Listen to the Customer
February 11, 2013
By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor
When you need customer feedback, do you prefer to get it from direct feedback, or would you rather pull it from social media? Many businesses are turning to social media analytics, and although those are a great way to capture the Web’s chatter about a business, there is still much to be said for getting feedback directly from customers.
I’ve said before how much power the Internet has given every customer’s voice. Complaints can go viral, and praise can become widespread, even memetic. So of course companies want to be among the first to know when word starts to spread; it lets them deal with issues as soon as they start, and learn what works quickly.
Of course, this is the Internet we’re talking about, so not all those who speak know what they’re talking about. Anger is also far more likely to be deemed post-worthy, and it takes really good service to earn a happy tweet, compared to the minor irritations that will trigger an angry one.
As such, it might seem that direct feedback is a better approach, but even that has its issues. After all, it requires active customer participation and feedback, and cynical customers are likely to say, “The service was horrible before, why would they listen to my feedback?” Others will get tired of clicking through lists of “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your experience with this specific thing?” when they just have one specific thing they want to bring up.
Clearly, both of them have their drawbacks, but each has benefits as well that may cancel out each other’s downsides. It’s important that companies make good use of both social media analytics and direct customer feedback, as neither is less important than the other, and both should be taken into account.
There are plenty of solutions designed for finding customer reactions and feedback from across the Web, such as the Voice of the Customer solution from NICE Systems (News - Alert). It examines feedback from direct feedbacks and social media to create a comprehensive overview of customer reactions and feelings about one’s product.
Either way, the customer’s opinions are important and crucial to a business’ success. Whether they choose to take it to you directly or to vent on the Internet, their thoughts and opinions must be accounted for in order to provide the best service to not only that individual, but to all customers.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey