4 ways using feedback will help with business improvement

by Tim R @ Procredible

This article looks at how gathering and analysing feedback helps anticipate consumer needs and improve your services. And, highlights four simple steps you can follow to further optimise your business.

In today’s competitive landscape, businesses that prioritise customer satisfaction often stand out more than those that don’t. Amazon for example is often called ‘customer obsessed’, as a big chunk of their business model relies on their customers; from on-click ordering, to personalised product recommendations, Amazon’s model is all about anticipating customer needs. Of course, not every business is as big as Amazon.

So, what can you do to ‘anticipate customer needs’ and improve your services?

One method is through customer feedback. What better way to understand customer needs and expectations than by listening to their feedback?

By actively collecting and analysing feedback and data, businesses can gain valuable insights to optimise their services, build trust, and drive business growth.

This article looks at the 5 ways you can optimise your services by using feedback.

In this Article:

Before you can analyse your customer feedback, let’s first look at where you can get that feedback from.

Where to get feedback

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to gathering feedback. Offer your customers multiple avenues to share their thoughts, making it convenient and accessible for everyone. Here are some effective channels:

Reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, or your own website. These public testimonials offer valuable social proof and help attract new customers.

Surveys: Well-designed surveys allow you to gather deeper insights on specific aspects of your services. Use targeted surveys after key interactions, like purchases or support tickets.

Ratings: Implement star ratings or thumbs-up/thumbs-down systems on your website or app. This provides quick and easy feedback that can be easily analysed.

Comments: Create open-ended comment sections on your website or social media. This allows customers to share detailed feedback and suggestions.

Testimonials: Feature positive customer testimonials prominently on your website or marketing materials. This builds trust and credibility with potential customers.

Social media: Monitor your social media channels for mentions and engage in conversations with customers. This informal feedback can reveal valuable insights.

Phone and in-person interactions: Train your staff to actively solicit feedback during phone calls and in-person interactions. Capture key points in a CRM system or feedback database.

Email: Encourage customers to share their feedback via email. This allows for more detailed and thoughtful responses. The more detail you get the more you can understand areas of improvement.

Remember, the more channels you offer, the more comprehensive your feedback the bigger the picture will be

Why should you analyse customer feedback?

One article explains that ‘Customer feedback analysis plays an important role in helping make customer-centric decisions that improve the customer’s experiences.’ You are trying to sell your services/products to people. So if these people are telling you they don’t like something about your business, it is absolutely crucial that you listen.

Let’s say you sell coffee, and you are promoting a new flavour that is supposed to be sweet and fruity. But when you look at your feedback, someone has mentioned that it tasted bitter.

While you might keep this comment in mind, it’s not necessarily a place for concern just yet – after all, it’s just one negative comment.

But then, 30 more people start telling you this coffee is bitter. At this point, a flag has been raised, and you should take the time to test and improve that product. This won’t only be beneficial for your brand, but will also leave a sweet taste in your customers mouth as you are actively listening and improving your product/services.

Now if you hadn’t improved this product, the drink itself could get a bad reputation and now your brand gives the impression that you simply don’t care. This is why analysing your feedback is so significant.

Step 1: Use Feedback for Capacity Planning.

Feedback isn’t just for improving existing services; it can also help with your future growth strategies.

Businesses can analyse feedback to identify…

Common customer pain points: Identify recurring issues or frustrations mentioned in feedback. This allows you to prioritise improvements that address the most pressing needs.

Resource allocation: Following the previous point, you can use feedback data to determine which services or products require more or less resources. This ensures efficient allocation of your budget!

By looking at your customers’ pain points you can identify different patterns related to areas within your business that need improving. If a lot of your customers complain about the lack of stock on a product, for example, you would be able to plan ahead for the future, and in this instance allocate your resources accordingly.

Step 2: Optimise Performance Based on Feedback.

Feedback can be a powerful tool for optimising your service performance.

Focus on:
Response time: Analyse feedback to identify areas where your response time to customer inquiries or issues is lagging. Implement systems to improve responsiveness and communication.

Availability: Ensure your services are available when customers need them. Use feedback to identify any downtime or accessibility issues and address them proactively.

Scalability: Can your service handle increased demand? Feedback can reveal potential bottlenecks or limitations in your business.

Step 3: Drive Continuous Improvement with Feedback

Feedback is a never-ending journey, not a one-time event. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your services based on feedback data. Look for ways to:

Refine your service offerings: Use feedback to identify features or functionalities that customers value most. You can look at your feedback, whether it’s good or bad to figure out which of your services are resonating with customers.

  • Categorise your feedback into recurring themes related to your customers preferences.
  • Figure out which services are valued the most.
  • Use this as a roadmap to improve and refine your services.
  • Inform your customers of the updates!

Streamline processes: By analysing feedback, businesses can identify patterns related to issues such as slow response times, delayed deliveries, or overwhelmed customer support. If several customers complain about extended wait times for customer support, it signals a potential bottleneck in service responsiveness. Recognising these limitations is one of the first steps in optimising services to handle increased demand.

Step 4: Build Credibility and Trust with Feedback

Responding to feedback effectively shows customers that you care about their experience and are committed to improvement. This builds trust and credibility, leading to:

Increased sales: Responding to feedback and testimonials act as a powerful tool, attracting new customers and boosting sales. This is because it demonstrates that you are actively improving your business, more specifically that you are listening to your clients and doing what you can to ensure they have a good experience.

Make sure that you address any feedback you receive, specifically negative feedback. For example:

‘Paid for next day delivery on the 2nd but didn’t receive our product until the 8th!’

You might respond with:

‘Hi [name],

We apologise for the delay in receiving your order and understand any frustration this may have caused.

To make things right, we’re offering a full refund on the delivery charge. Just send us a DM with your order details, and we’ll sort that out for you.

We’re working on ironing out these kinks to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Thanks for the feedback!

Best,
[business name]’

This simple response demonstrates understanding, prompts action and shows that all feedback is appreciated.

Improved customer retention: Customers who feel heard and valued are more likely to stay loyal to your brand. Granted, if someone leaves a bad review they’re not going to be happy, but if you act on this feedback quickly and address / resolve the issue, they are likely to see this interaction in a positive light assuming the issue was addressed in a good way.

Stronger brand reputation: A proactive approach to feedback demonstrates your commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, enhancing your brand image.

Remember, effectively handling complaints is just as important as addressing positive feedback. Acknowledging customer concerns, apologising for any shortcomings, and taking steps to resolve the issue promptly and fairly will show that your business puts the customer first. This might make you more appealing than going to another business and risking possibly experiencing similar problems anyway, at least with your business they know their issue got resolved effectively.

The Service recovery paradox

This is a simple and somewhat surprising ‘paradox’ for many that aren’t aware of it. The service recovery paradox is the idea that customer satisfaction level, post-service failure and recovery, surpasses the customer satisfaction level achieved at error-free service. In other words, when a customer has a problem that gets resolved quickly and efficiently, they are more likely to have an increased positive impression of your business than someone who hasn’t experienced any problems at all.

This is why we can’t stress enough how important being responsive to feedback is.

Final thoughts

Leveraging customer feedback is not just a means of addressing issues but a powerful strategy for anticipating customer needs and optimising services.

Businesses, regardless of their size, can enhance performance by actively collecting, analysing, and responding to feedback from different channels. The five steps outlined – collecting diverse feedback, capacity planning, optimising performance, driving continuous improvement, and building credibility – form a comprehensive approach to refining services.

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