A quiet customer can be a scary customer. Is he quiet because he is so floored by your outstanding service that he can’t even speak? Was your service adequate, but not worth raving about? Or, worse yet, was the service disappointing in some way and the customer just didn’t share his experience with you? When we don’t hear from a customer, we can’t really know how to interpret the silence. The truth is, people are often busy and distracted, and even if they have fantastic experiences, they might not comment on them without being prompted. So how do you elicit feedback from your customers?
In most cases, you can simply ask. Chefs and restaurant managers can get great feedback just by walking their dining room and interacting with guests. In service industries, it’s common practice to follow up on a service call by phoning to see how well a job went. In this scenario, many customers actually do have something to say, but because “it isn’t that big of a deal,” they don’t take the time to comment. Maybe a delivery driver forgot to bring a tool he needed for an installation, but it worked out in the end and he was a really nice guy, so the customer didn’t think much about it. How would you ever know you needed a checklist to go out with your drivers so they always have the tools they need? If you don’t ask, you would probably never know.
Even if you operate a high-volume business that renders personal phone calls impractical, you still need customer feedback. Fortunately, there are modern methods available to help you get the information you need. Subscription services such as Survey Monkey or iPerceptions allow you to reach out to customers electronically and find out what they liked or didn’t like about your service or their shopping experiences. They provide tools that let you create customized surveys and collect and analyze data to measure how satisfied your customers are. Some services are even free of charge.
Whether you are doing really well or really poorly, you should know what your customers think of you, and you can make quiet customers less scary by getting them to tell you exactly how you are doing.