Finding Buried Treasure Part 1 – Why Talking to Your Customers is Not Enough

Good businesses take time to keep in touch with their customers and take pride in knowing what is going on in their businesses. How they do this will depend on the number of customers they have and how they typically interact with them. Maintaining this regular contact with customers is clearly a good thing and when combined with an attractive product or service it will form the foundation for a sustainable business. So why am I suggesting that this is not enough and that businesses which want to develop and grow should need to go a step further?

The answer is simple – if all the interaction between the business either relates to a specific transaction or is verbal the business is missing out on one of the most powerful (and free) business growth tools ever created – namely a well designed and implemented customer feedback process. Don’t be put off by the word process, it is important because it suggests that this activity needs to take place regularly and that the output needs to be documented but it does not have to be complex or over-engineered. In fact the most powerful customer feedback tools tend to be most simple, both for the customer to use and for the business to interpret and act upon.

The key point here is that while all customer feedback is valuable, only feedback which is recorded can become one of your organisation’s most valuable assets. This is because whatever the nature of the feedback it will help you move to improve the business:-

  1. Negative Customer feedback, if acted upon, will strengthen your relationship with that customer and improve your service for other customers.
  2. Positive customer feedback can be used to promote the strengths of the business by including it into your sales and marketing activity.

The good news for your business is that most business don’t do this so if you do introduce even a basic customer feedback process and use the information gained wisely it is almost inevitable that this will improve your competitive position and therefore your market share profitability.

So if the benefits are so great why is it that so few companies (including many large national and international businesses) don’t have an effective customer feedback process?

There are many reasons but one of the most important is that as we have seen collecting customer feedback consistently means creating and maintaining a process. Many companies, and particularly those which are doing well, are too busy delivering products or services to their customers to commit time to gather this valuable data, and they also fall into the trap of thinking that because customers are buying then this is the only measure of customer satisfaction they need. As soon as sales start to slip, or a new competitor rolls into town, the limitations of this approach become apparent.

I have explained in broad terms why customer feedback is so valuable, so now let’s be a bit more specific. Here is list of some of the benefits which you can expect from such a system:

In this first part we have considered the benefits of introducing a formal customer feedback system and some of the reasons why most companies don’t do this. In the second part we will suggest some simple steps for introducing such a system.

I love helping business owners get to grips with their marketing so if you have any questions or would like more information please visit the MGBA website www.mgba.co.uk or contact me using the details below:-

E-mail: peter.schofield@mgba.co.uk

Mobile: 07831 550157