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Customer Feedback is Your Mirror

By Special Guest
Vitaliy Verbenko, marketing coordination at Helprace
September 08, 2015

Lately, I’ve been drawing parallels between people, businesses and the need for self-assurance. If mirrors are objects of personal observation and grooming, shouldn’t brands also be aware of how they come across?

A mirror gives us useful information and knowledge due to its function as a feedback tool in letting us know about our appearance. Without a mirror, we risk looking unkempt which can hurt our personal and professional images.

Businesses need to collect customer feedback for the same reason to survive. Without it, companies lose momentum their customers have established for them, including opportunities to build trust and valuable connections.  


Here’s what kind of feedback we expect out of mirrors and how we can use it to understand our customers better:

1. Specific feedback

When I look in the mirror, it gives me a very specific type of feedback. It tells me that a new pimple has emerged on my chin. It is not vague in telling me that there’s “something on my chin”, it clearly demonstrates what the problem is. In the same way, your questions, including their execution should be as specific as possible. Customer responses are going to be only as good as the questions themselves.

The biggest benefit of customer feedback is the honest, actionable information you can use for the betterment of your company. Less obvious still may be the personal connections you make and a greater understanding of how customers are using your product.

2. Immediate feedback

Another thing that a mirror does is give you immediate feedback of everything that’s in front of it. It’s reliable, accurate and most importantly provides instant gratification. Similarly, giving customers the ability to express themselves with minimal friction—wherever they are on your site—is of utmost importance.

As human beings, we prefer closure to hanging in the balance—even if the news we receive is less than stellar. By dragging your feet on communication, you are leaving unresolved issues on the table, losing the human touch with your customers.

3. Descriptive feedback

A mirror gives me a very detailed description about me. There is no judgment or opinion being passed around as part of this description. Ultimately it is up to me to understand and interpret what is being shown to me. When listening to customer feedback, do we understand everything that’s being said? Is there an open, productive discussion or process to let team members know of the pain points outlined by the customer?

Before you start talking with your customers, you must outline and understand what information you want to collect during your conversation. Perhaps you’re launching a new product and want to improve it before launch. Perhaps your website traffic isn’t converting and you’d like to understand why. Either way you must establish a general feedback goal before you ask for that feedback.

4. It’s genuine

A mirror doesn’t select certain aspects to show and exclude the rest. Similarly, you should treat good feedback and negative feedback on equal grounds.

At the same time, don’t let good feedback give you the warm fuzzy feeling, potentially overshadowing the negative feedback you get from legitimately concerned users.

It’s true that no one likes negative feedback, but it demands action: analyzing, validating, implementing and following up with your customers. At the end of the day, it elevates your business to a favorite because you care about what your customers have to say.

What clouds your company mirror?

Is it feasible or even beneficial to ignore your company’s feedback and carve out your own path? Probably, according to Henry Ford or Steve Jobs.

Henry Ford once said that “If I asked what my customers wanted, they’d say faster horses”. Steve Jobs similarly declared, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. However, we mustn’t forget that these were leaders with highly directed (and somewhat proven) goals in mind that applied to their industries.

For most of us who are trying to grow an existing product, customer feedback is valuable data straight from the source. It’s counter-productive not to want to listen to people that are paying you money and using your product.

About the Author: Vitaliy Verbenko is the guy behind customer service and marketing coordination at Helprace. Vitaliy has been into customer service ever since he co-founded a small construction company five years ago. Vitaliy holds a BA from Canada's Ryerson University.




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino


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