Why Feedback is Essential to Successful Customer Engagement

Sit back and let us regale you with a tale of a company that turned a deaf ear to its customers… and paid the ultimate price.

One of our staffers (who shall remain anonymous) once worked for a well-known company; this firm sold subscriptions (for which they charged a pretty penny) to an online program. The company had a dedicated call center to help subscribers with any issues they encountered, but they weren’t truly invested in listening to those customers. When complaints about the online program came in, they were routinely ignored. Internally, product managers made cases for why the customers were wrong. “The customers don’t know what they want,” they said.

When pressed to take the plethora of customer requests and complaints into consideration, upper management told our staffer that they didn’t care about existing customers(!). They didn’t expect people to stay subscribed for long, and instead went after new customers, who would be unaware of the program’s defects.

Right about now, you’re probably realizing that this goes against everything you’ve learned in Business 101. It’s cheaper and easier to keep a customer than acquire one. Can you guess where this is headed?

Finally, to appease the customer-service team, who really did want to see the program improved for their clients, management approved a feedback program, surveying members and inviting a few to participate in phone panels. But the advice and critiques they received were ignored; the effort was just for show. The program’s fatal flaws were left unresolved until finally, membership plummeted enough to warrant shutting down the entire operation.

There’s a reason every other register receipt you’re handed offers the opportunity to participate in a customer survey. More and more companies realize that keeping their customers happy results in a loyal client base, and that’s the most valuable resource around. If you have a true understanding of your audience, you’ll know what they want from you, how you can better provide it, and how you can best deliver that product or service to them.

It’s not enough, though, to invite people to provide feedback. They need to understand why you’re asking, and how it will affect them. Offering an incentive is certainly a no-brainer, but helping your clients understand that their voices will be heard and acted upon is a powerful motivator.

To truly succeed in establishing great customer relations, you can’t wait for them to come to you. Few happy clients will contact you to give you a pat on the back, and the rest… well, social media makes it all too easy for them to vent their frustrations about your company. (And heaven help you if they’re one of Malcolm Gladwell’s connectors, those with undue influence over many other potential customers.) Instead, you need to proactively seek out your audience’s opinions. Use customer data or surveys to understand their pain points and the times when it would be most beneficial to reach out to them. Schedule appropriate communications based on their customer lifecycle and you’re on your way to positively influencing their behaviors and opinion of your company.

Earning a reputation as a customer-centric organization should be every company’s goal, rather than an empty promise that serves to alienate your valuable customer base. At ModSquad, we’ve been a vital part of many effective engagement plans, from providing top-notch customer support to developing full-scale digital strategies. We’ll make sure our clients never turn a deaf ear to their followers; while some feedback may not always be pleasant, it comes with the territory when you listen to the voice of the customer. And to us, that’s the most rewarding sound of all.

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