How much do you know about your customers? Knowing personal tastes, preferences, income bracket and birthdays of your customers forms just the beginning of understanding customer needs. Often, the challenge is to study the data properly to understand what is effective and what does not make any sense.
While the right data helps, it also boils down to how you collect the data.
Formulating an effective customer feedback management system isn’t an easy job. It requires in-depth understanding of what your customers are looking for and what you can do to meet their expectations. With increasing competition across all the major domains, it is essential that you deliver a great customer experience to have a profitable run on the market.
Despite having everything right, you might be experiencing difficulty in meeting the expectations of your customers. By finding out the issues and then resolving them, you’d not only win over the confidence of your existing customers but also get new ones, thanks to word of mouth.
Here is a list of some of the major challenges businesses face that hinders customer experience.
Delivering consistent customer experience across multiple channels: Customers no longer evaluate your services based on individual touch-points. Instead, they look at the service, on the whole, as a single entity. Regardless of whether you’re interacting with the customer in the store, via email or through a phone call, they should receive a consistently good experience.
Systemizing the ‘customer feedback process’: Customer feedback is an essential component of any business that can help you in providing a better customer experience. Voice of the customer is important in finding out issues and helping you find a solution. Experts suggest implementation of three feedback loops that can help gather opinions of customers.
Choosing the right technology: With the help of modern technology, not only can feedback be collected faster but also escalated to the concerned departments without any delay. However, if you’re looking to make the most of this technology, you’d have to decipher a new plan that makes the process of gathering feedback and then processing it a lot easier.
How can Zonka Feedback come to your rescue?
Zonka Feedback is a tablet – based feedback that is capable of performing in-depth analysis of feedbacks that have been given by customers. From customer satisfaction measurement to customer satisfaction analytics, this single app is competent to handle everything by itself. Once you’ve registered your business with this app, all you need to do is login to your account and hand over the tablet to a customer.
Features offered by Zonka that can boost your customer experience
- Capture on-premise feedback: By placing touchscreen tablets with Zonka Feedback capture app at all major checkpoints, you’d be able to collect customer feedback in real time.
- Maintain detailed records: Zonka Feedback would also allow you to maintain a detailed record comprising of your customer information and their preferences.
- Issue escalation: The Zonka feedback management app allows business owners to filter feedback on the basis of complaints. You can also assign tasks depending on this feedback.
- Manage your teams efficiently: This app can help all your teams collaborate and collaborate better from multiple locations.
- Accountability: Your staff members would no longer be able to hide their incapability or no good effort will go unseen if feedback is captured using a tablet device.
Challenges in collecting genuine feedback
Customer experience cannot be improved if there is no way by which you’re collecting feedback. Here are some of the problems that companies face, which prove to be a hindrance in offering great customer experience.
- Lack of tools: When there is no system in place that is capable of gathering authentic customer feedback.
- Lack of a unified way of maintaining customer data: You wouldn’t be able to maintain customer information and sales trends, owing to lack of a management system.
- Difficulties in an escalation of issues: When you wouldn’t get to know about critical issues, how would you raise a ticket and find a solution to it?
- Issues being hidden by staff: Your employees might hide complaints that highlight their incompetence.
- No customer satisfaction analytics: How would you assess customer satisfaction analytics when there is no data to begin with, in the first place?
An ineffective feedback management system is as good as not having one at all. Zonka Feedback is a one-stop solution to all your needs about customer feedbacks and analytics. With information obtained from this, you’d certainly be able to address all the critical issues and provide timely solutions.
To know, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Time to change the way you take feedback.
More and more companies are waking up to the fact that customer experience is an area demanding substantial investment of time, money and effort in their business. And for good reasons, as these figures reported in leading studies indicate:
82% of people stopped doing business with a company after a bad experience
Over 79% of people told others about their bad experience, 55% went online to vent their anger, and 66% wanted to discourage others from buying from the company
85% of people agreed to paying more for a better customer service experience
55% are willing to recommend a company for their good experience, above product or price
The report went on to mention that a negative experience in receiving the service was a bigger cause of switching brands than poor quality of the service itself
Clearly, a superior experience means a higher NPS ©, more customer loyalty and an increase in average customer spending – translating to more revenue per customer. In the long run, a superior customer experience would go on to differentiate your brand’s offerings from those of your competitors, affording a significant competitive advantage.
The other part of the question is where the investments need to be made. Successful businesses have since long made investments to improve customer experience in the following ways:
We discussed how a customer-centric company makes effort to hire customer-centric people as staff. This has the twin benefits of a better service experience for the customers and higher employee job satisfaction, leading to lower employee turnover and a reduction in the costs involved with training and recruitment of new employees.
Strong customer loyalty programs
Rewarding regular patrons will provide a big incentive for your customers to spend more and visit more frequently. It is a known fact that more business from existing customers comes cheaper than attracting new customers.
Reduction of customer effort
An old adage says that customer is king. And to make customers feel like royalty, businesses make efforts on the part of their customers. By making their menus/ service areas less cluttered and more amenable to locating products and support staff, they have effectively made efforts which otherwise their customers would have to make every time they made a purchase.
A superior customer experience would entail quick resolution of problems, something that would require fast and seamless transfer of information across the business. It may not suffice if a customer’s feedback is shared once they leave the premises – real-time, on-premise feedback is more valuable in the sense that it allows the business to appease the customer before they leave, eliminating any threat of negative reviews from going online.
While most businesses would be tempted to consider the above as costs, a business focused on improving its customer’s experiences will treat these as investments, and the kinds that pay big dividends.
Successfully running your business in a competitive industry is no easy task. Particularly in the service sector, where customer is king, and more so in the modern age, where information spreads like wildfire and any inconsistencies in service trend on the Internet at the speed of light.
Given that, it appears that customer-centricity of businesses in the service sector is no longer an ambition – it is a need. It is not something that great companies can thrive on – it is something that all companies will need to practice to survive in the game.
We already discussed how customer experience may well be the cornerstone of the Blue-Ocean strategy in the customer-service industry. What remains to be discussed, however, is how your business can go on to become customer-centric. Here are six things you need to watch out for once you decide to adopt a customer centric approach for your business, if not already done so:
Clearly establish and commit to your brand value
The very first thing you need to focus on is the promise that your brand makes, and set up procedures to consistently deliver it. This is crucial, because brands are essentially promises. And a company that consistently delivers on this promise will by default, gain strong brand recall among its customers.
For example, a budget restaurant associates its brand with economic pricing, attracting customers by the promise of “low prices”. Over time, sensing shifts in the industry, it may desire to improve its service offering, but if it dilutes its original promise of “economic meal”, it will witness a steady decline in its customer base.
Integrate all your business units
The first step in making your business customer-centric is probably to integrate all of your (seemingly) disjoint business units into one cohesive army dedicated to providing the best customer service.
The company’s goal of customer-centricity must be clearly communicated throughout all business units, particularly the front-line staff, which actually interact with the customers and act as representatives of the company.
The same message must be communicated to the hiring team, to ensure that only the most customer-oriented candidates join the organization. An on-board training program upon recruitment will strengthen this philosophy. In short, customer-centricity is a paradigm shift that will require all hands on deck.
The senior management must be sensitized about the importance of investment in systems and procedures to enhance customer experience and proper feedback management.
In short, it is imperative to have all hands on deck to achieve thorough customer-centricity.
The devil is in the details
Putting your customers in the centre of everything you do would require paying acute attention to the minutest of details that other businesses wouldn’t. This will create an indelible impression on your customers about their experience, effectively insulating them from an aggressive competitor snatching them away with lucrative campaigns.
As an example, a hotel looking to make itself more customer-centric would go an extra step in hospitality by perhaps placing a set of fresh flowers in its appointed rooms to welcome its guests.
This point overlaps to some extent with the concept of “customer delight” discussed earlier, but differs slightly in the sense that it can be achieved at a fraction of the cost involved in delighting a customer.
Embrace technology to incorporate customer feedback into the business model
The customer-centric culture thus developed will produce the best results when supplemented with customer feedback. Well, by default, a customer-centric organization must obviously incorporate customer feedback to know how well it is satisfying its customer’s requests.
But our problem is a little bit more complicated than that. If you are to truly rise above the competition in terms of customer service, you need reliable systems that can not just collect customer feedback, but quickly slice and dice the collected data to quickly know which areas you are clearly lacking in, which areas you are really doing well in, and how the various units fit in providing the customer the best of experience when dealing with your company. This information gathered via incisive customer feedback management processes can help you refine your customer service strategy accordingly. Key metrics such as the NPS © may be employed to measure the success of your approach.
A robust customer feedback collecting and reporting mechanism with these features is a vital component to enable customer-centricity in any business.
Develop the culture
Ultimately, it is the people that run and affect the organization. All technologies, procedures and brands amount to nothing if not accompanied with and attitude of “putting the customer above all”. A systematic culture of treating the customer like royalty is crucial to any business wishing to go customer-centric.
A very crude example of this culture would be the staff members of the Taj hotel, who selflessly came in the way of flying bullets to save their guests of a few hours. Was their ultimate sacrifice due to the expectation of a very generous tip, or the threat of some punishment from their management? No – their sacrifice was the epitome of hospitality that has become a part of the legendary history of Taj hotels worldwide.
No customer gets left behind
Here are some statistics about the need for customer retention and the potential magnitude of negative customer experiences:
- A 10% increase in customer retention rate translates to a 30% increase in the value of a company
- It is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an old customer
- It takes 12 positive customer reviews to make up for one negative experience
Word of mouth travels geometrically – even exponentially in the digital age. As such, any business having an ambition to become customer-centric would be wise to implement system wherein any customer’s grievances are resolved instantly, while they are still in the process of transacting with the business.
The importance of becoming customer-centric cannot be stressed enough in today’s competitive scenario. But managers are often at sea when it comes to implementing it is practice. They key lies in identifying technologies that are available to help them address this gap – and absorbing them into their business model, along with steady development of a culture and attitude of always placing customer before self.
Once you have established that customer service is paramount to successfully running your service business, the obvious next step is to devise systems and procedures that can help you effectively learn, combat and manage customer grievances and any shortfalls in service levels from customer expectations.
This is a complex process, though not overly so, and can be succinctly summarised in the following points:
The very first step is to view each customer as a potential detractor, and thus being concerned about any untoward reviews from them. Studies have shown that a single negative review can offset 12 positive reviews. This puts an ever greater pressure on management and support staff to be actively involved with each and every customer, so that no customer leaves disgruntled. The caveat here is that being concerned alone won’t solve the problem, unless supplemented with the following actions.
Installing effective feedback tools
An effective listening to voice of customers would work only when effective tools to collect feedback are in place. While the definition of ‘efficiency’ in the context of feedback collection tools may be subjective, there are three things that any feedback collection mechanism must provide for it to be deemed worthy of consideration:
- Ability to capture vast amount of data – Only an innovative and unconventional feedback collection method will excite customers to leave their feedback.
- Ability to manage all collected data – A massive amount of data is meaningless if not stored in a format conducive to drawing business insights and trends of customer behaviour.
Ability to allow immediate addressal of customer grievances
As important as it is to store and record trends of customer behaviour, it is equally essential to solve service-related issues that customers may have, while they are still on-premises as this can eliminate the possibility of a customer venting their dissatisfaction online. A study has gone so far as to report that 82% of customers say that the most important factor leading to a great customer experience is having their issues resolved quickly.
Given that a manager’s focus is on effectively listening to his customers, a logical conclusion would be the installation of a strong and reliable feedback collection procedure.
Understanding your customers and their complaints
This is basically a continuation of the definition of an effective feedback collection system, but merits a separate mention. Immediate addressal of customer complaints becomes feasible only with a thorough knowledge of what the exact issue is and where the grievance has arisen from. Gaps in service quality can be plugged in only with an in-depth understanding of why and how the lapse in service occurred in the first place. Complete data capturing of customers can help in a more robust loyalty module allowing personalized service to regular patrons.
This points to the development of a process that naturally tends towards a “systematic listening” and address of customer grievances.
Empowering customer-concerned employees
With the installation of a sound feedback collection system, comes the added responsibility of delegating responsibilities appropriately to the front-line, customer facing staff members. Doing so will ensure that all customer grievances are handled in a timely and accurate fashion.
An effective feedback collection tool, should, therefore, provide a means for assigning tasks to staff members, particularly the customer-centric staff. It would be even better if this mechanism could work in real-time, thereby resolving customer complaints quickly and ensuring cent per cent customer satisfaction.
Overall monitoring of customer’s behaviour
With on-premise resolution of customer grievances taken care of, the real value of a customer feedback system can be extracted from its ability to track trends in customer satisfaction and behaviour over time.
Customers rate a business over several parameters – pricing, service quality, attitude of staff while interacting with customers to name a few. Their overall satisfaction of interacting with the business will then, not be limited to just the quality of service provided but will depend on a delicate balance of these parameters, based on what weight they assign to each of them. An important thing to note is that these preferences may change over time and vary across customer segments. In an effort to keep all customers equally satisfied over time, these changes must be carefully measured and appropriate actions taken.
An effective feedback system will allow business managers to understand their customers changing preferences and make business decisions in accordance with those changes. This will truly include the customer’s voice in implementing business strategies.
Getting involved personally
Last but certainly not the least, nothing makes a customer’s day more than the pleasure of having his issue resolved instantly, and that too with the knowledge that their servers took a “personal” interest in their service. Establishing a personal connection with customers is becoming a vitally important aspect of service-oriented businesses.
Therefore, merely assigning customer complaints to staff members may no longer help the business acquire and retain customers, but taking a “personal” interest in the resolution of their customer’s issues will. Since this personal connection will help the customers achieve a sense of belongingness with the business and there will then be a higher likelihood of them returning again and again.
An effective methodology to listen to customer’s voice, then, remains incomplete without a mechanism to getting involved personally with the customers.
Managing a business that does not sell tangible goods but intangible service can be tricky, but a task that can be accomplished if the basics are done right – listen to what the customers are saying, respond effectively and analyse their feedback to make sure things don’t go wrong again.
Getting to know what your customers think about you is an essential for the long term growth and strategy of your business. Only when you know yours customer’s opinions, likes and dislikes, can you tailor your offerings to give them the perfect experience and make them wanting to come back again and again.
The matter assumes even more importance in service related businesses, since they do not have any rock solid product to fall back on, rather dependent entirely on their customer’s reviews and ratings. It is no surprise then, that most of the restaurants ask their customers (or rather, guests) to fill in a feedback form after they have completed their meals. The restaurant managers consider this a part of their daily routine, and more often than not, these collected feedback forms get filed up in thick volumes, never to be seen again. Hardly any analysis is done with feedback forms submitted over paper.
The second and much more worrying issue with these paper based feedback forms is a delay in addressing the guest’s complaints. An angry guest walking out of the restaurant can do more damage than you may think. The rapidly expanding social media is becoming a serious threat by providing a platform to disgruntled customers to vent out their anger in public domain. And the spiraling effect of social media networks, wherein a single comment or post can traverse across millions of screens with just a few clicks is even more disturbing for owners and managers of service related businesses, particularly restaurants. Word of mouth, they may be aware, is effective and now in the digital age, has become quick and omnipotent.
This is where digital customer feedback platforms come into the picture. A short feedback form presented to the guests towards the end of their visit can go some way in helping them vent their frustration over minor lapses in services inside the confines of the business, and not in full public view over the Internet. While restaurants have been capturing feedback with the traditional pen-and-paper method, an online feedback capturing tool may well be the next big thing to take this industry by storm. Following are few of the benefits offered by an online feedback tool compared to its low-tech counterpart:
Imagine going to a restaurant and being presented with a boring sheet of paper with boxes and columns along with an even more boring looking pen to fill it up. Now imagine being presented with a cool new gadget (tablet/ iPhone) in which the customer can convey his experiences with a flourish of his hands and (literally) a swipe of his fingers. No points for guessing that the latter option is going to be way cooler for the modern generation of customers.
Such a feedback form can be easily linked up with an SMS alert service that can be programmed to send an SMS alert to the staff on duty when a negative review is being filled in, so that the concerned staff can resolve the matter with the customer without any delay, thus preventing a customer from leaving the premises feeling disgruntled.
With an electronic feedback collection system, gone are the days of filing up pompous paper reports in thick, dusty files and losing important feedback related reports in the endless depths of musty reams of paper. All of your data can be stored over the cloud (an online information storage and retrieval mechanism) from where it can be accessed easily awhile maintaining utmost privacy of sensitive data.
Keeping track of your loyal patrons and giving them customized service may be the key to retaining them for the long haul. With electronic feedback collection systems, collecting information about loyal customers becomes far easier, almost automatic in fact, as the program recognizes newly entered names from its database and adds frequenters to it. The program goes a step further by recording their preferences and favorite orders. They may even be asked if they have any seating preferences, and reservations for them may be made before their next visit. Introduction of gamification can also induce guests to increase their visits and purchases, or participate in promotional events.
Routine work can become mundane, while humans have a tendency to be attracted to situations that encourage excitement and stimulate competitive environments. Gamification is the concept of applying game based theories to non-gaming environments. This can be particularly useful in service based businesses, where servers have to be involved in the boring aspect of fulfilling guest’s wishes day in and day out. Introducing game-based concepts may include- awarding points to servers on their performance/ awarding points to various branches of the restaurant for the business attracted/ loyalty points for guests to encourage them to participate more etc. These may be applied even without an electronic feedback mechanism, but the presence of one would make their implementation far easier.
Analysis and Reports
Saved the best for the last. This is where the true power of online feedback collection lies. Feedback collected electronically can be easily sliced, diced and mined to gather interesting trends and analysis about what customers like, or want corrected. Most online feedback capturing tools come with in-depth reporting and powerful analytics that can help the manager separate the wheat from the chaff at first glance and pinpoint the problem areas to elevate their business to greater heights.