What do your customers hate about doing business with your company? Have you ever asked them? I know it sounds bold but it’s an incredibly important question - perhaps the most important one if you want to grow your business. After all, how can you fix a problem if you don’t know it exists. That’s why, although it’s frightening to open yourself up to that type of feedback, negative feedback is of greater value than a glowing testimonial. It exposes concerns you may not be aware of, presenting opportunities to improve your business.
Won’t they just tell us?
One way or another, your customers will tell you they aren’t happy. Unfortunately, they usually do so by taking their business elsewhere and often after allowing time for you to recognize and address what frustrates them. Being proactive and asking, rather than waiting to receive a call from frustrated customers is a much more constructive way to resolve those concerns - for both you and your customers.
Here are four reasons to ask for negative constructive feedback
1. Understanding Your Value
As a business owner you have your own idea of the value you offer your customers, but your perceived value and the value the customer actually receives may not be aligned. For example you might think that you are a leader in shipping times and therefore that is your competitive edge but your customers might be receiving frequent order errors. That would mean that the speed of shipping might be actually be causing more issues than it would be if more time was taken during the fulfilment process. Speaking directly with your customers will ensure you promote the elements of your business your customers value the most.
2. Prioritize Improvements
In any growing business, there is always a long list of improvement to be made, from product assessments to a new billing systems. How do you know what improvements should be made first? By receiving feedback from your customer you’re able to assess what issues are most negatively impacting their experience. If you have twenty complaints about incorrect billing and only 2 about product selection, your billing system is a high priority. This ensures that you are always investing in improvements that have the largest impact and therefore have the greatest ROI.
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3. Increased Customer Retention
When you ask your customer what they don’t like about transacting with your business, you’re demonstrating to them that you care and value them. By listening to their feedback you are making your customers feel heard which can increase retention and loyalty.
4. Monitoring Customer Satisfaction Over Time
By asking for and documenting customer feedback year over year, you as a business owner can assess how your customer's satisfaction changes over time. This allows you to assess the success of efforts made in service or operations. When the input is documented, it also allows you to follow up with each customer and ensure that their frustrations were addressed and their experience has improved.
Understanding the weakness of an organisation is crucial to the growth and success of any business. When was the last time you asked your customers what they didn’t like about transacting with your company? If you can’t remember, it’s time to ask that tough question. That feedback might make a world of difference in your business plan.