Prominence to Customer Feedback for Profitability

“Customer feedback is the ultimate truth. If you read customer feedback and listen to call center calls, you will really get grounded” – Julia Hartz

There is no doubt that businesses can exist only when the company has a set of loyal and profitable customers. To ensure that customers stay, a company must consistently know how customers feel about the company – and this is possible only through feedback from customers. Giving prominence to customer feedback is essential for the stability and profitability of any company. It is among the top methods for any company to determine its strengths and weaknesses, and keep a ‘finger on the pulse of customers’. Customer feedback when used right can prove to be a highly effective guide for the future strategies, processes, and training programs for the company.

When a company gives prominence to customer feedback, it would show in the overall ‘demeanour and personality’ of the company. A company of repute would do whatever possible to ensure that even negative feedback from customers is used appropriately, and would do anything to retain its reputation and market standing by swiftly addressing the problems of customers. However, many companies make the mistake of responding only to negative feedback – completely ignoring kind words and compliments. Customers that do take the time to provide positive feedback would feel ignored and unappreciated. Giving prominence to customer feedback means paying attention to everything that customers say. Positive comments in fact, are brilliant opportunities for a company to strengthen further the relationship with the customer, while simultaneously enhancing the reputation of the company. It is not easy to gain positive feedback from customers, and hence when it does happen, they must be used to the optimum advantage. Negating or not giving prominence to customer feedback is one of the many fatal mistakes any company can make.

Giving prominence to customer feedback also means not leaving feedback to chance. While customers may post reviews online about a particular product or interaction, for an all-round and comprehensive understanding, companies need to gain feedback proactively. Companies must ensure that they request their customers to post feedback on the company’s website and or social media sites – this forms a large part of actively listening to customers and being humane and empathetic towards their problems. If companies do not know what customers feel and say about them, it would highly unlikely that they would be able to provide customized products and personalized service – which are two of the top reasons for customers to ‘stick’ with a company.

Customer feedback is powerful tool – it depends on a company how well it uses this tool for its benefit. By giving prominence to customer feedback, a company can be sure to enhance customer satisfaction levels, which in turn would increase the profitability of a company leading to sustainable success. Despite these many, obvious, and indispensable benefits, many companies still do not make the effort gaining and using customer feedback – which in fact, should be woven into the customer service strategy of the company.

Prominence to customer feedback can only be given when a company is able to gain it. Customers are not always forthcoming with feedback hence it would make sense for a company to make it easy and feasible for customers to provide feedback. Since it is already quite an effort to provide feedback a company must not make it harder for customers to leave their comments and reviews. Making it easy to give feedback would mean providing easily accessible portions on the company’s website for customers to leave their comments, easy to use feedback forms, discussion forums on social media, providing a link for feedback, and other such easily accessible means to provide feedback. Keep it simple for customers – that should be the premise of customer service in any case.

As mentioned, customers are not inclined to provide feedback unless encouraged and can perceive that providing feedback would help them in any way. It is necessary to display prominence to customer feedback by consistently communicating the same to customers. Placing banners and signs in the real and virtual stores of the company, having a prominent page on the website and social media sites dedicated to feedback, sending a feedback soliciting email post a purchase of a product or service, or even with the delivery of a product. Customers need to know that a company wants and appreciates feedback – they would be more amenable to leaving their comments if they knew.

When attempting to give due prominence to customer feedback, a company must ensure that it is clear to customers that it wants to hear what customers have to say. This means that the company does not only need yes or no answers, and neither would it suffice to say that the customer is happy or dissatisfied. Using the word feedback would mean that customers understand clearly that the company would want them to explain why they are happy or not with the company, what more can the company do for them, and what would keep the customers loyal and profitable. Feedback is a broad term and customers must understand that the company is interested in knowing about all their experiences and interactions with the company. When a company gives prominence to customer feedback, customers know that the company is not simply looking to hear ‘nice’ things about itself, but would also want to understand what customers perceive as its weaknesses, and get their suggestion for improvement. This displays the company’s willingness to improve, and its confidence in its abilities to give customers what they want. Customers tend to trust and stay with such companies a lot longer.

If customers wish to provide feedback without disclosing their identity, they should have that leeway. Some people are more comfortable speaking their mind anonymously, and even if they do leave comments without a name, a company can still respond – the customer would view the response in any case. The most obvious way of giving prominence to customer feedback is by responding – irrespective of whether the feedback is positive or negative, or whether it has the name of the customer or not. A response to customer feedback is one of best ways to show the company’s desire to hear what its customers say about its offerings and service. Many businesses seem to lack this ability – they would either completely ignore the feedback, or get so caught up in trying to resolve the problem that they forget to provide the initial holding response with a thank you and or an apology. By the time, a company is able to get to any kind of resolution customers would already be irate and would probably leave the company believing that their words and feedback mean nothing to the company.

One of the main reasons for giving prominence to customer feedback is that it makes customers feel important, heard, and respected. When customers have such positive feelings with a company, they are more likely to stay with a company for longer, and any business knows how critical it is to retain its customers, especially the loyal and profitable ones. A company would save a whole lot of money by simply acknowledging and putting customer feedback to action.

Research shows that nearly every company spends some amount of resources on gathering customer feedback through different means. However, not all are proficient at giving prominence to customer feedback because they fail at using it to make improvements or even acknowledging the feedback. Where does your company stand with giving prominence to customer feedback?

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