As summer draws to a close, it’s time to consider what you need to do to ensure that your business or organization can and will excel during the last few months of the year and the busy holiday season. If your small business doesn’t collect customer or client feedback related to your advertising and marketing initiatives, you may be at a loss as to what you should do, what you should change, and what should stay the same.

There Are Many Reasons To Collect Feedback

Operating without customer feedback can feel like stumbling around in a very dark room – you don’t have the insights or “vision” needed to successfully navigate your surroundings. Whether you collect feedback through web surveys, email surveys, or even in person at a brick and mortar location, you should begin to learn and even anticipate what you need to do to not only keep your existing customers happy, but to attract new customers and make your business as appealing as possible to your target demographic. What are some of the ways you can ensure that you’re collecting, analyzing, and responding to customer feedback in a timely manner?

Incentivize The Feedback Process

Asking your customers or clients to participate in the feedback process can be difficult. While many unhappy or even disgruntled individuals may be motivated to vent their frustrations or seek an apology from a business, more than a few satisfied customers and clients and even some unhappy ones may choose not to participate in the feedback process, finding it to be annoying or too time consuming. An excellent way to motivate your customers to provide feedback is to incentivize the process. It also provides a great opportunity to motivate your customers to return and patronize your business again at a later date. By offering a coupon or discount to your customers or clients, you can not only motivate them to take the time to provide feedback, but you’re also drawing them back to your business with an incentive to return.

With Customer Feedback, The Bad Is Equally As Valuable As The Good

It’s a completely natural reaction to dislike or even abhor negative feedback and criticism. Most entrepreneurs and small business owners dislike receiving negative feedback about their employees or their business. Unfair or unfounded attacks and criticism can be both damaging and unproductive. Yet there are aspects about negative feedback or criticism that is fair and even warranted. No matter how uncomfortable or painful criticism may be, negative feedback plays an important and sometimes even vital role in the process, and it can even be pivotal in maintaining the continued viability of your business.

Be Sure To Follow Through

When you receive negative feedback from a client or customer, it is extremely important to ensure that you or one of your employees follows up with that client or customer as quickly as possible. For many customers, the only thing worse than having a negative experience with a small business or organization is submitting feedback and subsequently feeling ignored or slighted if there is no follow-up. Conversely, an unhappy customer or client can receive some level of satisfaction from receiving a personal follow-up, and if the problem is rectified to the customer or client’s satisfaction they may even return to your business in the future. It is advisable to discuss the feedback and resolution in a private setting, such as through an exchange of emails, rather than a public venue such as the comments section of a social media service. If the client reaches out to you publicly, request that the conversation be moved to email or an equally private venue or service.