You may not know it, or see it, but the world’s largest brands put forth a substantial amount of resources to ensure they know what their customers are thinking or saying, at any given time – otherwise known as customer feedback.
Why do they make customer feedback a focus? Because if executed correctly, it can provide that brand a competitive edge in their industry or area. With customer feedback, they can better understand areas for improvement, provide key business insights, and optimize various workflows for higher efficiencies.
What is customer feedback?
So, what is customer feedback? According to Business Dictionary, customer feedback is “information coming directly from customers about the satisfaction or dissatisfaction they feel with a product or services”.
As I’m sure you can imagine, there are many advantages of collecting customer feedback:
- Improvement of products or services
- Uncover flaws or broken links in the chain
- Gather insight into multiple areas of the business
- Better understand employee performance
- Measure your customers satisfaction
The benefits of collecting customer feedback are nearly endless. It’s arguably one of the best method for collecting enough data to make informed, data-driven, decisions about your business. But, it’s often times a difficult exercise for many businesses to find the time to perform.
The small business disadvantage
Each day, millions and millions of customers receive a product or service from any given business – large and small, businesses keep operating. But, only a fraction of those customers are truly understood by their respective businesses. And out of those businesses that do have a basic understanding of their customer (generally larger firms), many of them don’t have accurate data to reflect how the customer really feels about their experience with the business.
Larger firms generally have the budget and resources to send out surveys, conduct in-depth market intelligence, and build accurate personas of their customers. For smaller businesses, it’s more difficult to find time with the naturally limited amount of resources (namely people and money).
So how can small businesses level the playing field and collect customer feedback?
Turning online reviews into quality customer feedback
One of the easiest ways to combat that small business disadvantage when it comes to customer feedback, is to collect your data through your online reviews. That is, collect and analyze the reviews your customers leave on sites like Google, Yelp, or Facebook.
The process is easy, really. Simply visit your business’ various review pages once a week, once a month, or whenever you have time and keep a spreadsheet that categorizes the various parts of your business that the review reflects (in a spreadsheet’s row).
For example, if you run a car dealership, you might categorize the following:
From there, copy and paste the comments into one column, and give it a rating from 1-5 (1 being poor experience and 5 being superb) in the column just right of the comments.
Just like that, you’ve constructed a place that houses your customer feedback.
Keep in mind, if you use an effective online review management platform, like Podium, this process becomes a lot less hands-on and can actually notify you every time a new review happens and show you your reviews from multiple review sites in one dashboard, therefore decreasing your time spent scouring various review sites.
Regardless your method, online reviews can be an inexpensive but highly effective, way to collect and manage your customer feedback.
Conclusion on customer feedback
Customer feedback is an integral part of any successful business. The feedback can help you better understand your business, see key business insights, and help form educated business decisions that can provide your business a competitive edge.
The problem is, for many small businesses, the thought of collecting customer feedback is out of the question. But, with online reviews it doesn’t have to be. Online reviews can provide the same level of feedback, if not more in-depth, than many large enterprises are collecting through multi-million dollar surveys.
If approached with an online review management platform or an organized data collection approach, you’ll have a much better understanding of your customer’s wants and needs, how your business is performing, and the satisfaction your business provides, in no time.
Request a demo to see how Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business collect 15x more reviews than traditional platforms. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.