4 Ways Small Businesses Can Utilise Customer Feedback
From spotting patterns to getting the entire team involved, we look at how companies can benefit from good and bad customer reviews
We all know that lovely feeling when someone tells you you’ve done a good job – no matter your age, job title or experience, it gives you a warm glow every time. Now imagine being able to spread that feeling across an entire company; what would it do for morale, productivity and performance?
The simple act of sharing customer feedback can act like a tonic for every employee at every level. It’s validation that the job they are doing is having a positive impact and shows that you recognise their hard work.
Here’s four ways small and medium businesses owners can use customer feedback to improve their business…
Share the good customer feedback
For your staff that are on the front line, either your employees who handle customer calls and other communication channels, this is especially important. The nature of working in customer service means that you are there because something has gone wrong. This can get frustrating; especially since call handlers aren’t directly responsible for whatever caused the complaint.
That means it’s absolutely vital that you also share positive feedback with them. Your call handlers and front of store staff are usually the first people from your company who customers speak to, ensuring that they know they are doing their jobs well and getting recognition, not only internally but from the people they have helped, goes a long way in keeping them motivated.
Our contact centre wall is decorated with kind messages from customers who have been impressed with our service; we also include the name of the team member who handled their enquiry.
To let the rest of the business get this feel good factor, try sending a quarterly newsletter with feedback from customers, but it’s really important that you only use positive feedback as this is for encouraging the team.
Handle a negative customer comment effectively
Unfortunately there are occasions where you will receive negative feedback and handling this sensitively is important. The first thing to do is ensure your customer service team are able to handle a complaint effectively, that they have the skills, qualities and tools to appease the customer.
Any feedback that needs to be passed on to another department or supplier should be passed to the team leader or manager. This gives managers the opportunity to look at the big picture and see what went wrong.
Managers or business owners should look at negative comments as a learning tool for everyone. Key questions to ask are: do you understand what went wrong? Could it have been prevented? Is the process redundant or inadequate? Was this complaint down to an individual? Could we prevent it in the future?
After you understand the overall issue, draw up a plan on how to implement changes that will tackle it.
Get everyone in the business involved
We often invite other team members to come and listen to live customer calls with our customer service team. This way, they are able to hear for themselves what is prompting customers to get in touch. This made a great impact on our warehouse team as they were able to directly hear the frustration from customers when orders arrived incomplete or incorrect.
It also prompted a massive project in our products and data department to improve the information sent with orders and what information the team can access about items.
Spot customer complaint patterns
General feedback should be recorded to spot trends or spikes and prevent something snowballing into the type of complaint that needs a reaction.
Our products and data team keep on top of stock availability and monitor every fault reported to our contact centre. This often prompts a conversation with the supplier to see if there should be better troubleshooting, if the installation instructions are accurate or if the item is just not good enough.
Receiving the same complaint, time after time, and thinking it’s never going to get fixed is the most frustrating part of being on the front line. When you know what the customer is going to say after a few words because you have heard it that many times, it’s hard to stay motivated and hard to do a good job.
This article was written by Nichola Ansbro, contact centre manager at officekitten.co.uk