Feedback is essential to the survival of your business – not only does it guide and inform your decision-making, but it can also influence innovations and changes to your product or services
Listening to your customers is one of the cornerstones of long-term business growth and should be a key part of your business strategy. Customer feedback contains a lot of valuable information that can help drive business growth so it is vital that you gather and analyse the data to find out which aspects of your franchise are working well or need improvement. You can then use those insights to align your product, service or brand with your customers’ needs.
Here are five reasons why customer feedback is vital to the success of your franchise.
1. Improve your products and services
Before introducing a new product or service to your franchise, the likelihood is you will have conducted market research to give you an idea of whether potential customers would be willing to buy it. However, only after a customer uses your product or service will you learn about all the advantages, flaws and their actual experience.
Consumer expectations and demands are constantly evolving, which is why customer feedback is vital and will enable your business to offer the very best products and services. As a franchise owner, your professional knowledge will never be more valuable to business performance than customer insights. Making improvements based on consumer feedback means you can develop or modify products and services that meet your customers’ expectations, as well as solve their problems and fulfil their needs.
2. Measure your customer satisfaction
A good level of customer satisfaction often leads to increased business. It will be no surprise that happy and loyal customers are crucial factors in determining your franchise’s future financial performance and will help you to attract new clients through recommendations.
The best way to determine if you meet a customer’s expectation is by asking their opinions. For the best results, I recommend asking rating-based questions so you can easily estimate the level of satisfaction and consequently predict your company’s financial condition in the future. One easy way to measure, manage and improve customer satisfaction is to send out an online survey with questions using a point rating scale of 0 to 10, with 0 representing extremely negative and 10 representing extremely positive. This way, you can easily monitor customer satisfaction at the click of a button.
3. Collecting customer feedback shows you value their opinions
When you ask a customer for feedback, you are communicating that their opinion is important to you. You are not only involving them in shaping your business but also showing them how much you value them. This develops a strong relationship and shows customers that your primary business goal is to fulfil their needs and solve any problems, not to get their money.
Collecting customer feedback is also the best way to gain valuable brand ambassadors who will spread positive word of mouth for you. This is the most effective and cheapest way to acquire new customers and become more trustworthy in the eyes of your current and potential clients. In fact, 72 per cent of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people. It really is a win-win.
4. Create the best customer experience
Naturally, the most effective way to give a fantastic customer experience is by asking them what they like about your product or service and what should be improved. A satisfied customer will stay with you. An unhappy customer will eventually find a better alternative to your business and leave. So, customer feedback benefits are significant. They help you determine if your clients are satisfied with your offering and detect areas where you can improve. By asking for opinions regularly and constantly monitoring feedback, it will help keep your finger on the pulse of your customers.
5. Collect data that helps you make business decisions
In franchising, businesses continually look to adjust their products and services to fit customer needs. Customer feedback is one of the most reliable tangible data sources franchisees and franchisors can use to make business decisions. Customer insights help you understand clients and their needs and focus on where you should allocate your money to get the highest return on investment. For example, if customer feedback says your product or service is good, focus on spending money on marketing your brand to get more significant exposure.
As you can see, customer feedback is a valued business asset that all franchises should utilise to maintain their competitive advantage. However, gathering it can be easier said than done. Your customer wants everything to be made as easy as possible, especially when giving you customer feedback.
If you are collecting feedback in a physical store, display signage in prominent locations to demonstrate to customers how much the business places on customer feedback, and provide instant and low-effort opportunities to give feedback. Other customer feedback methods include offering incentives for leaving a review, such as a chance to win a big prize or guarantee a small reward, or using your business’s online community to collect feedback through feedback boxes on a website, surveys, and social media sites like Facebook.
For all businesses, live customer support teams can play a pivotal role in fielding these front-line client concerns and allow buyers to give feedback online or over the phone. Remember that getting customer feedback is only half the story. Acting on it is what will keep your business ahead of the curve.
Tim Morris is the MD of Cymphony, a communications provider helping thousands of clients to build customer relationships from the first interaction.