How do you ask and get adequate ongoing customer feedback? If you think that these customers will patiently call in, go through a busy switchboard, wait for someone in inside sales or customer service then feel comfortable leaving a message because “sorry, all agents are busy”, think this through again. You do not know your customers very well. Most angry customers who are disappointed with your bad products or lousy service will hang up. Depending upon your firm’s industry, many customers will not contact you again because they do not have the time to waste. They will just call the next vendor on their ‘qualified list’ after returning your product, demanding a full purchase refund.
Make it easy for your customers to complain or give you compliments. You want them to vent their feelings because you want to stay in business. Offer your customer a number of options.
- Easy fast call-ins: Customers are provided telephone numbers and can easily call in to your customer service and be guaranteed a live voice to answer. Note: Before you terminate any call with any customer, ask one more time, “Now make sure to tell me. Is there anything else that I can help you with today?” Ask this to ensure the customer gets everything off his chest before hanging up. Teach your service personnel to ask this question diligently and honestly, wait for the complaints because encouraging feedback helps your service improve tremendously.
- Prepaid postcards with follow-up calls: Customers can fill out the prepaid postcard once they have received the product they ordered from you to register the product and to voice concerns or complaints or suggestions. Note that suggestions might enroll them in the company monthly idea contest that awards cash prizes or other company products for good customer ideas or suggestions. If you do nothing else, ask this one question. “Tell us just one thing we can improve the next time.” Nearly everyone can come up with at least one suggestion or idea. You want these ideas and improvements.
- Well-designed online internet support: Customers can go online and fill out a complaint or suggestion form and expect an answer within four hours, six hours, one shift, 24 hours, two business days, etc. Note: One day later, you might send a follow-up email asking if the advice worked, if the customer is happy, if all problems were taken care of, etc. Give the recipient an 800 number to call or a link to connect to in order to speak again with customer service.
- Follow-up telephone calls: Customers get a follow-up call on all major purchases by the sales representative asking if anything is missing, if the customer understands how to use the product, if the customer is confused by anything involved in the purchase, etc. Note: Before you terminate any call with any customer, ask one more time, “Is there anything else that I can help you with today?” Ask this to ensure the customer gets to get everything off his chest before hanging up.
- Visits with no delays: Customers can visit your facilities and not wait more than five minutes to ten minutes at a designated help desk or service desk to get problems resolved.
- Easy to reach toll free 800 numbers: Customers can call the 800 number (featured on your packages, products, buildings, front doors, company vehicles and all literature and brochures) in order to get their problems resolved. This number is reserved for customers only and answers quickly and efficiently. Note: Before you terminate any call with any customer, ask one more time, “Is there anything else that I can help you with today?” Ask this to ensure the customer gets everything off his chest before hanging up.
- Ongoing idea/suggestion contests: Customers can submit their ideas, suggestions to your firm (possibly online) and give feedback. Their submissions enroll them in monthly drawings for best ideas or product improvements and they may win a prize or coupons for other products. Offer this in the lobby, website, and open to everyone including vendors, competitors’ employees, employees and all their family members. State clearly you do not care from where the great ideas come, if they are worthy, the submitting entry may win money or designated awards.