Customers Feel They Aren’t Being Heard – Here’s What You Can Do


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The 2016 Customer Experience report was released recently, and many of the findings highlight how customer service is failing. One highlight focused on customer feedback and a potential reason as to why customers do not provide it when asked.

Respondents shared their thoughts on whether or not companies took action based on feedback provided. As you can see from the slide below, the overall thought that companies did react to feedback declined since 2013, from 49% saying that it was extremely likely or very likely that companies respond to 31% in this study. Similarly, the perception that it was very unlikely or extremely unlikely that companies would react rose 12 percentage points between 2013 and now.


Do companies react to feedback provided by customers?


This may or may not be true; companies could be taking in the feedback and making actionable changes, even if it’s not apparent to customers. But, if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

When customers take the time to give a company feedback, they want to feel that their voice is heard. There are some ways that companies can send the message to their customers that will likely improve satisfaction and encourage customers to continue to share their thoughts.

Close the loop: this is likely the most time consuming way to show that a customer’s voice is heard, but it can be very effective. When a customer has an issue, follow up with the customer once it’s resolved. It’s important to do a few things here: 1) Make sure the issue is actually resolved; if not, make sure it happens ASAP, 2) find out how the customer perceived the resolution process and ask for suggestions on improving it, and 3) follow up with a note of thanks for their feedback and let them know the ways that you are working to make a better experience in the future.

Share feedback findings with your customers: whether it’s on your website, on your social media sites, or in email marketing campaigns, it’s wise to incorporate a “We hear you” message. Let customers know that you DO listen to feedback, and share some of the ways you’re making improvements. Even if they are minor changes or updates, it will send customers a positive message.

Highlight the negative feedback: this may seem counter intuitive, but it can be an effective means of letting customers know you listen. Similar to sharing findings, you can highlight a customer issue and directly show how you’ve worked to make improvements. Include customer information, such as a first name and even a photo (with their permission), and follow up with them to get their thoughts on your plan to improve. It’s personal and sends a strong message to your customer base.

Get your customers involved: are you seeing a trend in a particular issue that seems to be a pain point for many customers? Get them involved in making change. When customers leave contact information, it’s easier to reach out to ask them if they’d take part in a focus group or online survey that digs deeper into that particular issue. It’s a double win – you are making customers be part of the process while gaining even deeper insight into customer perception. Additionally, it can create increased loyalty, as you are turning dissatisfied customers who may be on the verge of walking away into part of the solution.

Consumers are inundated with feedback requests constantly; it’s no wonder the response rates have dropped and customers feel like it’s just one more thing to do. Make the most of your program and stand out by utilizing some of the ideas above.

Marianne Hynd
Marianne Hynd is the Vice President of Operations at Ann Michaels & Associates, a customer experience measurement firm. The company specializes in mystery shopping, customer feedback, and interactive engagement kiosk programs.


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