Listening to Your Customer Base is Much Better Than Surveys

Michele Warg
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As a business owner or sales representative, you know that when customers feel valued, they become loyal to your business. Soliciting customer feedback is essential to maintain loyalty, and how you request input matters. Although customer surveys can uncover some important information, focusing on listening to customers may provide you with much more pertinent suggestions.

The Downfall of Surveys

In the past, customer surveys gained popularity for firms seeking input and customer feedback; however, as more businesses incorporated phone, email or pop-up surveys, customers became inundated with them. The overuse of surveys has even prompted customers to question their loyalty to a firm. They are often viewed as an impersonal way to provide feedback, when your clients really just want to be heard. For example, after speaking with a customer service representative on the phone, many customers are subjected to a two or three question survey. After providing the requested information, most companies do not follow up with the consumer to really listen to their concerns. As a result, the value of surveys suffered and even deterred your clients from providing customer feedback.

The Data Problem

It is common for companies to seek ways to simplify processes. However, skimping on data collection from your customers can ultimately hurt your customer service. Evaluate how you use data from surveys. Are you taking customer feedback seriously? Does your company tally the results and use the data to make decisions regarding customer service strategies? Does your staff follow up with clients who have expressed concerns? If the survey results are not used to improve your processes and communication with consumers, consider the value of using them.

The Need to Satisfy Customers

A simple survey may offer data for your firm, but it does not provide satisfaction for your client base. People want to be heard when providing customer feedback. In fact, most clients want to talk with a person who exhibits both authority and knowledge about the company. Listen to your clients, and take their concerns and praises seriously. Take an empathetic approach when responding, and stray from using standard responses that appear to be robotic. Instead, show that you are human, and personalize the conversation. Even if your customers are unhappy with a product or service, your chances of retaining customers increase when you take the time to listen to their concerns and attempt to resolve problems quickly.

It may not be necessary to ditch the surveys, but you can improve your customer service by soliciting customer feedback personally. Reach out to your client base, and take the time to listen to what your satisfied and unsatisfied customers have to say about your products and services to ultimately improve your productivity and increase profits.


Photo Courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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