If you've ever owned a business, you know you can always count on one constant to greet you almost daily throughout your career: customer feedback.
It's one of those things that you hate to love (or maybe love to hate?) Either way, customer feedback is integral in learning about yourself, and whether you're meeting the needs of your customers, or falling short of their expectations.
You want to have loyal customers who consistently come back to your business, and who care enough about you to give you feedback.
That's an important aspect of feedback to keep in mind; it's not always done out of spite and hatred. Many times, customers leave you feedback because they do care about your business, and do want to see you get better. If they didn't, they would drop you completely without even bothering to tell you why.
In the business world, you have to learn how to harness the power of customer feedback and use it to your advantage. Check out some of our tips of harnessing that feedback and what it can do for your business!
Do you know what your customers are saying about you? Are there complaints and praises clearly laid out to you? Learning how to take feedback and use it to your advantage starts with understanding the "why?" of the feedback.
This is a difficult task for many because it's hard to admit when you're not doing something the right way, especially if you have a lot of pride in your business. But the only thing worse than not solving a problem is ignoring the problem all together. This creates distrust in your brand and will eventually cause you to lose customers. After all, why would someone want to stay with you if they know their voices aren't being heard, and their critiques aren't being considered?
Once you understand where your customers are coming from in their critiques, you'll learn how to solve the issue. This step requires some thinking, of course. If it's a simple problem, like "I couldn’t find what I was looking for when I went to your store the other day," then you can attempt to make contact with that customer, and assure them that you're doing all you can to find a solution to their dilemma. But if you've really messed up and hurt a customer to the point of no return, it'll take more than a band-aid to fix that gaping wound. You've got to make a huge effort to solve their problem, and it's gotta be apparent by them that you're trying to help.
The more you learn to put out fires and problem solve, the better you'll be prepared next time a customer leave you some negative feedback. This is part of the growth process of your business, and it's an important, mature step. When you make a mistake outside of your work life, such as accidentally insulting a friend, or forgetting to pay your monthly rent to your landlord, you learn from those mistakes, right? The same applies to your work life. When you get negative feedback from a customer, you learn to be courageous, admit to your mistakes, right your wrongs, and grow from the experience.
All of these elements -- understanding, solving, growing -- all tie together into a singular goal for your business: retaining customers. You never know how your response to a customer's feedback is going to go. The customer could either love the way you responded, and continue shopping with your business, or they could become frustrated and stop coming back to you all together. The goal here is to find the right balance of those aforementioned elements, and repeat the pattern again and again with every new customer you meet. You want them to be happy and continue to shop with you, and learning to accept their feedback is a great way to do that.
Contributor Caleb Hennington is a writer and marketer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and hanging out with his wife and his dog, Barry.