How important is client feedback and follow up for small to medium businesses?
I think that client feedback is vital to small to medium business - the problem is managing to acquire the feedback in the first place! The most important types of feedback for me are:
- Testimonials - these are like gold and can be used all over your marketing materials, on your website and in face to face networking. Not to mention that they make you feel rather good!
- Case Studies - another really special kind of feedback, the case study has a win-win effect. Both the business and the client receive a decent amount of exposure to their potential customers and I've used these on my website and in marketing material to encourage new clientele.
- Surveys - I have found these the hardest type of feedback to get but when customers do them, they provide incredible insight into what you might be doing well and not so well. Because you can let your clients provide an anonymous response, you often receive a more precise and unbiased opinion and this can be integral especially if you are looking at changing your product or services.
If small to medium businesses - and even big ones, for that matter - don't listen for, ask for and receive feedback, they can't stay ahead of the curve when change comes, can't work out what to focus on and what to innovate for the future. It is the lifeblood of any business wanting to not only stay afloat, but make an impact in their field.
We try to gather feedback where ever possible. This is the only way that we can grow and improve. I don't like the idea of a customer having a bad experience and telling everyone else rather than letting us rectify the problem. Also, on the rare occasions when there has been an issue that we've resolved, the customer has been so happy that we went to the trouble to make them happy. They then go and tell others how good we are. To me this is so important because retainer hard won customers is better than trying to find new ones.
Customers won't go out of their way to give feedback when things are running smoothly, but often there is still a lot of room for improvement and feedback to be received.
Ongoing and regular communications both ways reminds your customers that you care and provides that window to continue the flow or feedback and constant improvement.