The supervisor of a call center, the sales head of a fast moving consumer product, and the marketing manager of a car company: they all want to know how customers are responding to their products and services. Are they happy with their sales teams, are they content with the products they are using, and would they switch to another service provider if they had the option? These are all questions that the department and company heads would like to know, and thus they embark on the all-important process of collecting customer feedback.
Having said that, here are 7 important ways through which you can monitor customer feedback.
The most obvious way that feedback is taken in many organizations is to take surveys. Customers are handed a form when they make a purchase, associates call former and present customers to ask them what they thought of their service or emails are sent asking for opinions about their company. This is quite an inexpensive way of taking feedback particularly if the company is going to use e-mails.
There is also a ready availability of data that the analysts can then work on. Plus the company can ask as many questions as they want and questions can be specifically tailored as well. But while taking a survey, it has to be kept in mind that we live in an environment where surveys are all too common and there are several organizations that take surveys. Many people have survey fatigue and they either show no interest in taking the survey or give the answers in a rush and do not reply truthfully.
This takes a bit of skill, but it can also be done in a way that does not prove to be too intrusive. A team of researchers analyze what kind of services the customers availed of, how many times did they contact the call center, what time of the year did they make the purchases, how many product returns there were, how many complaints there were, and did they recommend the products and services to friends and colleagues that they know. Customer habits are a valuable way of getting feedback not only for current products, but also for future product launches as the company can know what the demands of the customer are.
Twitter, Facebook, online chat forums and other such social media platforms are great avenues for understanding what customers think about the company, the product and its services. The young generation is particularly prone to spending more time online than talking to people offline. If they do not like a company’s service, they will complain about it on Twitter. If somebody is looking for a replacement spare part then satisfied customers would recommend your company’s products on online forums. When a company is doing well, your company’s Facebook page and its website would get many hits. Businesses in this century cannot be run without strong media monitoring.
User testing/Usability testing is often done for IT products, websites and web based products, but it can be applied to service based industries as well. Give customers free access to a service and document what they like and what they do not like. The managers can obtain plenty of information on what they can improve and where they score highly.
Companies that have enough access to resources, monetary and human, can get customer feedback through focus groups. A group of people are gathered in an offline real-world environment. The company’s researchers control the setting, set the questions, and open the floor for discussion to learn what their opinions are. The discussions are unstructured, informal and natural and they might even become chaotic at times.
But it gives the analysts plenty of insight into what customers feel about their products and services. If there is no filtering of views and opinions in place, there is much scope for learning in this format. The only drawback is that this method could be expensive and it could take some effort to get people together.
Companies that handle corporate clients would find it beneficial to conduct quarterly business reviews. The top executives can sit face to face and discuss how work was done for the previous three months, what were the highlights and the low points, and how the service can be improved. The clients can talk about what new services they are looking to gain from the service provider, whether they want to change the KPIs and if they want any new technology implemented.
Install suggestion boxes. At your sales office, on your website, a link from your Facebook page, maybe a voice machine where suggestions can be recorded, anywhere and everywhere. Customers will feel more involved with the brand; they will feel that the company genuinely cares about them and that their opinions count. Many customers are keen to make a difference and given the opportunity they will give helpful tips that can take the company and its offerings forward.
For feedback to be effective it is essential that companies not only listen and read what their customers have to say, but also implement them. Only when customers know that their feedback is being taken seriously will they continue giving more free, fair, and honest opinions.
Following the above ways for collecting customer feedback is will assuredly help your company enhance its relationship with its customers. A great way of obtaining feedback is via e-mail; companies can outsource email support services to an experienced and reliable provider and provide quality email support to their customers, which in turn, will help provide feedback.