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Too Much Of A Bad Thing? The Feedback Debate
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Too Much Of A Bad Thing? The Feedback Debate

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The vast majority of us view feedback as a positive thing, something that reinforces and helps your company to push the envelope in a sensible way. But with too much feedback, especially customer feedback, is there such a thing as too much? It’s a hallmark of young companies to venture forwards in a manner that belies a lot of trepidation, which is understandable. But, like the person who is constantly looking for positive reinforcement, there can be a point where it becomes too much. So, is too much feedback bad for a business, and if it is, what’s the best way to improve your company while also listening to the customer at the same time?

The Peril Of The Customer Satisfaction Survey

Every company as a customer satisfaction survey these days, and most come with a little bit of bribery, such as a gift voucher, or a discount, or a free product on your next visit. The one big problem with customer feedback in this respect is that it is almost tantamount to bribery, and also we’ve seen this method of feedback done a million times over. The customer satisfaction survey is also a method of feedback where you are not really getting much useful information from the customer. For example, there is usually the standard question of “how would you rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 10,” and this is helpful, but only to an extent. Look at SimpleSat’s piece on NPS, the net promoter score, this survey consists of asking customers to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely they would recommend the company to a friend, and the way in which it is calculated. The real information you need to get from the customer so you can improve your services, and improve their experience when they come back to your store, is the emotions they felt. Going back to the adage of “it’s not what the customer bought, but how they felt when they bought it;” you should realize the truth that emotion is the undercurrent of every aspect of customer service.

How Much Feedback Is Sufficient?

As general as that question is, it is a necessary one. Customer feedback is such a vital component of improving a product, that it would be foolish to ignore any amount of feedback from the people who are buying your product. If you are able to focus your feedback questions in such a manner that you do get in-depth responses from your customers, all of the feedback would be useful. However, this is seldom the case, and lots of businesses rely on market research companies to get the answers. The real question to ask is what you should focus on to improve your product? Lots of customers say they want certain aspects of a product, but unfortunately, most of the time customers don’t need these changes. This goes back to the importance of customer emotions. Behavior, especially the psychology of buying, is a different beast entirely too a customer providing feedback on how they were treated during their shopping trip. In this respect, analyzing customer behavior is arguably more important than any customer feedback survey. You may find that you can sit down with customers, and they will suggest how to improve your business, but will those customers actually utilize the services you would implement? It’s unlikely that they would. Which is why it is better for you to observe customers and how they purchase products, rather than listening to every aspect that a customer thinks you should be doing, rather than what they need.

Knowing Your Worth As A Business

Lots of companies will bend over backwards to please a customer, some won’t attempt anything remotely related, but the importance in pleasing both customer and yourself is to find that precarious space in between the two. It’s in this that you need to think about your worth, because if you take onboard every iota of customer feedback, which will cost you time and effort, not to mention lots of money. But if it doesn’t bring around a positive change for your business, or it doesn’t bring new custom, will it actually be worth it? It is in this respect that you need to understand your worth as a company, especially if you are fresh out of the gates. You may feel that taking onboard every aspect of feedback will benefit your company, and in some cases, it is true. But if you are confident in what image you want to present, how your brand is going to be portrayed, and how you intend on building relationships with the customer, yet one person offers detailed feedback that is contrary to your development plans, then you are better off staying on course. And this can be very difficult to do because you’ve got that dreaded notion of word of mouth. One customer is unhappy with how you treated them, and therefore they start spreading venom about your business, and you end up firefighting these defected customers by showering them with gift vouchers, discounts, and so forth. It takes a lot of courage to stand your ground, and if you have this one customer who is very insistent on spreading harsh words about your customer service, it is much better to go to the source and to speak to them for their detailed feedback. In this essence, this is where customer feedback could actually benefit your business because if you turn that customer around, bad word of mouth turns into good word of mouth. This is because you’ve done the one thing that every business should do, engage with the customer on a personal level, and endeavor to solve their problems.

Feedback is such a tricky issue, but it depends on how you go about it, as too much feedback in a general basis, such as customer satisfaction surveys, may not give you the information you need to improve. However, by going to the customers who have very deep problems with how you treat them, these are the little nuggets of gold that can help you improve your customer service, but also improve your reputation. In this respect, feedback is essential.

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