Exploring the question 'what is innovation?', understanding when it works and identifying pitfalls. Guest post.
It’s hard to understand customer feedback when we are intent on doing our jobs. So, it’s difficult to improve our products and services to beat our competitors.
It’s natural, we know we do a brilliant job within the constraints of our business. So, we resolve their concern and move on, though some organisations don’t even do that! But it isn’t enough. You can use customer feedback to improve your performance and offering. To improve your financial performance.
If you don’t understand the Voice of the Customer – talk with them
When your customers feel let down, do you feel they don’t understand your service or way of working? Many people feel frustrated when customers ask for something different. Do you fall into the same trap?
Instead, pay attention to complaints and negative feedback to turn around performance.
When I worked in FMCG customers returned one of our products saying it was the ‘wrong colour’. It only came in one colour and everyone assumed the consumers (or store staff) were mistaken. But, I talked to customers and they told me our product looked dirty. I gathered more information. Then, I worked out the cost of the returns and highlighted the potential for lost sales. We re-coloured the whole product range and ‘wrong colour’ returns faded away.
See customer feedback as your next adventure
Years ago my credit card provider blocked my card when I was travelling in the US. I was unhappy and called the provider when I got home. The conversation went a little like this:
“We didn’t know you were travelling, of course we stopped the transaction – what do you want us to do?”
“I want to tell you I am going overseas.”
“But we can’t do that, because if your card was used fraudulently you would be liable.”
This conversation could have given the credit card company a chance to innovate. Instead, they lost a customer. By the way, my next provider didn’t let me tell them I was travelling either. But an operator promised to pass on the feedback, so I signed up.
Did you notice the operator invented a reason to justify poor service? This is surprisingly common and stops companies becoming the business their customers love.
It is hard to be impartial, that is why a third-party can make the world of difference
A CX consultant can analyse your customer feedback, for example, a list of complaints, website feedback or call centre comments. You will get recommendations for product and service improvements and an estimate of benefits. You can expect
- cash savings,
- higher revenues,
- bigger margins,
- time savings,
- and all the benefits of customers compelled to return to you and tell their friends how great you are.
Or maybe you don’t have any data. A CX consultant can test your product or service, giving you structured feedback – a secret shopper, if you will. Or perhaps you would prefer real users to test out your offer? A CX consultant can set that up too.
Even if your feedback is ‘okay’ or ‘good’ you would benefit from a review. Scratch that, if your feedback is ‘okay’ or ‘good’ a review could propel you into the big time.
Use the creativity of your customers to innovate
Can your customer-facing staff tell you what customers are saying? Does it influence your new products and services? A CX consultant could build a process to identify improvements in your offering and the next big thing. If that seems crazy, look at this post for more. [Third-party link – opens in new window]