedy the issue, giving you a complimentary voucher before you’ve gone home. You have had the chance to get over the experience in a positive way and the store manager has avoided negative publicity. The outcome seems a lot more positive now, doesn’t it?
Improve – and grow with benchmarking and reports
Astute, sustainable growth is just around the corner!
Your business can action ongoing improvements by using insightful benchmark data by knowing how you are tracking. Smart feedback data allows you to compare to your industry peers and compare between locations and different regions. Gathering data over months and years enables you to track your customer satisfaction over time, as an effect of changes you’ve put in place informed by your customer feedback. In other terms - you can measure the effectiveness of your initiatives in actual NPS numbers. Ultimately, being customer-centric means putting the needs of your customer at the centre of everything you do. And that means to Ask, Act and Improve. Visit Customer Radar to find out more about Ask/Act/Improve, NPS or Voice of Customer!