Customer feedback is critical to any business. After all, a business only exists because it’s solving a problem for its customers. So keeping customers happy and satisfied is at the heart of every business.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO
And how can you know if your customers are happy if you’re not getting feedback from them?
There are several states you could be in when it comes to customer feedback:
- Ignoring your customers (bad!)
- Having casual interactions with your customers
- Actively soliciting feedback from your customers
- Soliciting feedback from customers and acting on that feedback
- Having a process or framework for soliciting and acting on feedback
Hopefully, you’re somewhere between 3 and 5. You can always get better at this process.
We’ve heard from some of our users that they enjoy talking to customers, even without any specific goal in mind – that’s part of why they run businesses in the first place! They love what they do, and they’re always interested to hear from other people who are in that space.
Anecdotally, we notice that these also happen to be some of the most successful merchants with the happiest customers. It’s not hard to see why – a business owner who’s personally inclined to care about her customers will take actions that improve the state of her business.
Research from HBR found that simply asking your customers for feedback improves their perception of you, making them likelier to stick around. I can vouch for this from my personal experience – anytime I’ve been at a coffeeshop and have had pleasant, positive interactions from the baristas or managers, I find myself a little more compelled to come back.
HiverHQ has a nice post about how to act on feedback – identify product improvement areas, feeding the customer feedback into your roadmap, motivate your team and so on. (Sharing happy customer stories is an especially good way to help your employees feel like they aren’t just cranking widgets all day.)
“But some thought leaders say we shouldn’t listen to customers!”
There’s a school of thought (often attributed to Steve Jobs or Henry Ford) that you shouldn’t listen to your customers, because they don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
“Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!'” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.” – Steve Jobs
To me, this sounds more like branding than a legitimate business strategy. After all, Apple’s iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player, and the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone. Apple didn’t make those products on a whim; they were confident that there was a market for what they were making. They definitely did their research. (And… we also don’t spend a lot of time talking about Apple products that failed, such as the Newton.)
There definitely is some truth to the idea that customers aren’t always clear about what they want, and might ask for faster horses. Business owners have a choice:
- Take their words at face value and try to do the impossible
- Dismiss their feedback as meaningless and irrelevant
- Discern the underlying truth (the customer wants to get from point A to point B in less time)
3 is obviously a superior choice!
Use CandyBar to get feedback from your walk-in customers
At CandyBar, we understand the importance and value of getting feedback from customers.
We know how wonderful it is to hear from a happy customer – it’s great for morale when you share it with your team; reminding everyone that they’re doing work that matters.
That’s why we have a feature that makes it easy for your customers to receive feedback from you:
Here’s how it works:
- When your customers enter their number to get a loyalty stamp at your store, they’ll get a message with a link to their digital loyalty card.
- In this message, they’ll also get a “submit feedback” link.
- They can type in their feedback right in their phone browsers, and this feedback will be sent straight to you!
We’ve heard some interesting stories from our users about this feature – one even got a long, late-night love letter from a customer who was especially impressed with a particular barista. You can imagine how that barista felt to receive the message from his boss!
Solicit customer feedback, and share it with your team. CandyBar makes it easier than ever.