“we appreciate your feedback as your views are very important to us and we take them seriously. All feedback will be passed on to the relevant departments to be discussed”
WHAT A LOAD OF HOGWASH!
Today it appears the customer seems to be getting in the way of how a business would like to do business. Unfortunately, gone are the days where businesses rely on the feedback of their customers, as we have become too busy trying to compete and not seeing that our growth potential is right in front of us every single day… Our customers.
The trend of implementing convoluted systems and structures has now created a barrier between business expected outcomes and customer experience.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions but why does it seem that businesses large and small seem to disregard and even ignore the opinions of its loyal patrons?
Recently I was asked to present one of my customer service workshops to a large company. Before I was to hold the training session I was asked to sit down with the HR and “Customer liaison officer” to discuss the areas they saw issues in and what they had been doing to evoke a culture of customer service within the club.
The discussion with the two managers went well and whilst they had great theories of how they could make the business a great place for their customers, to me it all seemed to be a surface solution and not a culture creator.
Let me give you one example… They had been getting a lot of feedback from their older aged customers that they felt like they were just a number to their staff and not a valued customer. Now to me there is a very easy fix here but the solution this company came up with was when anytime a customer presented their membership card, the machine at the front desk would say “hello… (their name)” WT?
This company had missed the point in a major way. Here loyal customers had given feedback that they didn’t feel appreciated and their solution was to get a machine to say hello?
Your customers will have some great tips or insight as to how you as a business can make their experiences even better.
Recently a new bakery opened up in our area. I was walking passed on the opening day so I decided to give it a go. I was in the line waiting to order and the only way you could see the menu was on TV screens behind the counter. The problem with that was the screens changed about every 5 seconds which made it hard to see what was on offer.
When I got to the counter I asked if I could give some feedback which I was told “yes”.
I suggested they should slow down the screen changed and the owner said that that was great feedback. He disappeared for a minute and came back and said it was done. He thanked me and then got great comments from other people in the line saying that it was “a lot better now”. He saw value in his customers feedback.
It’s the customer facing companies that are the ones who are forging ahead these days, not the ones with the pseudo care factor. There is no point doing “focus groups” if you have lost focus on what basic desires your customers have.
Your customers want:
Sending out survey emails or getting your customers to give a score out of 10 on a phone survey after their call to your business might be great in theory, but unless it is actually acted upon then it is all just white noise.
It is my belief that the issue is within staff training. As I have been doing this for a fair while now, I can safely say that staff training within the service and sale skill area is not that prevalent.
As a business owner, as a department head, I know that you would probably see the value in giving your customers / clients and amazing experience. That isn’t the problem… it is within the staff that is where things can come unstuck.
Unless our staff understand what the customer is actually wanting (and no, it isn’t always cheaper prices), unless they realise that the customer / client is desiring what I pointed out above, then all of your hard work, all of your surveys and all of your feedback boxes are irrelevant to the customers experience!
Staff need to understand buying behaviours, sales psychology and customer desires. Once they get that, then fulfilling a customer’s needs becomes second nature.
It is and should be part of a job description otherwise all they become is order takers. Online shopping is where orders are taken, face to face engagement is where customers become attached and relationships are created.
So when asking for feedback from your customers, make sure you at least acknowledge it and maybe even act upon it as the one thing the customer / client has more now than ever before is CHOICE! They will go to where they are appreciated.