10 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Seeking Customer Feedback
Many service brands fall into the trap of thinking that because they’re collecting customer feedback, they are doing something to improve their customer experience. But merely collecting feedback doesn’t create positive change, it’s what you do with the feedback that counts. It’s how you spot trends, use feedback to recognize and coach your frontline teams at scale and act on feedback that creates more consistently awesome experiences for your customers. Alongside this mindset trap, service brands tend to make the same mistakes when it comes to seeking customer feedback. In this blog, we’ll share 10 of the most common mistakes so you can make sure you’re steering clear of them.
No Clear Objectives 🤔
Before embarking on any feedback collection initiative, it's important to define clear objectives. What is it that you’re trying to achieve? And how can you measure success? For example, you might want to ‘improve the customer experience’, but a measurable objective could be to improve your branch average NPS score by 20, or to get the customer satisfaction scores of your lowest performing branches to match your best. Being specific about what it is you want to achieve will help you rally your team towards a collective goal and ensure the data you gather is aligned with your goals.
Overwhelming Customers with Lengthy Surveys 😱
“Absolutely! I’d love to fill out this 50 question survey!” – Said no customer ever. Customers are busy and have limited attention spans. Bombarding them with lengthy surveys can lead to frustration and lower response rates. Instead, keep your surveys concise, focusing on the most relevant questions that will yield actionable insights. We recommend streamlining your data collection using a customer experience metric like NPS or CSAT, and asking a maximum of 5 questions.
Asking for Feedback at The Wrong Time ⏰
Timing is everything. Even if you’ve crafted the perfect survey for all the right customers, if it’s delivered at the wrong time, many customers will give up providing feedback altogether. You have a short, but ever-so-important window of opportunity to extract feedback from your customers that is accurate, detailed, and reflective of their true sentiments. Research from Gartner found that feedback collected at the point-of-experience is 40% more accurate than feedback collected even a day later. However, the best time to ask for feedback will depend on your service and your customer preferences. More on this here.
Asking Leading or Biased Questions 🤨
When it comes to customer feedback, the harsh truth can be the most productive thing to hear. Phrasing questions in a way that prompts customers to provide desired responses can skew your data and hinder the authenticity of their feedback. You had a great experience, right?... Is not quite the same as asking How would you rate your experience? Ensure your questions are neutral and unbiased to obtain genuine insights that accurately reflect customer sentiments.
Ignoring Negative Feedback 🙅
It's natural to prefer positive feedback, but turning a blind eye to negative feedback is a grave mistake. Unhappy customers are one of your greatest sources to create positive change. Their feedback contains invaluable insights for improvement and can help you identify what exactly needs to be done to improve the customer experience. While it can feel defeating to see a 1-star review roll on, embrace constructive criticism and view it as an opportunity for growth.
Delaying or Ignoring Customer Follow-Ups ⌛️
The influence a single unhappy customer can have in a short period of time is colossal. A social media post, negative online review and a lengthy rant at a dinner party has the potential to reach thousands of people, negatively influencing their perception and behavior towards your brand. Following up with customers after they provide feedback is crucial for maintaining a strong relationship and showing that you value their opinions. Failing to acknowledge their feedback or provide updates on the actions taken can leave customers feeling ignored, eroding trust and loyalty.
Failing to Close the Feedback Loop 🔂
Collecting feedback without taking any action is a futile exercise. It's vital to close the feedback loop by analyzing the data, identifying trends and patterns, and implementing changes based on the insights gained. It’s not just about putting out fires after they happen (responding to negative feedback), but using customer feedback to create changes that present fires in the first place (creating experiences where positive feedback is a given).
Relying Solely on a Micro View 👁
While looking at individual feedback is important, many service brands don’t zoom out and look at feedback from a birds eye view. By examining feedback on a broader scale, companies can identify recurring themes, patterns, and sentiments that might not be apparent at an individual level. This bird's eye view enables businesses to understand the overall satisfaction level of their customers, pinpoint areas of improvement, and recognize emerging needs and preferences.
Not Connecting Feedback to Frontline Teams 🧑🤝🧑
It seems like a bizarre concept that the very people delivering the customer experience don’t get access to customer feedback, but it’s the reality for many service brands. Without bridging the gap, it’s extremely difficult for frontline teams to know what they should be doing (or not doing) to create a 5-star experience. Connecting customer feedback to frontline teams creates a feedback loop that fosters a customer-centric culture and empowers employees to take ownership of the customer experience.
Using Feedback to Blame, Instead of to Recognize & Celebrate 🎉
By focusing on recognition rather than blame, service brands can encourage a growth mindset, encourage learning and improvement, and inspire a culture of continuous excellence. Moreover, celebrating the customer-facing team demonstrates that the organization values their contributions and understands the complex nature of customer interactions, fostering a stronger sense of loyalty and commitment among employees.
Seeking customer feedback is an essential step in improving your business and building strong customer relationships. By avoiding these ten common mistakes, you can enhance the effectiveness of your feedback collection efforts and gain meaningful insights to drive continuous improvement. Remember, customer feedback is a powerful tool, and when used correctly, it can lead to significant growth and customer satisfaction. Take the time to set clear objectives, choose the right channels, ask unbiased questions, and embrace both positive and negative feedback. Follow up with customers, close the feedback loop, and segment feedback to create tailored solutions. Look at feedback from both a micro and macro level, and acknowledge and appreciate customers for their valuable input. By avoiding these mistakes and implementing a customer-centric feedback strategy, you'll unlock the true potential of customer insights and pave the way for continuous improvement and success.