How to Encourage Better Customer Feedback
Input from your most difficult customers is the best tool you have to improve your customer service. If you send the message that criticism is unwelcome, you will not hear what you need to know to put things right.
Listening to customers who tell you what you want to hear is nice and makes you feel good, but it does not help you improve your service or your product. Listening to the customer who is irate may be difficult, but critical to your business.
What are your weaknesses? The irate customer will be happy to tell you. Before you can fix them, you must recognize them. How do you do that?
1. Giving criticism or constructive feedback, as we prefer to call it, is risky. Encourage open, honest communication. Refrain from making excuses.
2. Assume they are not mad at you, and really want the problem to go away.
3. Assume their perceptions are accurate. Just because you intended one thing and something else actually occurred, does not change the problem.
4. Exposing a weakness usually hits a nerve, so wait awhile before you decide what to do.
Show appreciation for the valuable information you receive. It may have been hard to provide, and you may find yourself with a better customer relationship that you ever had before.