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Close the customer feedback loop but don’t be a Blocker

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Closing the customer feedback loop by telling your customers what you heard and what is changing as a consequence, is a very important part of the process, but you have to do it in a way that adds value.

I saw this on my local bus the other day.  In some ways, it was great to see the bus company trying to close the loop on the customer feedback process.  However, they haven’t really nailed the idea yet.

The white text says:

These beasts block you from getting off. You flatten like a stamp to get past but then you have to say ‘excuse me’ to them.  You told us this really bugs you.

(As an aside what’s the harm in having to say ‘excuse me?’)

Okay so the bus company is feeding back to its customers about a customer satisfaction issue and that issue is mostly out of their control.  The problem is that it’s a “so what” piece of feedback.  It says they heard what the customers said but the response is just not useful.

I can see that in some sense they are trying to educate the “blockers” that their behaviour is not wanted but this doesn’t seem like an effective approach to do that, to me at least.

To maximise the value that you generate from your customer feedback process you should always close the loop with your customers.  That communications does not always have to be about how you’re correcting the problem but it does need to address the areas that are under your control or at least appear to be under your control.

There will be some feedback that you can action quickly, some that will take some time and some that you just can’t change: but you need to let your customers know that you’ve heard them.

An example of the last one: when performing customer research in the insurance industry you often receive a complaint that “if I don’t use my insurance in the year [i.e. claim] I should get a refund of the fee less an administration charge”.  

Of course, this comment indicates a pretty deep misunderstanding of how insurance works. The response to this comment should not be to ignore it but to subtly educate your customers about how insurance works through your ongoing customer contact.

Closing the loop in this way confirms the tacit agreement you have with the person providing the feedback: I’ll tell you what I think if you try to fix it. 

If you don’t abide by your side of the bargain, try to fix it, then customers are less and less likely to provide you the feedback you need to improve your business.

On the other hand if you do use the information to improve your business your customers will be more likely to help you improve in the future, and your business will go from strength to strength.  A win/win situation.

I've created a step by step guide to implementing an Effective Customer  Feedback process: Download it Here

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