If you hire a consultant to analyze your business processes, and advise you on how to improve them, would you listen to the paid consultant, and act on the information she provides? Of course you would.
If a customer complains to you about your products or services, would you listen to the customer, and act on the information she provides? Of course you should.
You many not be paying your customers to give you their analysis, but many of them do it anyway. That's the subject of Adele Sage's recent post at Forrester Blogs. Customers are openly offering feedback, and it behooves companies to mine that feedback so they can act on it to improve the experience they provide to their customers, and as a result, improve their own bottom lines.
Customer feedback doesn't always hit you over the head like Wiley Coyote's anvil. Sometimes you have to listen for it. That means actively monitoring social media, and training your front-line employees to capture and forward those complaints that they receive.
And when you receive the feedback, be sure to have a process in place for acting on it. That may mean vetting it through your functional areas to identify root cause - what thing inside your company was ultimately responsible for creating the issue that the customer complained about? It may also mean contacting the customer in search of greater detail.
The point is this:
There's a lot of value in customer complaints. Your customers - the people that often know you best - are telling you what you need to do to make them more loyal; to get them to buy more from you; to get them to influence other people within their circles to buy from you. But you won't hear any of that golden feedback it if you're not listening. And even if you are listening, it won't do you any good, if you don't act on what you hear.
What's your process for getting, vetting and acting on customer feeedback?