You want to create experiences customers will want to return to. It’s no secret that learning what customers really want and need is a key component to this! But while asking a few basic questions in a monthly survey might help, it’s not enough to help you really understand your customers’ needs.
For feedback that informs you on how to continue creating experiences that forge loyalty, you’ll need to go beyond the survey. Here are a few customer feedback hacks to uncover valuable insights where surveys fall short.
1. Train customer-facing employees to ask.
People who interact with your customers daily need to understand that gathering information, both formally and informally, is an important part of the job. Encourage employees to ask questions and be more observant. Make sure they have a way to record that feedback and share it with the rest of the organization on an ongoing basis.
2. Observe, observe, observe.
Be careful to watch how your customers behave while they interact with your brand. A heightened sense of awareness for these things can provide a tremendous amount of information! While a customer claims to be satisfied, listening for changes in their tone when you give them a quote gives you immediate feedback about pricing. Don’t underestimate the power of observing how customers behave in your environment.
3. Ask customers why they’re leaving you.
I recently conducted a little experiment around this. When cancelling a membership, I received a form that specifically asked why I was leaving. So I answered honestly with detailed information about my issues with the company. Though I expected to hear back from someone within the organization, the only communication I received was a form letter about canceling addressed to “valued member.”
Unfortunately, this is a standard practice. Organizations ask for specific feedback and then don’t respond or do anything with it! If your customer takes the extra time to share their feelings, make sure you are prepared to have a real person respond.
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4. Referrals are much more than just new customers.
When customers are kind enough to recommend you to their friends and colleagues, are you paying attention to why? When customers share that Nancy referred them because she was so happy with the service, that is information to share and improve best practices. By following up directly with Nancy, your organization will discover what’s working well and what to bring to the forefront of your marketing, sales and onboarding practices.
5. Your customers like to hear from you!
There is so much process around customer outreach that this basic idea gets lost in many organizations. Any executive or team member should feel empowered to call a customer once a week, once a month, or even once a day. Asking what’s going well with the relationship and what needs improvement goes a long way toward not only gathering feedback but also building goodwill.
Still believe sending a survey is enough?
There are so many ways we should be listening to our customers, and those who rely exclusively on surveys will continue to miss out. Challenge your organization to find creative ways to listen beyond those surveys. Discovering and understanding what customers want and need in these ways can help your organization innovate around the best possible experiences.