If you run your own business I know you do your best to please your customers, satisfy their needs, and eventually to keep them loyal to your brand. But how can you be sure that your efforts bring desired results? If you do not try to find out what your clients actually think about your service, you will never be able to give them the best customer experience. Their opinions about experience they have with your brand is helpful information that you can use to adjust your business to fit their needs more accurately.

There are plenty of ways you can leverage customer feedback and profit from it. In this entry I will try to explain why collecting customer feedback, whether prompted or unprompted, is crucial in managing customer satisfaction and loyalty, in customer retention, improving products and services, and in many more areas of your business. Sit comfortable and continue reading to discover benefits of customer feedback.

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What is customer feedback

Customer feedback is information provided by clients about whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with a product or service and about general experience they had with a company. Their opinion is a resource for improving customer experience and adjusting your actions to their needs. This information can be collected with different kinds of surveys (prompted feedback), but you can also find opinions and reviews your clients post online (unprompted feedback) and collect them using Internet monitoring tools. Both sources are important to get a full picture of how your clients perceive your brand.

Top performing companies understand an important role that customer feedback plays in business. They consistently listen to the voice of their clients. Not only they search for opinions they clients publish on social media and reviews they provide on websites designed for gathering feedback (e.g. TripAdvisor), but they also deliberately ask for feedback using distinct kinds of surveys. If you want to stay ahead of competition you should never stop listening to customer feedback whether it is positive or negative, prompted or unprompted.

Here are the top seven reasons why customer feedback is important in business.

1. Customer feedback helps improve products and services

When you initially introduce a new product, brand or service to market you probably have an idea about customer needs. Market research that you conduct before introduction gives you an idea if potential customers would be willing to buy it and also they can give you some tips on how you could improve it. However, only after your customers use your product or service you can learn about all the advantages, flaws and their actual experience. On top of that, their needs and expectations evolve with time.

Customer feedback is an insight into what is working well about your product or service and what should be done to make experience better. You might have the best expertise in the industry in which your company operates, but your professional knowledge will never be more valuable to business performance than customer insights. Their opinions help you ensure that the end product will actually meet their expectations, solve their problems and fulfill their needs.

2. Customer feedback helps you measure customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction and loyalty is a crucial factor that determines company’s financial performance. It is directly linked to many benefits, such as increased market share, lower costs, or higher revenue. Many studies confirmed close connection between customer satisfaction and business performance. Therefore, there is no doubt that you want to make sure your clients are happy with your products and services. Naturally, the best way to find out if you meet their expectation is to get their opinions. Using rating-based questions you can easily estimate the level of satisfaction and consequently predict your company’s financial condition in the future.

One of the most accurate methodologies that has helped many companies measure, manage and improve customer satisfaction is NPS. The metric is based on one simple question that investigates how likely it is that a customer would recommend a brand to a friend. Response options for the loyalty questions are based on a 0–10 point rating scale, with 0 representing extremely negative and 10 representing extremely positive. This methodology is both simple and universal, so every business can apply it in customer satisfaction management.

3. Collecting customer feedback shows you value their opinions

By asking your clients for feedback you communicate that their opinion is important to you. You involve them in shaping your business so they feel more attached to your company. Listening to their voice helps you create stronger relations with them. This is the best way to gain valuable brand ambassadors who will spread positive word-of-mouth for you. And I am sure you are aware that their recommendations is probably the most effective and, at the same time, the cheapest way to acquire new customers and become more trustworthy in the eyes of your current and potential clients.

People always appreciate when you ask them if they are happy (or unhappy) with your service. It shows you actually value their opinion and that you are here for them, not the other way around. They feel that your primary business goal is to solve their problems and fulfill their needs, not to get their money. It puts a customer in the central position of your company and this is the right way to run a business.

4. Customer feedback helps you create the best customer experience

Today’s marketing is heavily based on experiences people have with products, services and brands. They do not buy Apple products just because they are good. They want to demonstrate their status and affiliation to a particular group. They do not buy Nike clothes because they are durable. They buy courage to extend their boundaries. Therefore, if you focus on providing the best customer experience at every touchpoint clients will stay loyal to your brand. And naturally, the most effective way to give them amazing experience is asking them what they like about your service and what should be improved.

5. Customer feedback helps to improve customer retention

Satisfied customer will stay with you. Unhappy customer will eventually find a better alternative to your business and leave. Customer feedback helps you determine if your clients are satisfied with your service and detect areas where you should improve. Thanks to asking for opinions regularly you can always keep a finger on the pulse. Each time a dissatisfied customer express his disappointment you can immediately react and find a solution to fix an issue. This is a perfect moment to win a client back and even increase his level of loyalty. In many cases, an unhappy customer who encountered a problem with your service, but you got it fixed straightaway demonstrates bigger devotion to your brand that a customer who has never been disappointed with your service.

6. Customer feedback is a reliable source for information to other consumers

In the times of social media, consumers do not trust commercials or expert advice so much. Opinions provided by other customers who have already used a product or service are more reliable source for information these days. When you look for an accommodation in a city you visit or you want to find a nice new restaurant to have dinner with friends you read reviews beforehand. When you want to buy new shoes you ask for opinion on Facebook or go to a trustworthy blog to read a review. Many companies today incorporate review system in their services and products. Think of Uber, or AirBnb. They all do their best to ensure that poor service will be detected and excluded from their business.

Customer feedback is as important to your business as to other customers, so you should make sure that both you and your clients have an easy access to opinions and reviews.

7. Customer feedback gives you data that helps taking business decisions

There is no place for business decisions based on loose guesses on a highly competitive market. Successful business owners gather and manage distinct kind of data that helps them develop future strategies. Only in this way they are able to adjust their products and services to perfectly fit customer needs.

Customer feedback is one of the most reliable sources for tangible data that further can be used in taking business decisions. Customer insights will help you understand clients and their needs more profoundly. Take their suggestions in consideration and thanks to that find out where you should allocate your money to get the highest return on investment. You might discover that, for instance, further product development is not necessary in your case, but instead you should focus on promoting your brand to get bigger exposure. Customer feedback is valuable source for such data, but you must learn how to listen to it and how to translate it into actionable takeaways for your business.

If you want to stay on top of things you should put your customers in a center of your business and treat their feedback as the most valuable source for information in your company. They are the ones who use your products and services, so they know best what could be improved to make them even more happy. Never ignore their voice. If you fail to meet their expectations they will find other company which will do it better than you. Use customer feedback at all corporate levels and across all departments in your company. Insights will help you develop your products, improve customer service, and manage customer satisfaction. Thanks to customer feedback you can make sure that your clients will stay with you, be loyal to your brand and in consequence will spread positive word-of-mouth for you. Having devoted brand ambassadors is gold your company needs to grow!

Remember that customer feedback is everywhere. Learn how to collect it using different tools and resources. Run surveys in different forms and search for reviews your clients post on the Internet. Do not underestimate any comment about your products and services and try to always be responsive. Your clients will appreciate you value their opinion. It is a key for developing strong relations with your audience. Customer voice is priceless for your business, so never stop listening!

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