The most crucial element of any organisation is its customers. Typically, the more customers you have, the more successful your business. And the best way to retain and gain more customers is to keep delivering great products and services.
However, you’re not going to be able to achieve this easily without feedback, as you will only know what your customers truly want and need when you ask them, which is where the benefit of running a customer survey really comes to the fore.
So, having taken the decision to create your survey and send it to your customer base, you’re now looking forward to reading all their comments.
However, while everyone loves to read favourable comments about their organisation, it’s important to point out that not all feedback organisations receive is positive. In fact, according to statistics, a consumer is around 21% more likely to leave a bad review to complain about a negative experience, than share their comments about a more favourable one.
While initially this may seem a bit disconcerting, it’s important to consider that negative feedback can be even more valuable than positive feedback. Negative feedback highlights issues with your products or services and enables you to understand whats going wrong, giving you the opportunity to take action on this insight and consistently improve. The organisations achieving this are the ones that will deliver a market leading experience, gain that all important competitive advantage and keep customers coming back time and time again.
We explore some of these areas in more detail below, demonstrating how negative feedback can be beneficial in strengthening several key areas of your organisation.
Five orgnisational areas that can really benefit from customer complaints
1) Customer satisfaction
While many people who are unsatisfied with a product, choose to keep their thoughts to themselves and simply stop using your services, there are just as many willing to express their dissatisfaction. In addition, many of those individuals will be looking to share not only their feelings, but the dissatisfaction of other customers too.
This means that you’re likely to have more information to work with from one piece of negative feedback than you would ever get from a more favourable comment. So, if you’re quick to address this feedback and provide a swift resolution, you’re likely to please many customers simultaneously, helping you to make more inroads into improving your overall customer satisfaction levels.
2) Product development
Organisations can spend a significant amount of money on research and development to keep ahead of the competition, but their customers already hold a lot of the answers they need to keep progressing.
When your customers report having problems with your products or services, or simply want to speak out about features or aspects they don’t like, this can provide you with valuable information about what you need to work on next. Even through analysing bad reviews, you can uncover ideas for improving your product that you may never have considered. Ultimately your customers are a great repository of information that you should be calling on for feedback regularly, if you’re to develop more appealing products and services for them going forward.
3) Policies and procedures
Most organisations will have a number of internal policies and procedures in place to ensure that their operations can run as smoothly as possible. However, it’s not always obvious how effectively these are working or if they are operating in a company’s best interests.
Fortunately, the negative feedback from customers can often highlights flaws in these processes, which after analysing in more detail, you can resolve and improve. Similarly, customer feedback about staff, can also reveal how well they are managing their responsibilities and if they need any further support to improve in their roles.
4) Customer communications
Customer communications are extremely important, especially those channels that give customers a greater voice. So, when you regularly survey your customers for their feedback, not only are you establishing another effective communication channel between you and them, you’re giving them the opportunity to raise their concerns and demonstrating your willingness to listen.
This is crucial when you consider that 70% of customers leave a company because they believe that an organisation doesn’t care about them or value their opinions.
Alternatively, by using an open communications channel such as a customer survey and demonstrating how much you value your customers feedback, they’ll be more likely to stay loyal to your company and communicate their satisfaction to others.
5) Your brand
The benefits of employing an open communications strategy, where customers can readily report any issues with the service or experience you deliver, can also help to improve your brand image. This is down to the fact that such openness benefits reputation and makes your company look trustworthy and more caring.
The more you’re prepared to go the extra mile for your customers the more satisfied they’ll be and ready to share those great experiences with others, which will only further strengthen your reputation.
Using Root Cause Analysis to get to the core of your customer complaints
From product development, to branding and comms or other area we have described that you’re looking to strengthen, you really need to get to the core of what’s causing disatisfaction and understand what needs to change. This isn't as daunting as it sounds as most complaints are typically caused by one of two critcal issues so you don't always have to reinvent the wheel to deliver a better experience.
Negative feedback from your customer surveys is an effective early warning that you have issues to deal with and by applying root cause analysis you can get on the path to improving them and developing a more positive outcome. Root cause analysis focuses on examining all your data to see what’s really causing the problems your customers are experiencing in a 3-stage process that includes:
• Defining the problem
• Collecting data relating to that problem
• Identifying what is causing the problem
When mixed with a range of techniques that can include anything from text analysis of customer feedback to natural language understanding (NLU) analysis of large textual datasets, it is much easier to identify any correlations and common themes in communication strings.
When combined with regularly running surveys to help you detect any service or product issues early, before they manifest into something more challenging to deal with, you’ll be in a much better position to improve those areas of your organisation you’re looking to strengthen.
Why you should be collecting and acting on customer complaints now
While it may not have seemed obvious at first glance, hopefully you can now see from the examples we’ve outlined how a negative comment can be just as valuable, if not more so than positive customer feedback. It’s how you use and act on those negative comments that really counts.
When your customers can see they’re being listened and can see their suggestions and opinions reflected in your products and services, they’re more likely to stay loyal to you and bring new customers with them too.
So, if you want to take your organisation to the next level, you need to be collecting and acting on your negative customer feedback now.