If you’re having a bad experience in a restaurant and decide to never return, do you tell the manager? Or do you just leave and commit to never going back?
If your clothes are seldom ready when promised by your dry cleaner, do you tell him why you’ve decided to go elsewhere? Or do you just find another cleaner?
If the company you purchased a product from makes it difficult to return it without you jumping through hoops, do you make a complaint or vow to never buy from them again?
Why are you losing customers?
The fact is, most customers don’t tell you why they left, they simply go away and find someone else to do business with. You’ve lost their trust and they’re unwilling to take another chance with you. They’d rather take a chance with a new vendor than risk getting disappointed again.
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew they were unhappy ahead of time, so you had an opportunity to fix the problem? Sure, it would. But that doesn’t always happen.
I’m going to give you 8 simple questions you can ask any customer that will give you some of the best feedback you’ll ever get. But first, here is a statistic that I’ve shared before:
91% of customers who are unhappy with a brand will just leave without complaining – Esteban Kolsky, founder and principle of Thinkjar.
Well, maybe you have been getting customer feedback but didn’t listen. You thought it wasn’t a big deal when you undercooked the food or the clothes weren’t ready when promised. “It happens”, right? And you believe your return policy is satisfactory as is since few people actually return stuff anyway (Hmmm, I wonder why that is?).
Sometimes feedback comes in the form of closed body language:
- Arms crossed across their chest
- As smirk instead of a smile
- Furrowed brow
- Short, abrupt phrases
Or, the words they say:
- Well, ok
- It’s “fine” (something we never want to hear from a spouse)
- It doesn’t matter
Did you hear that feedback? Or were you expecting a printed form or comment card instead? Unhappy customers seldom take the time to fill out comment cards. They just want out!
Some customers are very forgiving, but others aren’t. The latter has higher expectations than your present standards provide for. Even if they gave you feedback, did you do anything with it?
They want to give you another chance to keep their business. They want to keep coming back but you must do better and earn their trust again. They’re telling you what they want and what they need to continue doing business with you.
All you must do is listen.
Never shy away from feedback. Take it as truth. But, sometimes the truth hurts, that’s why we shy away from it. Few can accept that they are failing their customers and instead, place blame elsewhere.
Getting customer feedback
So instead of emailed evaluation forms or comment cards, how do you get customer feedback that is timely and actionable? Simply ask them.
Here are eight sample questions that can easily be asked during any customer interaction
1. Are you happy with the selection we carry or are there other styles or colors you’d like to see?
2. Did we make it easy for you to shop with us today?
3. Do you believe the products/service we offer is worth the price you pay?
4. Would you be willing to pay more if we could customize or personalize it for you?
5. Are we meeting your expectations?
6. We’re working hard to improve our customer service. Have you noticed a difference?
7. Would you recommend us to a friend or neighbor?
8. Is there anything else we can do better?
These questions are not one-and-done. You must ask a follow-up to identify what they like or dislike so you can drill down on exactly what you need to continue doing or start changing.
If they love what your doing, life is grand. If not, get ready for the bad news.
Bad news is painful and so are complaints. But customer feedback is a gift that will help you keep your customers.
Remember: A little pain today is better than losing your customers to your competition.
Can you hear that?
This post originally appeared on the author’s website and is republished here with permission.