Why you need to listen to customers

little boy holding his ear listening

Four in five Australian contact centres use customer feedback programs, but less than a third pay any attention to it.  

Latest research by Australian customer experience research and management consultancy Fifth Quadrant found that 78 percent of Australian contact centres use customer feedback programs (e.g. Enterprise Feeedback Management or EFM), less than a third – 31 percent to be exact – make use of the data.

Almost $90 million is being spent annually on customer experience research, but only a small percentage are realising the true value of customer feedback for the long-term profitability and productivity of a business.

Many are under the misconception that customers have very little to contribute to the overall function of a business, because well, they’re not business people. But they are the consumers of a company’s products and services, and so their views shouldn’t be considered any less than crucial to its success.

Customer service providers also, to their detriment, tend to be unresponsive to negative feedback – usually being more receptive to information that is consistent with what they want to hear, the positive stuff. But it is important to remember that negative feedback, if used effectively, can lead to positive outcomes.

Fifth Quadrant’s latest research has found a strong, statistically significant relationship between business outcomes and an organisation’s monitoring, use and management of customer feedback.

“Not surprisingly, the research confirms that there is a business benefit to listening to customers and acting on that information. Senior executives need to wake up and recognise that EFM makes a significant contribution to business performance, particularly in the areas of revenue, productivity, operational efficiency customer satisfaction,” said Chris Kirby, Fifth Quadrant’s Head of Research.

Responding to what consumers actually want may require making significant changes in the way the business operates; but no matter how far-reaching the demands are, small steps should always be taken to deliver better customer service experiences.

Businesses that have obtained the greatest benefit from customer feedback programs are those that have employed a more diverse range of research methods and used multiple channels to gather feedback such as chats, calls, emails, web, mobile, and social media.

Remember the success of businesses depends on its customers; and if customers are happy, then business will boom.

So it’s time to stop ignoring customers! Listen to what they have to say and make good use of that information.