Resolving the Customer Problems Highlighted by Surveys

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“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

Customer feedback is essential for any company, to get a better understanding of what customers need and expect. All companies seem to claim that they do gather such feedback in some way and do so regularly. How many can claim that they actually do something about the customer problems that are highlighted in the feedback surveys? Limited to no improvements in service levels and product quality can be extremely frustrating for customers.

It would seem like the company was ignoring their words and not giving them the needed importance. Providing ‘lip service’ by way of inspiring words in annual reports and mission statements does not suffice in satisfying and resolving customer problems. Companies need to take note of customer problems highlighted in feedback surveys. They can use the insights to make things a lot better and easier for the customers. For companies that are yet to use surveys, you can create surveys using the interactive decision trees tool.

Surveys help companies recognize customers’ problems

Customer surveys are a great way for a company to know and gauge customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels with the offerings and services provided. Customers, through these surveys, put across their most pressing requirements. They expect that companies use ‘interaction’ to communicate with them better and build strong relationships with them.

When companies fail to recognize customer problems and words, the relationship is bound to take a hit – sometimes irreparably. Mature and smart companies manage both praise and criticism equally well. They make every effort to resolve immediate and possibly future customer problems. As a result, they make permanent ‘inroads’ to the heart of customers.

It is such companies that are able to gain customer loyalty, glowing testimonials, and highly effective referrals. In turn, it serves to boost revenue and long-term profits. The idea is to put customer problems before everything else. They do whatever it takes to alleviate them, making the lives of customers easier, and their business a success. It is strange then, that many companies still fail at using customer surveys to satisfy customers by resolving their problems.

Company failure to resolve customer problems

Why do companies fail at resolving customer problems, despite the pointed insights from surveys and other forms of feedback? The problems lie within companies. Their inability to break down silos and align the customer data with their overall business and service strategy. Companies fail to understand the direct connection between their inability to resolve customer problems and the overall company performance. This inability results in incorrect/insufficient diversion of resources towards managing customers and their needs.

Most companies also fail because they have no fixed and formal approach to gaining an understanding of the root causes of customer problems. In turn, it leaves them inefficient at putting in place measures to counter these problems. The lack of team spirit and inter-team support becomes even more apparent as customer problems continue to rise and become more intense. It ultimately leads to a complete breakdown of the company’s systems and processes.

Resolving customer issues

With so many tools and technology, putting in place a structured approach to resolving customer problems highlighted through feedback surveys and other means, should not be hard for a company. We do not mean to imply that every issue or suggestion provided would warrant aligned improvements within the company. There must be a clear purpose and a strong reason for any enhancements and changes. A clear set of objectives and timelines should be provided to the team dedicated to resolving customer problems. The team members should have clearly defined individual targets and goals. They should have a workable set of tools to make a sound analysis of available data.

In addition, the team members must be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills required to counter customer problems and know how to implement the said measures. As any management expert would tell you, no business imperative can be successful without monitoring and measuring its effectiveness. Hence, the team should be equipped with the skills to ensure that their efforts result in alleviating customer problems now and in the future. The good news is that customers are more willing than ever to be part of such a process. They provide insights and make the effort to contribute to the success of the relationship with the company.

Effective customer surveys

The first step to knowing what problems customers face is to put together effective customer surveys. This would mean questions that encourage and allow customers to provide specific and actionable responses, along with number ratings. Many companies make the mistake of using only the rating system to gauge what customers feel about them. We know that if a customer was satisfied with the company at the time of the survey, they are likely to rate the company a 3 or 4, on a scale of 1 to 5. However, this rating would not tell the company why the customer provided such a rating.

What more do they expect? What would keep them with the company and, what factors would drive them away? It is necessary for a company to understand the rationale behind customer ratings. Even if the customers gave the highest ratings. A company must know what it would need to do in order to alleviate customer problems. They should enhance those aspects that customers would want to see more of, be able to replicate all the great experiences with other customers and create situations that would attract many more prospective customers.

Importance of customer feedback

If a company does not seem open to hearing customer problems, customers may stop providing feedback altogether. Now, this could prove to be the beginning of the company’s downfall. A focused approach to resolving the customer’s problems highlighted in customer feedback surveys and other means would help to create a customer, service-centric culture. In turn, it would enhance the trust and confidence customers may have in the company. If surveys are not designed properly, they can skew feedback and undermine the quality of feedback that customers could provide. This could mean that the company is not able to effectively understand and resolve customer problems.

Survey Methods

In order to explicitly understand customer problems and get real and usable information from customers, companies must choose the most appropriate survey methods. Methods that would willingly draw customers out to provide feedback. If a company decides to gather feedback from customers, it must do so in an organized and structured manner.

Business demands must not force it to take rushed decisions on problems faced by customers and other critical aspects. They would lead to bigger problems and lapses. In addition, if collecting feedback does not suffice, taking action and keeping customers informed of these actions and decisions of the company is necessary. This means closing the loop on customer feedback. This is a critical and vital part of resolving customers’ problems based on customer insights.

In Conclusion

The fact is that whether or not a company accepts, there would be problems customers face with regard to some aspects of their relationship with the company. Instead of ignoring or negating customers’ problems, it would be prudent to face and tackle them ‘head on’. Be proactive in finding out what customers need, and do whatever is required to provide all that and more. Get customer feedback through any means possible. Customer surveys are a great way for customers to provide uninhibited and honest feedback about their problems and the company. Are you ready to embrace and resolve your customer’s problems?

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