Study: Customer Feedback, Poorly Used Relationship Building Opportunity

Consumer pulse survey

Companies’ response to feedback

Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to find out how those who buy a company’s products or services experience them. Luckily for US companies, customers generally like to be active players in helping them improve how they do business. Unfortunately, although they invest money in creating the surveys and obtaining the feedback, they don’t properly use the response they get to solve problems and reengage customers. In worst case scenarios, they end up alienating more those who have already gone through a negative experience.

A recent Consumer Pulse study  surveyed over 1,400 U.S. consumers  to find out why they take the time to complete customer satisfaction surveys and what they expect from companies and brands in return. The research conducted by Martin Bailey (CMB) and iModerate Research Technologies showed customers see giving feedback as a mandatory task as a consumer, with 57% indicating the main purpose to give feedback is to help improve the company. Rather than passive buyers, customers see themselves as active participants in making businesses better.

Most consumers expect some sort of response from companies, especially when they give negative feedback. But only 35% of those sending such feedback remember ever getting a reply from a company. What companies should do is to take the negative feedback, find a solution to improve their service and then share the resolution with the dissatisfied customers.

“Customer satisfaction research is about much more than the data you get back, it’s about the opportunity to engage and often recover your customers after a bad experience,” says Jeff McKenna, Senior Consultant at Chadwick Martin Bailey. “Most companies asking customers about a recent experience don’t take advantage of this opportunity to turn a service failure around. There is a real disconnect between the research and the action that needs to be taken; closing the door before closing the loop is a missed opportunity.”

The widespread dissatisfaction with the lack of response from companies receiving feedback was further confirmed by the iModerate’s one-on-one conversations with 21 Americans over age 18. Customers share their negative feedback in the hopes of positive impact on business processes. They both want to help the company do things better and to prevent future mishaps, both for themselves and for other consumers.

While only half of customers complete such surveys to share negative experience, their decision to send the feedback is still a resource companies should put to good use. When they take the negative experience seriously, fix the issue and personally contact the customer I question, businesses manage to reconnect with them and build a deeper, trust-based relationship, keeping them as loyal customers instead of alienating them even further.

To read the full report and its findings, download the Consumer Pulse survey here.

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