Businesses launch customer surveys with the objective of collecting feedback from customers. But as many come to learn, collecting feedback from customers is one thing. Actually acting on the feedback collected from customers through the online surveys is another challenge altogether. It is very easy for a business to collect a ton of feedback from customers through online surveys, only to end up at a loss on what exactly to do with the feedback. It soon becomes clear that collecting the feedback is the easier part. Acting on the feedback is the real challenge.
Making a commitment to act on the customer survey feedback
It is important for a business to have made the commitment, right from the outset, to act on whatever findings it gets from the online customer survey. Otherwise there is no point in undertaking the customer survey, if the intention to act on the feedback received through the survey is not there. The problem here is in the fact that acting on the survey findings may entail having to make some hard decisions. It may mean, for instance, having to overhaul the entire customer service department. It may mean having to hire more staff to serve the customers (which would come with some cost implications). In a nutshell, it may mean having to change important business processes. All these are difficult things. There is a strong temptation to let things remain the way they have always been. Yet if the customer survey reveals that the customers are dissatisfied with certain things, then those things just have to be changed – whatever it takes.
The commitment to act on the customer survey feedback has to come from all levels of the business. It is therefore important for all stakeholders in the business to know that it (the business) is undertaking a customer survey. Then it is important to get all the stakeholders to be ready to do whatever they will be called upon to do, in the wake of the feedback received from customers through the survey. Otherwise if you only inform the stakeholders later (after the survey) that you undertook a survey, and the survey findings indicate that they need to do ABC or XYZ… they may be hesitant on act on the findings. But if, beforehand, you had informed the various stakeholders in the business that you were undertaking a customer survey, and that they should be ready to act on the feedback hence obtained, the response is likely to be better.
Authenticating the feedback before acting on it
Some of the people giving feedback in the online customer survey may be ‘jokers’. Yet some of the things that need to be done, in the wake of the feedback they give, have far-reaching consequences. This state of affairs makes it necessary to authenticate the feedback received from customers in the online survey, before taking actions with far-reaching consequences. For instance, you may find quite a good number of customers indicating that the checkout process is too slow. But just before confronting the checkout staff and castigating them, it may be important to undertake some investigations, to see whether indeed they are slow. Only after ascertaining that the feedback received from customers is factual (and that indeed the checkout staff are slow) would you be in a position to act on that situation.
So you should ideally view the feedback received from customers through the online survey as basis to launch investigations. This is of course especially the case with negative feedback. You have to undertake investigations, covertly if possible, to find out whether the feedback is factual. Then if it is, you can proceed to take action on it straightway.
What if your investigations reveal that the feedback received from customers is not entire factual? Well, even in this case, you’d still need to do something about it. For instance, the feedback received from customers may be to the effect that your checkout staff are slow. Yet investigations reveal that the checkout process is being undertaken as fast as it can be. In this case, what you’d need to do is relay the feedback (as it is) to the checkout staff. So this would be a question of letting the checkout staff know that there are some customers who feel that they are not being as fast as they should be. So the expected action on their part would be to avoid things that may make the customers feel that they are being served slowly. Remember, the objective is not just to serve the customers well, but also to make them feel that they are being well served.
Improving business processes in line with online customer survey feedback
Where the authentication process reveals that the feedback received from customers is factual, the next course of action would be to improve business processes, to enhance customer satisfaction. For instance, if the feedback suggests that the checkout process is slow — and investigations reveal that indeed the checkout process is slow — there are several things that can be done. It may be a question of hiring more checkout staff. Or it may be a question of buying scanners for use at the checkout points, as opposed to having the checkout staff key in the checkout details – if only to speed things up. At yet another level, you may find that what you need to do is retrain the checkout staff, or redeploy them to other areas where they can be more effective… The most important thing is to ensure that the feedback received from customers doesn’t go in vain. The least you can do with it is let the staff members know that customers feel this or that way, so that the staff members can figure out what to do about it.
What to do with positive feedback
If the feedback received from customers through the online survey is of a positive nature, it basically means that the business should keep up with whatever it is doing right. This positive feedback too needs to be conveyed to the staff members and other stakeholders in the business. The objective is to get them to understand that the customers feel that ABC or XYZ is being done right, and that it should be kept that way – or done in an even better way.