Small Business Tip Tuesday: Customer Service and the Power of Inviting Feedback

by Ken Mueller on April 24, 2012 · 16 comments

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truck sign 300x205 Small Business Tip Tuesday: Customer Service and the Power of Inviting FeedbackI was driving down the highway the other day when I passed a truck and took notice of the sign on the back of the truck. We’ve all seen the sign for years, the one that asks:

“How Am I Driving?”

Now, this particular truck driver was driving quite well at that moment, but over the years I’ve had plenty of moments where I wished I had a number like this to call to report some crazy driver. Interestingly enough, these signs first started popping up on trucks in the days before cell phones. If you really wanted to report the driver, you had to make a note of the number (if you could see it as the truck sped by you), and then remember to make the call when you were near a phone. Not an easy task. But today, we can get right on our phones and call, while still sharing the road with the trucker. I’ve always wondered how many calls they get. And do they ever get a call where the person says:

“I would just like to report that the driver of your truck was driving magnificently! It was a pleasure to share the road with him!”

Probably not. We’re not wired to praise good behavior, at least not in that way.

But there are three reasons I love these signs:

1) It shows that the company takes its business seriously.

2) It theoretically functions as a deterrent to the truck driver, inspiring him to be a smart driver.

3) Gives others a means of voicing their opinion. Without that sign and number, we’d have no real way of contacting the company.

A restaurant client of mine uses comment cards that are presented with the bill. They encourage patrons to fill out their thoughts about the meal and the service, and they take those comments seriously.

People have always had the ability to complain, but not always in means that were effective. We’ve always had the ability to tell others about those businesses we like and don’t like, as well as tell the business privately.

But building an online social presence can act much like the sign on the back of the truck. Just by creating a presence you are opening yourself up to comments from your supporters and detractors alike. A Facebook page is a silent invitation for feedback. And, of course, you can always be more proactive and actually solicit feedback.

Tell us how we’re doing!

Make it a point to actively ask for feedback, both on- and off-line. By doing so, you will reap the three benefits mentioned earlier:

1) Customers will see that you are serious about your business.

2) Employees and management understand that by asking for feedback, they are being held accountable.

3) Customers understand that they are free to voice their opinions, and might just take you up on that.

If you are doing your job right, and providing the best combination of products and customer service, then you have nothing to fear. The praises and positive comments should far outweigh the negative ones.

Don’t think of social media as merely a means of spewing out your marketing messages. Think of it as a means of getting feedback, solicited and unsolicited, from your customers. Take the time and ask:

Hey, how are we doing?

You might be surprised with the response, and it will certainly keep you on your toes. And there’s nothing like a little free research.

Oh, and when you’re on the receiving end of an invitation for feedback, don’t just respond when you have bad things to say. Feel free to let businesses know when you’re happy with them.

Are you using your online presence as a means of getting feedback? Are you being proactive about soliciting feedback from your customers?

 

 Small Business Tip Tuesday: Customer Service and the Power of Inviting Feedback
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16 comments
georgemiller1985
georgemiller1985

Using feedbacks is a way to help the business know if customers are pleased of what they are doing or there is still a room for improvement. Encouraging customers to give feedbacks to your service or product would only mean that you care for them and you are serious about the business.

kmueller62
kmueller62

@EleanorPie i love making people think. would love to hear your thoughts

kmueller62
kmueller62

@adamtoporek @SurveyOnTheSpot thanks for sharing!

RachelStrella
RachelStrella

Ken –

This is too funny!  You jumped right into my head -I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I too had a number to call to report a driver.

 

I appreciate the reminder to solicit feedback. We often assume that ‘no news is good news’ and keep going on our merry way.  It’s good to take a step back and assess how we’re really doing – and not to fear the feedback.

Rachel

KDillabough
KDillabough

I love getting feedback. It must be the coach in me, because feedback is the only way that we, as coaches, can assist athletes (and business owners) to change behaviour that "results in results". Without feedback, we can continue to do the same-old-same-old, believing it's good...when it's not. It's important to realize that not all feedback is well-intended, constructive or helpful, so we need to separate the wheat from the chaff. And although I don't have thick skin, I do have broad shoulders to graciously accept the feedback that's actually mal intended. Asking for feedback, listening, digesting and making sense of it is, I believe, critical to success, in business and in life. And thanks so much for the lovely link to my post: I appreciate that:) Cheers! Kaarina

BestRoofer
BestRoofer

We send out a survey with new roof warranties.  The feedback is priceless!

kmueller62
kmueller62

@PrimoAssistance thanks for sharing!

EleanorPie
EleanorPie

@kmueller62 I was just thinking about my (relatively few) clients. Calls for feedback seem like something for "the big guys," but why?

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@kmueller62 You are very welcome Ken, hope the week shapes up to be a banner week for you sir ; )

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @RachelStrella We definitely need to remove ourselves and take an outside look from time to time, and that feedback is key.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @KDillabough I think the whole thick skin/broad shoulders thing is important. If we're going to be in business, and spend any amount of time online, we'll  need to develop that. None of us likes criticism, but it can be instructive. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @BestRoofer It really is! Some people only want positive feedback. That's nice, but the negative feedback can also be helpful as you seek to improve as a business.

kmueller62
kmueller62

@EleanorPie we can all benefit from that

kmueller62
kmueller62

@EleanorPie anytime! thanks for reading!

EleanorPie
EleanorPie

@kmueller62 Too true. Thanks for getting my little brain-cogs moving!

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