Article by Tumelo H Agyei|1 Sep,2016
“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” ~Ross Perot
The biggest obstacle to knowing what customers really think about our businesses and the services we provide is, Fear. This is in conjunction with why customer feedback should be present in every form of business that has a lot of customers supporting them.
As a company or business owner,the fear is that customers will tell you that your product or service is not up to scratch, that you are a mean person and you should never have set foot on earth.
Most companies however never hear that type of painful feedback. Research finds that companies with strong word of mouth and customer devotion behave like high-performance athletes when it comes to focusing on customer feedback. In effect, they are feedback machines. Customer feedback drives their marketing strategies, product development and service expectations.
Companies use marketing research surveys to garner many types of information from consumers and business customers. Businesses gather some of this information prior to introducing products, but they acquire the majority of customer data after they have introduced products. Whatever the case, customer feedback is important for a number of reasons.
- Customer feedback is paramount when determining a customer’s needs and tastes, particularly when a business introduces new products.
- Companies conduct focus groups, in-person research or customer phone surveys to determine the product features, flavors or styles that consumers want.
- Customer feedback helps companies determine what’s important to their customers, according to The Calgary Beacon article “9 Great Reasons To Conduct Customer Surveys.”
- Without customer feedback, a company could not possibly meet the product needs of the consumer. Consequently, its products would likely fail in the marketplace.
- Customer feedback also allows companies to better understand how customers rate and use their products versus competitive products.
- It is vital in determining where a company’s products and services excel or fall short compared to alternatives on the market.
- Customers may like the performance of one company’s faucets but predominantly favor a competitor’s faucets because of their style. The feedback would suggest that the first company should add some stylish faucets to its product line.
Lastly, the opposite approach to proactively gathering customer feedback, waiting for it to arrive on its own, is fraught with peril. According to research firm TARP, it has found that for every person who complains, there are 26 who do not. That means if you have 1,000 customers and 100 of them complain, another 260 may have quietly dumped you, never to call again or set foot in your business.
To know what customers are thinking, we have to ask.
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