Is Your Feedback Getting Flushed Down the Drain?

“Were you satisfied with the support you received? Please complete this short survey to help us improve our customer service.” The fact is that we’re all inundated with survey requests just like this one from every company we do business with. (And NumberBarn is no exception. We too ask our customers to rate their experience and offer their feedback.)

This might sound a little nerdy, but when I’m asked to complete a survey, I often use it as a social experiment — especially when I’ve had a particularly difficult experience with a company. Will my feedback be considered, or will it be flushed down the toilet? More often than not, it feels like the latter.

As a Customer Support leader, the thought that we could treat our own customers this way keeps me up at night.

One of our customers recently responded to one of our surveys stating that they often reply to business surveys with thoughtful feedback, sometimes positive and sometimes negative, but they almost never receive a response. As a company that takes great pride in listening to our customers and making meaningful connections with them, I just couldn’t help but reach out to this customer.

In my interaction, I shared the two things we do with every survey response we receive from our customers. Here they are:

1. We celebrate the positive

Any time a customer indicates that they are satisfied with our service and leaves a comment, we post those responses to a channel in Slack. This gives our entire staff the opportunity to read kind/happy/ecstatic words from our customers and celebrate the team member(s) that made it all happen.

We’re also mindful that sometimes customers are happy with the service but still have an issue or suggestion. We keep our eye out for those responses and aim to address their issues. Believe it or not, some customers care about our business enough to tell us how we can improve. And we value their feedback. The least we can do is pay attention to that input, thank the customer, and implement those suggestions wherever we are able to. 

We recently had a customer offer insight on our phone number “Search Tips” on our website. We took note and asked our dev team to improve the visibility of the button while we work on any changes to clarify the wording. He took the time to thoroughly explain his perspective. We weighed his suggestions, appreciated his points, and ultimately, made some changes.  

As an extension to this, we also pay attention to feedback on various review sites like Trustpilot and SiteJabber along with all social media outlets. You can tell a lot about a business by the way they interact publicly with their customers.

2. We respond to the negative

When we send out a survey to a customer after a customer support interaction, it’s our belief that we’ve taken care of their issue to the best of our ability. A negative survey response means that there’s either unfinished business or the customer wasn’t happy with the resolution.

Either way, we have alert set-up in our customer support ticketing system, so that any tickets with a dissatisfied survey response are reopened and reviewed by a member of our team. 

As we review this customer feedback, we look for common threads, themes, and trends where we can improve the experience for our customers. For example, we recently set up alerts for customers with more complex porting requirements. This enables our support team to intervene and assist faster, minimizing any delays to porting that number out. 

In addition to categorizing feedback, we respond to nearly every one of these tickets to connect with our customers and resolve any issues they have. And I love this part because customers don’t expect a response. They assume that their feedback falls into a black hole of automation, never evaluated by a human being who actually cares about what they have to say.

We’re in this together

As I mentioned earlier, this lack of engagement is the case with most companies. But here’s the greater reality and one that I shared with the customer I mentioned earlier:

We’re a small business and I firmly believe that if we don’t listen to our customers any chance we get, we won’t be in business long. 

Regardless of the size of your company, from a single staff member to a team of thousands, this statement rings true. At the end of the day, the customer and business relationship is essentially a partnership, and we’re all in it together. 

If you’re reading this and you’re our customer, hopefully, you can attest that we actually care  … about your feedback. In fact, we want your feedback! You took the time to share it so the least we can do is to listen and respond.

If you’re reading this and you own a business, keep listening to the voice of your customers. If you care about their feedback, they will feel heard, respected and understood. And you might just improve your product, services and…dare we say… bottom line.

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Written by

Jeremy Watkin

Jeremy Watkin is Director of Customer Support and Experience at NumberBarn. Not only does he love serving customers, but he's a prolific writer and speaker on the topic and has been recognized numerous times for his thought leadership. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter. His handle is @jtwatkin.

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