Customer feedback - staff training

Can someone tell me what happens to the feedback that customers provide companies via electronic surveys, brief telephone surveys at the end of a call as well as the odd hard copy feedback questionnaire?  I have completed many in the last three years, both positive and not so positive and to date have not received any follow up, comment, notification to say certain action is being put into place or indeed an apology, if due!

The feedback survey as a tool to gaining insight into how your customers feel about their experience/s they have with your business and therefore how you are doing, When put together to gain insight and achieve defined goals, administered effectively and analyzed against those goals to understand “how are we doing” is a wonderful tool for management decision making as well as for building and motivating individuals and teams.

Have you ever been asked (post experience) by a customer help centre, an insurance company, car company, broadband/internet provider to please “complete a short survey to provide feedback”?  This is not a rare thing in my world.  The number of surveys I have completed are certainly in the 50’s over a three year period.  Of course each survey uses the word “short” which means more often than not you evaluate this in your own terms and decide then and there whether to complete a particular survey or not.   I am not discussing is this a good or bad thing, my point is about surveys and how the results are used/or not and whether you as a customer ever get any feedback from the company to ask for further information to clarify any point, apologize or simply to thank you for the input?

As a training professional and coming from many years of working in the 5* hotel industry, as well as running my own company for many years, I am no stranger to customer feedback questionnaires.  What did we do with questionnaires?  Every morning in the management meeting along with other regular agenda items, we discussed any negative feedback to understand the situation in more detail and decide on any relevant actions.  As for positive customer feedback this was shared by the relevant department head with his or her team to give them an understanding of how they are doing, whilst reinforcing positive behavior as well as motivating the team.

Using the negative experience of the customer our goal was always to build customer loyalty and create a positive experience giving the customer a foundation to at least try us once again.  Actions might have included:

  • Apologizing to the customer
  • Gaining additional information if needed, to understand more clearly
  • Putting actions in place to avoid this situation happening again.  For example, training of relevant personnel, communication of information, updating or changing a system etc)

Why is it that you can complete a survey with the rating of “fair” or “poor” in some categories, but no one ever calls you to find out “why”?

What should I conclude from this?  Do companies not care? Is this simply an organization requirement and therefore a tick box exercise, or is it that organisations are so large now that loosing the odd customer here and there is not important? 



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