6 Tips For Making Customer Feedback Work For You

Customer feedback may seem like a double-edged sword, because if you’re going to rejoice over positive experiences then you have to pay attention to criticism as well. What every business needs to realize, however, is that all customer feedback is beneficial. The key is to take what your customers tell you and make it work for the betterment of your business.

Use Feedback to Encourage Engagement

Image via Flickr by Andy Piper

One of the most effective ways to use customer feedback to your advantage is to encourage customer engagement. To begin with, you must give your customers the opportunity to share their experiences. Both new and established clients may distrust a business that doesn’t give them a way to vent or share their positive experiences. Your best options include:

  • Setting up a feedback submission form
  • Publishing an email address devoted to customer experiences, with staff dedicated to reading and responding to emails
  • Creating pages on review sites, such as Foursquare and Yelp
  • And setting up profiles on popular social media sites—especially Facebook, Twitter, and Google+—where a social media manager responds to fans and followers who share their stories

Test Solutions to Different Problems

Do you have an ongoing problem with your business? From slow shipping times to crashing websites, your customers will let you know. Don’t get offended or defensive, because this is the perfect opportunity to test new solutions. Invite your customers to share their ideas. You can’t listen to every possible solution, but actively listening to what your client base wants can help you raise your standards and deliver a better product.

Use Positive Feedback as a Marketing Tool

Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. Your business garners positive feedback, doesn’t it? Use that as a marketing tool. Blurbs from happy customers will show others that your business is the best. Seasoned business veterans and MBA business school graduates will both tell you that high-quality and transparent customer service goes a long way to building customer retention.

While it’s true that customers are always willing to share criticisms, they’re just as eager to share their positive experiences—especially when you have active social sites that invite participation. You can use the positive feedback to show new and would-be buyers that you take pride in satisfying your customers. You simply have to use authentic, honest feedback for your marketing plans.

Correct Mistakes Using Negative Feedback

Image via Flickr by Horia Varlan

Your customers know what they want. If you see poor reviews that mention the same problem over and over, that gives you a fantastic opportunity to correct any problems. The negative feedback you receive can lead to the creation of those all-important solutions. If you have an app, for instance, and a high percentage of reviewers complain of crashing, inappropriate ads, or other glitches, take the opportunity to correct your mistakes.

You can use negative feedback to correct bad advertising gimmicks, low-quality materials, or issues such as fading colors in clothing, odd tastes in foodstuffs, and breaking clasps in jewelry. Whatever your business, pay attention to the biggest complaints and find a way to correct your mistakes. Some people will complain simply because they’re unhappy or cantankerous. However, you can easily separate the legitimately unhappy customers from the people who complain for the sake of it.

Grow Your Reputation

As you become known for glowing reviews, high satisfaction rates, and your willingness to listen to your customers, your reputation will grow. Your customers buy from you for a reason. They want you to hear them. The best companies earn their reputations through hard work and customer service. Engaging with your customers, even when they aren’t happy, and using reviews to improve your business will reflect well on you.

Monitor Your Results

However, none of this is possible if you don’t monitor your results. Follow up with the customers who come to you with problems. Ask them how they like new layouts, improved products, and updated websites, apps, or services. This, too, will have a positive impact on your reputation.

Customer feedback is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. Once you know how to use it, the benefits are limitless. How do you respond to positive and negative feedback?

Miles Young
Miles Young is a freelance writer, designer and business columnist, and a contributing author for the 'corePHP' blog. Business technology news, views and insights.