Feedback comes in many forms. Some are easy to recognize – like a client yelling at you over the phone – but others aren’t as obvious. Growing your business involves listening to what your clients are telling you, even if they never say it out loud.
There a million ways to listen to your clients – some creepier than others – but these are some simple tactics for collecting and reacting to customer feedback.
Listening to a broken record
When a client calls in asking if you offer a service, they’re really telling you that you should be offering that service. That doesn’t mean you need to start offering cat manicures because one person demanded it, but tracking your service requests is an easy way to recognize market demand.
The same is true for web feedback and it’s already being tracked for you. Start collecting complaints – online and otherwise – and look for recurring themes. It will help you separate the real issues from the one-off complaints. Just try not to get defensive when listening to the people who gave you a 2.3 ranking on Yelp.
Voting with their dollars
Your clients will tell you what you’re good at by making it your most popular service. They’ll also tell you what they don’t want by never asking for it. Ultimately, you want to focus on the former and drop the latter. You might think more options can’t hurt, but an unfocused list of services is a down market calling card.
The most valuable feedback you can get from you clients is whether they come back. If you’ve got a system that tracks it, keep an eye on that number. If not, start asking ‘Is this your first time with us?’ after every appointment and track the ratio.
The silent majority
Your clients can tell you a lot about your business without realizing it, but they can tell you even more if you ask them. One of the most common reasons people don’t give feedback is because you haven’t given them an opportunity. Whether you email surveys, encourage people to post on Facebook or ask them while they’re paying for their appointment, you’ll be surprised how willing people are to share feedback.
Speaking of feedback, we want to know what you think of Talking Shop! Tell us in the comments what you want to read about, what we got right and what we missed!