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Feedback is a key component of a customer focused company 1

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Peter Thompson

Getting regular feedback from customers in an organised and measured way is one sure method to ensure that service provider remains on their toes as candid reaction from customers will drive continuous improvement. Most companies probably consider they are driven by their customers needs, but I do wonder how much of that is perception rather than tangible feedback. This article looks at modern channels of feedback and its importance.

Getting real feedback is quite a challenge. It takes energy from the customer and if the channel to create the feedback requires a large effort on the customer’s behalf, often they won’t bother. Some companies are using social media as a channel for feedback, but then many customers don’t want to express their opinions publicly.

Additionally, if the company is providing an ongoing regular services, the customer’s opinion about the service provider could differ over time. This change of opinion can often be a result of investing big energy at the start of a relationship, but then, letting the quality of service drift over time as the balance between growing revenues and maintaining existing customers becomes a challenge.

Perhaps the answer lies in becoming a completely customer focused company. That shift means that everything that the company does would be concentrated in providing a better service to customers. But, what does it mean to become a customer company? Given that customers use the services of a service provider, they are in the strongest position to provide feedback, both good and bad. The results can often provide valuable insights into the ongoing quality of the service and the team members providing that service. Being regularly evaluated by customers would be a good way of ensuring that the level of service provided is being monitored on an ongoing basis.

But how to become a customer focused company in today’s world? Once, companies would run surveys or send out market research firms to investigate performance, but today it seems different. Companies develop applications and the interaction with the customer is a continuous process. Well executed systems will track how the customers interact and provide simple mechanisms for feedback.

Regular “how did I do” surveys after delivery of a service could be provided, which can be connected to a dashboard and easily accessible to help improve the service quality of the company. The dashboards that represent the feedback are unemotional and serve as excellent reminders that keep everyone watching.

The same might apply to products. Easy to use feedback systems might provide valuable feedback on a very regular basis. It might help direct how products evolve.

Business is moving so fast today. It really cannot afford long gaps between feedback. Regular updates and response keeps a business alert and quick to address the problems. With well setup metrics, KPIs and notifications when service levels slip out of the pre-defined accepted service level, dashboard should provide the necessary tools for continuous improvement of both products and services supplied.

Opening up channels to effectively provide feedback makes a good sense. Some companies now have feedback buttons on their website and whilst they may not be used so often by the customer, they at least serve as a clear and simple way for the customer to react.

The barrier to making the feedback easy can be achieved through high quality software systems that automate the process of invoking a reaction from the customer. Simple forms with quick response options will certainly help. As more users get mobile, those forms may develop into applications. If even a relatively low response rate is achieved, it will be a much improved indicator and keep a supplier better informed about the services it delivers.

How are your feedback systems?

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About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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  • Vladimir Milanovic

    Good post. I’ve seen iiNet using Net Promoter Score for years as a way to measure customer satisfaction. Recently they said that every per cent increase in NPS has had a measurable positive impact of $1.65 million on the business. That’s a good example.