Your business is only as successful as the customers it has. Let's face it. You started your company to fulfill customer needs by offering products or services that they value. How do you know that your products are serving their intended purpose? How well do you understand your customers? What are they looking for as they buy your products? Are your customers frustrated by some aspect of your operations?
Finding these answers is vital to the success of any early stage startup. Customer feedback can provide those answers. You need to gather actionable and meaningful insights from your customers to find out what they really think about your brand or products.
What is Customer Feedback?
Customer feedback is simply the information your customers give back to the business regarding their experiences with your products. Its main aim is to help you understand your customers' levels of satisfaction and use that information to improve your products.
If you are an early stage startup, it's especially important to jump at every opportunity to talk to your target audience. Customer feedback is one of the drivers of long-term growth. It is your chance to learn from the customer and use that information to give them the products they really want.
Different Types of Customer Feedback
Irrespective of your concerns about customer feedback, there's no denying that it's a crucial aspect of your growth strategy. You need to be moderate when it comes to collecting this feedback, and restrict its collection to three or four times a year. There are four main types of customer feedback:
Brand loyalty feedback: How many customers are only loyal to your brand?
Product and brand health feedback: How do your products rank among your target audience?
Customer preference feedback: Which aspects of a customer's interaction with your brand did they enjoy most?
Customer satisfaction feedback: Are your customers' needs being fulfilled by your products?
You should start collecting feedback at the product development stage to ensure that by the time your products hit the market, they have been adequately tested.
Best Strategies to Collect Customer Feedback
Some of the best ways to collect feedback include:
Social media reviews
Follow-up phone calls
Customer feedback forms
Net promoter score curves
Using review sites
Before collecting feedback from a customer, find out the mode they would be most comfortable with. Keep in mind that they are setting aside a moment of their time to answer your questions. Ensuring their comfort in your methodology is the least you can do.
One-on-one surveys, focus groups and follow-up phone calls are the most preferred personal feedback collection methods, while long-form surveys are the least liked.
Top Reasons to Collect Customer Feedback
Keep Current Business
Bill Gates once said that your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. An average of96 percent of unhappy customerswill not complain, but 91 percent will leave for your competitors. Here's the kicker. Every dissatisfied customer will tell between nine and 15 friends. That's lost business!
By collecting and using customer feedback, you are able to keep customers happy, making them less susceptible to pitches from your competitors.
Get More New Business
Word of mouth from your clients is a very cheap and effective marketing tool. Happy customers will recommend your business to their friends, increasing your business without you spending much on advertising.
Customer feedback can help you right what you are doing wrong and stick to what you are doing right, ensuring you keep your customers happy.
Build a Strong Brand Reputation
It is difficult to quantify the effect of a good brand on your business. However, there's no denying that a good reputation will always be a plus.
A good way to build your reputation is considering your customer's feedback. Modeling your business around that feedback ensures that it reflects what your customers want.
Expand Your Product Range
Customer feedback can provide your business with wonderful opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. The best time to market a new product to your customer is when they are happy with the current product.
You can also tell when the customer is not happy and the reasons why they are not. You can then modify, coming up with a new product to solve the problems brought to light by customer feedback.
Motivate Your Employees
Receiving praise from your customers will motivate your employees to continue with their good work. On the other hand, negative feedback can be channeled to encourage employees to be better, improving your services.
How Should You Use Customer Feedback?
Collecting feedback from your customers without taking action is a waste of time. You need to close the feedback loop by translating that information into useful action points.
Customer feedback can be used to;
Improve your customer service.
Work on your product portfolio.
Act on negative feedback and retain disgruntled customers.
Identify your perfect niche.
Identify and nurture potential brand ambassadors.
LEGO Ideasis a great example of how customer feedback can be used to give customers what they want. Customers are allowed to submit their designs on the site. Those that get more than 10,000 votes undergo a review, after which all approved designs are produced.
Your customers know exactly what they want. You just have to listen to them. Don't discard outdated feedback. Instead, store it in your archives. You never know when it will come in handy.
Customer Feedback's Role in an Early Stage Startup
Feedback, positive or negative, if used correctly, can help your business gain customers, improve your brand reputation, expand your reputation and motivate your employees.
Your customers are undoubtedly one of your greatest assets when it comes to branding. They have used your product, and they have first-hand experience with it. This makes them best suited to act as ambassadors for your product and give you pointers on what you need to improve.
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