As it appeared in the Daily Nation on August 25th 2020
Dr Lucy Kiruthu
What are your customers saying? Are you listening? Are you acting on their feedback? I consider customer feedback to be at the center of business success and failure. On one hand, businesses that listen more to their customers are better informed about their customer’s needs. Businesses that consistently seek their customers’ feedback identify opportunities. By acting on customer feedback, businesses get better at who they are and what they do. On the other hand, businesses that ignore what their customers are saying are at the risk of extinction. Such customers soon get tired, and some walk away never to return. When we do not act on feedback, customers will not be willing to give it!
Without careful consideration of their feedback, it is impossible to give customers an experience that meets their expectations. That is why even in product development, consumer panels are important. In service improvement, the voice of the customer is core. As a business, do you consider customer feedback as the golden goose of customer-centricity? Are you killing this golden goose by not taking customer feedback seriously? Most of us can name a business that has ignored their very important feedback. How did that make you feel? Did you continue doing business with the business? Most likely not! Customers like to do business with those that are ready and willing to listen to them. Smart companies happily receive customer feedback and act on it. Does your business do that?
There are many ways to receive and collect customer feedback about either products or services. Smart businesses make it easy for customers to give feedback and ask for it at every opportunity. It is important to recognize that frontline staff in our businesses have loads of customer feedback. This feedback is received through everyday interactions. To receive customer insights, business leaders need to listen more to what their frontline staff have to say. We can also analyze customer complaints and compliments and identify crucial information. More proactively, we can carry out research to collect customer feedback, analyze the data and gain insights. There are different ways to do this; we can hold customer focus groups, conduct interviews, make observations during interactions, or send out surveys or even dig out feedback from everyday customer interactions via the different channels. When we collect customer feedback, we can assess the level of satisfaction and loyalty as well as identify opportunities for improvement.
Overall, customer feedback is priceless; it has the potential to guide a business’s strategic direction. Customer feedback provides useful data that helps business leaders in making better decisions and taking the right actions. By studying customer feedback data, businesses leaders get better at understanding the unique needs of their customers and are able to identify gaps and opportunities. Business leaders who ignore customer feedback have no one to blame but themselves. Therefore, businesses must not kill customer feedback. They must not kill the golden goose that drives a more in-depth focus on the customer! Without the customer, there is no business.
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy