Every organization, regardless of the industry, lives or dies on their performance. Fundamentals like providing a great product or service and reliable customer service and adapting to the inevitable changes within each industry are among the best practices all experts can agree upon. But to customers, one simple act stands above the rest: The Follow-Up.
Perhaps you’ve encountered a product or service that you truly valued but felt there was some small change, some simple improvement you would make, if it were up to you. You’re not alone. The problem is that most consumers – personal or business – simply don’t take the time to reach out, because to them it’s a minor issue, and they’re busy: It’s nothing worth bothering the manufacturer or provider about. And besides, feedback is often politely acknowledged and logged into your customer experience profile to be ignored.
But here’s the rub: Even issues that seem minor to the consumer – a small complication, or missing instructions, or trouble navigating your website, or a possible product improvement – could be the key to satisfying many of your other customers. In fact, it could be an opportunity to change your customers’ experiences entirely.
Taking the time to reach out to your client base, whether through email, text, telephone, or snail mail, demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in your customers’ experiences with your organization.
And following up on their comments, no matter how small, can neutralize distractors and turn advocates into zealots!
Of course, following through on customer feedback is easier said than done in large organizations, because each customer may be one of thousands, and the recommended changes may affect departments over which you have no control and with which you may have little contact. But obstacles notwithstanding, high quality customer care is still achievable. One option would be to pass your client-experience interactions over to your organization’s Customer Care team. Involving a dedicated care team allows your organization to create a more personal experience for your consumer. Another option would be to investigate the root cause of the comment and champion the customer’s feedback or suggestion within your organization.
When responding to customer comments, be sure to personalize your message: include the customer’s name, succinctly summarize their feedback, let them know you appreciate the faith they place in your organization (as demonstrated by their years of patronage), and tell them what steps you will take to ensure their voice is heard.
Likewise, when requesting feedback, avoid generic emails. Instead, include their name, their length of patronage, and a signature block providing the name of a staff contact who is empowered to follow up. And while some may argue that many customers open feedback requests, scan them, and delete them, my point is that your real target audience comprises those consumers I spoke about earlier, the ones who may have an issue but choose not to initiate a complaint or make a suggestion. These are the customers who are more likely to take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback. The simple act of reaching out may spark a meaningful discussion about their customer experience, forcing them to recall a pesky issue they may have had with their purchase, or a minor challenge navigating your site, and gives them an opportunity to let you know how you could provide a more seamless customer experience. By initiating contact, you lift the burden of initiating the interaction from the consumers shoulders.
Asking for feedback, listening to customers, and following up on their comments work together to demonstrate that every customer’s feedback is important to your organization and every customer receives the response due.
Each organization is unique, and every organization has room for improvement. And it’s wise to focus on issues you could improve and not those which are out of reach due to budgetary or operational constraints. But if keeping your organization strong and maintaining a loyal client base is your top priority, then taking the time to listen might just be the difference between your organization and your competitors.
Follow up, interact, and adjust.
Holding the title of Coordinator of Accredited Provider and Member Services, Jessica is charged with handling all member and prospective member inquires directly related to their account. She aides prospective members with any questions they may have in regards to our accreditation process.
With over 10 years of customer service and member service experience, representing the front line of IACET provides her with the opportunity to assist all of our valued providers and individual members to the best of her ability.
Jessica has also been appointed as the staff liaison for the Awards Committee as well as the Membership Committee.