It’s a little ironic that I find myself writing about “secret ingredients” and “recipes” because it’s a well known fact among friends and family that my cooking skills are non-existent. My repertoire is limited to toasted ham sandwiches and spag bol, and should I attempt to cook, a fire blanket and extinguisher are subtly placed on the bench next to me.
But even a cooking nuffy like me understands there’ll always be specific ingredients required to make your recipe work. Like baking bread. I’ve just googled and found that yeast is a pretty important ingredient.
When thinking about success in small business, there’s many ingredients that, in the right mix, lead to a great outcome. But there’s one that sometimes gets forgotten, and that’s feedback from your customers.
When was the last time you got genuine, meaningful, constructive, possibly icky-at-first feedback from your customers?
Sure, seeking reviews and stars is a great start, but you won’t always get the nitty gritty details of what your customers do and don’t love about your business.
Here’s just a few of the benefits that await you should you take the plunge and get customer feedback.
BENEFIT 1: CLARITY ON WHAT’S WORKING WELL…
Investing time in asking for and reviewing feedback will give you a strong indication of where your business is nailing success.
If there’s elements of your products or services that are stand out in a customers’ mind, there’s a good chance you’ll hear about it.
And knowing what’s working well gives you an idea of what to keep doing – what products work, what elements of your service are meeting (or even exceeding!) customer expectations.
BENEFIT 2: … AND A SPOTLIGHT ON WHAT’S NOT
Conversely, customer feedback gives you the opportunity to understand any problems or opportunities for improvement.
Now I get it – discovering that your customer was disappointed in the clothes they received, the course they took or the work you did for them isn’t much fun. But take a deep breath and think about how you can use this information to pivot. Because these can be the things that stop customers from becoming advocates for your business.
Why is this important? Research increasingly shows people turn to their friends for recommendations. Ideally we want our customers be advocates for our business – if asked, they’d recommend us to others.
BENEFIT 3: YOU CAN LEARN WHAT ELSE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE LOOKING FOR
Getting feedback can also open the door to fresh ideas you might not have considered before. A client runs an online baby clothing store that uses only organic materials. When she asked for feedback, she found an unmet demand for organic sleeping bags as well – using the same materials. It’s now her second highest selling item. And if she hadn’t sought feedback, she simply wouldn’t have known of this untapped opportunity.
BENEFIT 4: YOU’LL HAVE DATA TO PRIORITISE FINITE RESOURCES
Running a small business is a juggle, so knowing what to prioritise and when is critical.
Customer feedback can give you that insight – it might be that investing time in improving the user experience of your website is more important than changing the packaging of your products.
BENEFIT 5: YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THEIR SAY
Ever been disappointed with something you’ve bought but never been asked for your feedback?
Rarely do people take the time to proactively contact stores or services if they’ve been mildly disappointed (as opposed to super angry that leads to a frustrated email).
By opening the lines of communication, you give customers a chance to share their delight or vent, and you get a chance to respond and address any issues.
BENEFIT 6: IT’S EASIER THAN EVER TO GET CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
When I asked some small business owners if they’d actively sought customer feedback recently, those who hadn’t said they weren’t really sure where to start, or what to ask. But it’s now easier than ever – from engaging with social media, using survey tools or getting creative in giving your customers opportunity to give you feedback – there’s sure to be a way that’s right for you and your business.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK CAN BE THE YEAST IN YOUR RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Your customers can tell you what’s working, and what’s not.
They can tell you what to start doing. Stop doing. And keep doing.
Your customers can tell you how to grow your business.
And that, my friends, is as good as yeast in bread.