By Solomon Thimothy, CEO of OneIMS. A sales and marketing guru who has built a number of successful companies over the last decade. Read more at Thimothy.com.
“How are we doing?”
These four very powerful words can have huge implications on the trajectory of your business, yet business owners treat them like a data piece rather than the center on which your company’s sole focus should circulate.
We have our customer service teams; they do a great job of collecting feedback so that we can improve our systems and our customer experience. But even then you don’t see customer service making major decisions within the company.
Feedback should not just be collected through our customers. How are your employees responding to your organizational workflows? Do they have a chance to be heard? Constant feedback and iteration are essential to growing a successful business — inside and outside of the organization.
Major Benefits To Retaining Feedback
• Helps To Iterate And/Or Change Direction: How many times do business owners look at bringing on a new product or service or making changes to pricing based on the competitor moves when all that truly matters is your customers? With so many factors to focus on, zero in on what your customers need. Take their feedback into account when making major decisions. After all, they are the ones that keep your lights on.
• Credibility, Authenticity And Trust: I’m proud to be able to have tens of customer review videos that reflect the work we’ve done with OneIMS. It helps us build credibility because we have proof that we have helped Fortune 500 companies improve their digital marketing programs and build the test that prospective customers need. Not only that, but we make sure to tell our brand features within each success story.
• Helps Build Internal Moral: Customer feedback and/or testimonials should serve as the “case study” on your own website. Yes, these are great tools for your sales teams, but they also can serve as the standard for how you deliver work for each customer going forward.
When’s The Right Time To Ask
When it comes to giving and receiving feedback within your organization, you want to act swiftly. End-of-the-day check-ins ensure positive actions are rewarded and things that need to be changed are quickly addressed. Obviously, for major decisions such as salaries and raises, end-of-the-quarter reviews can help you alter your organization to better fit the employee and vice versa.
When it comes to customers, the best time to retrieve their feedback is immediately after a transaction. Whether you made an exchange with a product or service, ask for sincere feedback and let your customer know your goal is to always improve, even when you’re already bringing in a 5-star review.
What If It’s Not Positive
If your employees’ feedback is less than spectacular, don’t panic. This is actually a good thing. Perhaps it will come as no surprise, but the biggest problem within any workforce is the inability to effectively communicate. Issues get swept under the rug, and before you know it, your top talent has found a different position within a competitor company. Use less-than-great feedback to find a solution to your employees’ problems. There’s always a way.
A huge sign it’s time to open the door between you and your customers is when you’re seeing a decline in sales. So many entrepreneurs think they can find the problem within, but the answer is almost always outside of the organization. Again, this comes down to a lack of communication or understanding. Are customers leading you on through a sales call only to ghost you when it’s time to take the next step in the transaction? What aren’t they telling you? Be open to analyzing every step of the customer journey to decipher where you’re not able to meet your customers’ needs.
Follow The Market
Customer feedback doesn’t start and end at market research. It isn’t collected once, after a transaction, and most definitely should not be put into a bucket to deal with later. Instead, it should be your entire focus, at all times. It was Jeff Bezos who said Amazon’s competitive advantage is that they are customer-obsessed, and now it is arguably one of the most successful businesses of all time. I bet if we had to summarize that success story in 10 seconds or less, it would come down to this: Follow your customers’ words; they will never leave you astray.