Track and Trace Customer Feedback

October 14th, 2011

How important are customers to your business?
It’s a silly question isn’t it? But how much do you really know about your customer’s experience? How far do you go every day, with  every transaction and every customer to learn about their experience? How meaningful is the information you gather from your customers? Does it tell you what you are doing well, and where the problems are?

If you have ever asked yourself these question, then you have started a journey toward a better understanding of your business. If you have never asked these questions, then perhaps now is the time.

“In God we trust, all others bring data”  – Steve Jobs

Gathering customer feedback data has always been a clumsy and inefficient process. Questionnaires are either simple and easy for a customer, but carry little valuable information, or detailed and probing, but time consuming and off-putting for customers.

Customer Feedback: From Data to Knowledge to Strategy
New Technologies and Social Media  bring new opportunities, new markets and new channels to secure and service customers. They also present new opportunities to gather information from your customers and new ways to understand it.  Is your internet channel a  one-way or a two-way street? If you have engaged your customers in a conversation, are you asking the right questions, and can you put their responses in context?

When you understand your customers, you can develop strategies to improve your business and avoid strategies that will do you damage.

One simple question:

“Would you recommend us to your friends?”

This simple question will tell you if your customers are happy to stake their own reputation on your business. If you get enough customers to answer this question, you will get a   coarse indicator of your customer’s perception of your business. This question tells you something about your customer’s experience, but tells you nothing about what is happening in your business to create this customer experience.

If you could enrich a customer’s response by placing it in a fuller context,  you could learn a great deal more about your business. Match the customers feedback to a specific transaction or date and time and you can place the feedback in the context of your operations and offerings. Are there peaks and troughs of satisfaction during a day, week or month? Do particular products or people correlate with  positive or negative customer experiences? Simple feedback, in context, can help you to identify and understand the causes of good and bad customer experiences.

A few more simple questions can quickly focus a customer’s feedback on particular areas of your business: value for money, service,  ambiance, enjoyment etc. Contact details for the customer can let you follow up with your customers: to target and recover dissatisfied customers, or to embrace and leverage satisfied customers.

Track and Trace Customer Feedback
How can you track and trace your customer feedback?

  • Firstly, you can offer multiple feedback channels: a website form, a mobile-phone app., a mail-in postcard and a comment drop-box in your business premises. To  stimulate feedback,  you can offer incentives such as prize draws or  special offers.
  • To enable you to place feedback in context, you need to issue unique ‘tokens’ to each customer on every transaction. You can achieve this using individually branded, machine readable comment cards (paper or electronic) – cards can be linked to transactions at Point-Of-Sale by scanning a bar-coded serial number – like a coupon. Customer feedback it therefore linked to real transactions and  real customers. This increases the trustworthiness, as well as the “knowledge-payload” of the data.
  • Comment cards can carry an individually coded QR bar-code for mobile phone users to access  an on-line form. QR bar-codes are easily recognised and commonly used as links to on-line services. Cards can also have postage-paid business reply addresses if required.
  • Consolidate all feedback into one data-store, and develop reports and analytical forms that are relevant to your operations.

“Information in context becomes knowledge, and you can never have too much of that!”

If you would like to know more about Track and Trace Customer Feedback , and how we can help you to get there  contact me by e-mail.

Garrett O’Carroll