The role of customer feedback in retaining hard-earned customers is often overlooked by most businesses in the UAE and almost all around the world. The truth is most of the time businesses only focus and invest in methods and marketing methods to get new customers. Although you might have good customer relationship management and good service delivery mechanisms, you still need to listen to your customers. It is very important for businesses to retain their existing customers if they want steady growth. For example, fifty new customers per month or even daily it depends upon your organization’s size, and you are also loosing let say, twenty customers, then your growth is only thirty customers per day or per month or any reference of time. But if somehow you got succeeded to retain all existing customers then for that time frame your growth will be one hundred per cent equal to your new sales. Customer Feedback plays a vital role in retaining the existing customers and it also provides vital business intelligence to further improve your products and services, which will definitely boost your overall growth.
What is Customer Feedback?
First of all, you need to understand what is customer feedback? Well, the answer is very simple, whatever question you will ask your customer, the answer will be your customer’s feedback. You can request your customers to suggest or opine on your products, services, or a segment of your business or the entire brand. There are multiple types of feedbacks and multiple stages when feedback can be collected. For example, when a customer makes a purchase, you can ask them about their experience, after 3 months or so you can ask them about the performance of the product or service they bought from you. You can request feedback when a customer availed a service from your service centre or customer support office. It could be anything, and it could be anytime. Although I am saying it could be anytime, or anything, but there are certain criteria to prepare your questionnaire and also when to present it. You cannot request a customer to opine about their experience at one of your customer service centre three months ago. They might not remember sufficient details after this long.
How to Collect Customer Feedback?
There are so many different methods and techniques to collect feedbacks some are old some are new, but all were set to encourage as many customers as possible to give feedback and suggestions. Basically, most of the time if a customer is either happy or unhappy they do not want to take the time to provide feedback or do a survey or any such thing. Even if when businesses ask their customers, only slightly more than half of them will answer the questionnaire. There are certain methods which are most popular all around the world. Here are some examples:
- Surveys conducted by staff at the branch
- Phone Calls
- Online Surveys via
- Emails (General/Marketing and Transactional)
- Social Media
- Customer Feedback Systems
- Interactive Kiosks
- Tablet Kiosks/Stands
- Smartphone Applications
- Score Board Surveys or Customer Happiness Meter
- Online Suggestion Boards
- Online Reviews and Ratings
There are different innovative and high-tech solutions to collect customer feedback. There is no thumb rule or only one certified method of collecting feedback that can work for all. Different industries and different businesses require different customer feedback solutions. The main objective is to collect as many feedbacks as possible in a form that can help the management to gather actionable data.
In order to achieve your objectives you first have to understand what type of audience you have and what method will be more encouraging for your customers to attempt a survey or do feedback. Then multiple methods can be implemented simultaneously to increase the data collection. But your customer who has already given their feedback from one channel should not receive the requests to do the same feedback from other channels. Your all channels’ feedback should converge in a single information centre or database, and the final outcome should provide the details important for your business. For example, you should know:
- How was your customer’s experience at the branch?
- How satisfied they are with your products and services?
- What else can be offered to improve the product/service quality?
- How more likely they are to suggest you to their family and friends?
These are just some of the very fundamental customer feedback questions, which all businesses want to know. Apart from that, you can also build a strategy to collect segmented feedback. The segmented feedback collection is also experimented with by many businesses and they are getting good results. For example, in their first visit to your customer service centre, you can ask them about their experience at the branch. The next time or after a few days later you can ask them about the product or service they are using. The chances of getting feedback from the same person on the same subject with a different topic are very high. Of course, you can ask a few questions at the same time, but the response rate to single question feedback is way too higher than multi-question feedback or survey. Multiple feedback collection methods can be utilized with innovative ideas and the latest technologies to collect more customer feedback data which can help the management to take future decisions.
How Customer Feedback Can Help Retaining Hard Earned Customers?
Customer feedback can help businesses to retain hard-earned customers. No matter how big or small you are or to what industry you belong, you must have to listen to your customers very closely to understand what is making them happy about your brand and what is annoying them about your brand. This is very important, it is an estimate that almost 30% to 40% of the customers switched to other options if they don’t receive good services. And if they are unhappy it is an estimate that almost 60% to 70% talk about their bad experience with their colleagues, family and friends. This could have a huge impact on your sales, reputation and brand identity. For example, research has been published by Business Insider [businessinsider.com] which concludes that it requires almost 12 good customer experiences to only negate the impact of one bad customer experience! This is huge, and it is extremely important that you listen to your customers, know how they think about your brand, what do they like and what is not appreciated by them.
Customer feedback can help businesses:
- Building Customer Loyalty
- Building a Positive Reputation
- Improved Customer Experience
- Improved Products and Services
- Taking Precise and Calculated Data-Driven Decisions
In order to retain your hard-earned customers, building a loyal customer base is very important. You can only win your customers loyalty if you will be able to understand their needs, demands, and overall behaviour towards your products and services. Once you attain that your customers will start adding up to your efforts of building a positive reputation of your business and brand.
Customer experience always plays an extremely important role in any business’s success. Especially in the UAE where the competition is very high, there are so many options available to every customer. The customer experience will determine whether you will be able to sustain them and keep growing at a steady pace, or you will end up in a downward spiral? In order to understand the customer experience the best way is to take their feedback. This feedback will not only help you improving customer experience but it will also help you improve your products and services too.
There are two types of feedback, either it will be positive or either it will be negative. Here are the two types of customer feedback and their importance:
1. Negative Customer Feedback and Bad Customer Experience
We always discuss in our blog posts and we also suggest to our customers that negative feedbacks are extremely important even more important than positive feedback. An unhappy customer is a potential risk. The chances of getting them away from your business are very high. Once they went away to a competitor they will most likely start suggesting their colleagues, family and friends join them. On top of that, there is a chance of negative publicity, they could comment on your social media, or share their experience on their social media or whatnot. Which could further amplify the intensity of negative publicity. It is very important that you prioritize them, listen to them and try to resolve their issues on urgent bases.
That is not all, from their bad experience you can also learn vital information about your deficiencies and the areas where you being a business or brand and your staff lags behind. Their feedback is critical to understand what went wrong and what has to be done in order to prevent such scenarios to happen again. This will help you retain your existing customers and when you manage to convert an unhappy customer to a happy customer they will definitely cause you positive publicity. This will not only make you more popular among your existing customers but it will also help you acquire more customers.
2. Positive Feedback and Good Customer Experience
Like I said the negative customer feedback is very important but that doesn’t mean you don’t need positive customer feedback. Positive customer feedback always helps to promote your good image and results in more business. Collect and utilize your positive feedbacks too to further improve the areas which are more popular. Positive feedback doesn’t mean you are delivery a 100% perfect product or service, it will be always a part of the service or a particular feature or a particular trait that your customers will be going to like the most, this will also help you identify the features and aspects of your products and services which are not receiving much positive feedback despite being part of a very popular product or service. Such aspects can be further scrutinized and improved. So, no matter if it is positive feedback or negative feedback, it will go to help you in improving your products and services and in retaining your hard-earned customers.
In the UAE the competition is very high, the customers are very demanding and they have too many alternatives. In such an environment maintaining steady growth is a bit more difficult. More competition means higher quality, higher quality means higher expectations. The customers always expect the highest level of the quality of any product or service they are purchasing. Which makes it even more difficult to keep them happy. Customer feedback can help you by providing very precise first-hand data and business intelligence. Which could help the decision-makers to take actions to improve the product or service quality and to establish future strategies. The customer feedback will also help you understand the current market trends and ever-changing demands of your customers. There are so many different methods to collect customer feedback, businesses can choose any one of them or a combination of multiple mediums and platform to collect feedback, the main objective is to get as much feedback as possible. To improve your customer experience, products and services and build a positive brand reputation. Which will not only help you retain your hard-earned customers but it will also help you gain more new customers. No matter if the feedback is positive or negative, collected through the happiness meter to gathered from an online survey all types of feedbacks and all methods of customer feedback collection have their benefits and utilization. The data will help businesses to understand their customers better. The management can easily and confidently make decisions, plan strategies, to improve their customers’ experience. Which will not only help them retain their existing customers but eventually it will help them building up a good brand image and getting more new customers.