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Optimizing Customer Feedback

In 2009, Dave Caroll boarded a United Airlines flight from Halifax connecting to Chicago. What he expected to be a seamless flight experience turned into a dramatic feature when he observed the baggage officials throw and break his Taylor guitar. Amidst his frustration he managed to alert about 3 employees whom he concluded to have behaved unconcerned. The turn of events observed the musician release a music video to express in a lyrical rendition his ordeal with the airline. In just about four days of the release of ‘United Breaks Guitars’, the company is recorded to have observed a 10% decline in shares, a value of about 180 million usd, an amount that could potentially purchase Caroll about 51 000 guitars!

One of the most important tenets in Customer Service and satisfaction is feedback. The principle of feedback has grown to be an evaluation mechanism that organizations use to measure their performance and strategize their services. Public relations experts, Human resource agencies, trainers and researchers invest a great deal of time and other resources into analyzing and responding to feedbacks from their clients. As a number of customer service trainers say, ‘feedback is a gift’. The focus of this material is to encourage you to be positive on the views of clients as they interface with your products or services.

Several research reveal that about 90% of customers who are unsatisfied and have complaints will never buy products or services from the offending company again. Further study explains that an approximate figure of 75% of these unsatisfied customers can be won if there is a process in place that makes them feel that their complaints are being handled. Service failure thus may not necessarily be the issue for clients, however service recovery may be non negotiable.

Marketing thought leader, A. Parasuraman (2006)illustrates ‘service recovery’ as ‘those actions taken by an organization or service supplier in response to a service failure and the attempt by the firm to correct or minimize the impact of a service failure on a customer.”

There is a paradox in service recovery which posits that clients are likely to rate performance higher if a service or delivery failure happens and the company and its staff resume from the failure, than if the initial failure did not occur. The underlining principle suggests that clients who have had a bad experience with a company and subsequently have their complaints well handled by the business become more satisfied doing more business with the company than the periods in which they were enjoying the normal flow of service delivery.

Interestingly customer complaints may not even be handled in the way the customer perceived it, but if they know their complaints are being well handled the probability that they will further do business with the company increases.

It is therefore priceless to have an organizational culture that is well- infused with a successful management of client feedback, complaints and suggestions. The frontline of your business has to be equipped and motivated to share the organisational focus of providing excellent customer service and handling customer suggestions. Your staff therefore need exceptional skills of which patience and empathy are essential in handling clients that have been upset with a transaction that did not go well.

The reaction of clients as they interface with products or services is one of the low cost means by which an organization can measure their performance. Defending yourself as customers give you their opinion concerning your products or services, can be a catalyst to stifle growth. Rather smile and be appreciative of the response, comments, criticisms, advice and or opinions of the users of your products and or services.

Feedback enables you among others to know if you are making the right communication with your brand to the public. The Bible records how Jesus inquired of His disciples the views of others about Him, then their views as well. In your quest to do better, measure your productivity and access the impact of your brand and create the best products and services for your customers, appreciate their feedback.

Besides you are in business to satisfy your customers, it is only right that they make you know what they want. In as much as some clients may irritate you with their views or rather expressions, you may like to consider the fact that their opinions may represent that of a certain number of people that have interfaced with your organization. What I’m I trying to say? An unsatisfied customer is often a single ambassador of an embassy of indifferent or equally unsatisfied customers. In other words, this customer is telling you what a thousand customers could not say, did not say or rather just chose to ignore. This customer should be your best friend. The interest of the organization is the heartbeat of this customer; he or she expects to see nothing but the best from your organization as such remains restless when the mark is not attained and brings to your concerns what you should chose not to call complain but an idea, a suggestion or a new business plan. Bingo!

Make a conscious effort to appreciate the feedback of your customers. Feedback remains an invaluable mechanism for customer satisfaction.

By: Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh

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