When I was a child, my mother always had us write thank you notes when we received a gift. And she was very particular about what we’d say in the note. “Just saying ‘Thank you’ isn’t enough, she’d tell us. “Make sure you tell them what you did with the gift.”
When a customer give your company feedback, they’re giving your company a gift – the gift of free consulting; advice on what you can do to make them a happier customer; what you need to do to make them more loyal; to buy more, and buy more often. They're giving you a chance to keep the conversation going; to engage more with them, to learn how to grow your business.
But too many companies allow the feedback to die on the vine... at least in my experience.
Three decades after my mother gave me that advice; I was sitting in the waiting area at an auto dealership. I was a bothered by the fact that I had to pay them 50 cents to get a cup of coffee, especially since I would be soon paying them over three hundred dollars for brake repairs.
So I expressed my frustration through a “customer feedback” card. I wrote on the card, “Please don’t charge customers for coffee. We give you our business; the least you can do is give us coffee while we’re waiting.”
About ten days later, I received a phone call from the general manager of the dealership. He told me that he read my suggestion, and that he appreciated me taking the time to write it. He also told me that they would no longer be charging customers for coffee.
I immediately had a more favorable view of the dealership, for a couple of reasons:
First, they reached out to me, and said “Thanks.” “Thanks for giving us your feedback.” I complete a lot of customer surveys, but it’s rare that the company actually reaches out to me after the fact, to acknowledge it. (And by the way, an automated email doesn’t count!)
Second, they told me how they used my ideas; that they made a change in the way they do business, because of my suggestion. “Wow,” I thought. They actually listened to me.”
We’re all human, and we crave acknowledgement and validation. Your customers are no different. Don’t pass up an opportunity to validate your customers!
There're two more reasons why you should tell your customers about the changes you made based on their feedback. The third reason is that it’s a great opportunity to engage with your customers in a highly personalized and relevant way. When you have an opportunity to engage with a customer, don’t let the opportunity pass you by!
The fourth reason is good buzz and publicity. When you tell the customer who gave you the feedback you needn’t limit the communication to that single customer. Tweet about it to all of your followers. Share it with your Facebook fans. Let everyone know how responsive you are to your customers’ needs, and the customers will likely continue the conversation for you.
When your customers give you good advice through feedback, thank them for it. And tell how you put their advice to good use. They’ll feel good about that, and they’ll tell others. And before you know it, there will be a lot of people saying great things about you. And your mother will be awfully proud!
When customers give feedback, be a good business citizen, and make your mother proud!