We’ve all been there. You’re trying to get something done, say ask a question, file a complaint, buy something, contact someone, etc., and the process is just not working. It surprises me how often it happens in an age where it’s so easy for people to give feedback. Automated contact forms, emails, social media channels, they’re all great for letting an organization know that we had trouble accessing their product or service and would like to see an improvement made. So, if it’s so easy to give feedback, why are the processes still so broken? Maybe, just maybe, it’s that the companies we’re talking to just aren’t listening.
As a consumer there’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to buy something and having hurdles put in your way by the company you intend to buy it from. Here are 5 ways you can make sure you’re company isn’t one of these culprits:
- Make sure that you are actually making it easy for customers (and potential customers) to submit feedback. In my opinion, when you lose business there’s nothing worse than not knowing why. Don’t be afraid to ask people what didn’t work for them, so you can avoid the same problem in the future.
- Don’t take the feedback personally. We all know about those customer services disasters where a business owner lashes out at a customer on Yelp for giving negative feedback. Evaluate the feedback and do what you can to make it right. Some people will never be happy, but they can still be dealt with in a diplomatic way.
- Create a process for collecting and analyzing the feedback. If customers are submitting feedback you’d better be doing something useful with it. I once worked with a company that had binders and binders of customer feedback forms that someone simply punched holes in and filed away, never to be looked at again. This is not a helpful use of customer feedback. At the least, create spreadsheets for compiling the data so you can begin to see patterns.
- Use the data you’ve compiled to make decisions about how to improve the customer experience. It seems like a pretty simple concept, but you’d be surprised about how many companies aren’t doing this. They collect the feedback, they recognize the patterns, and then they sit there and do exactly the same thing they’ve always done.
- Implement changes that will deal with the problems customers are consistently having. This could be anything from making sure the customer journey is what the customer wants it to be (more on that later), to making sure your messaging matches your reality, to tweaking designs to make trouble spots more user friendly.
If you’re constantly left wondering why customers are leaving your site or store without buying or asking questions, start asking them questions. Something that you might think is obvious and easy to use may be causing outsiders a lot of trouble and discouraging them from buying.