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Why you should seek out grumpy customers

Do you ask your customers for feedback? If not, why not? Afraid they might not say nice things? Good!

Feedback from customers is valuable – whether it’s good, bad or indifferent – because it can show you where you may need to improve. Trouble is, most businesses don’t even ask for feedback, either because they’re AFRAID of what they might hear or because they’re complacent and simply believe that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

95 per cent of businesses say they listen to their customers but only 30 per cent actually ask for feedback. Customers are mostly left alone or ignored on the principle that if they were unhappy or dissatisfied they’d say something (but don’t let’s poke a sleeping bear!).

Silence or lack of complaints from customers isn’t a sign that everything is hunky dory. Without information from unhappy customers, we may never know if they’re telling everyone they know what a rubbish outfit we are. Lack of feedback is often just a symptom of customer apathy.

Of the 30 per cent who ask for feedback, only about 10 per cent of businesses make any changes as a result. And then only 5 per cent actually bother to tell their customers the changes they’ve made as a result of the feedback.

Not asking for feedback is NOT the way to deliver customer satisfaction!


Comments: We don’t ask for feedback on our strategy and tactics, but we DO ask whether the client is moving product, experiencing inbound sales or experiencing any other instance of “moving the needle” for them. – Kevin Mercuri, Propheta Communications, Inc. Emerson College
Greater New York City Area

Philip J Gwynne resplies: Thanks for your feedback, Kevin. Might it not also be worth getting feedack on strategy and tactics to find out whether customers think your appoach is appropriate for them? And, of course, different customers might favour different strategies and tactics.

NEXT TIME: Customer acquisition or customer retention?

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