Customer feedback is, and has always been, valuable. It can help you refine your products and service offerings. You can use feedback to help create (or choose to offer) new HVAC products and services by revealing customer problems and unmet marketplace needs – and much more. However, dealing with the flood of feedback and opinion unleashed online on social media and other forums these days can sometimes be difficult.
Customer feedback is everywhere now and can present a challenge to companies trying to capture the information and deal with complaints. Customer reviews have become a credible business model (for companies like Yelp and Angie’s List) and important decision-making tools for future customers. So it’s more important than ever to collect and monitor feedback, along with reviews. It’s also important to be proactive in dealing with negative feedback or reviews—because your reputation and brand name are at stake.
Here are five tips for monitoring, handling and using customer feedback to improve your business and your bottom line:
- Instill a mindset of taking customer feedback seriously: Everyone in your organization is a customer service person, when it comes right down to it. Everyone gathers feedback, either incidentally, when a supplier or manufacturer mentions a customer trend or observation, or purposefully for customer service reps or technicians/installers on the front line dealing with clients daily. Create a procedure for reporting the feedback, taking action on complaints and monitoring feedback trends.
- Make it easy: Let your company be the main hub for customer feedback. Clients won’t need to rush to their own social media accounts or a review site to give you feedback if you make it easy for them to be heard on every page of your website. Also reach out for feedback through direct questions and follow-up. Survey customers to find out “how are we doing” via email, postal mail and in person as service is completed. Ask clients (or observe your own operations) to find out how easy or difficult it is for clients to be heard. Smooth out the process based on your findings. This doesn’t mean you should discourage them from reviewing your services on reviews sites or elsewhere. You should still ask for reviews (and recommendations) to improve your profile online and counteract any negatives.
- Use feedback as business intelligence: Turn customer comments, suggestions and questions into product innovation. Customers are a valuable source of practical, and practically free, ideas. They are your ad hoc product testers and focus group. Be sure to include a request/special offer for referrals and testimonials on your customer satisfaction surveys.
- Identify marketplace needs: What are clients or prospects talking about (or bemoaning) in your local community or the home comfort business in general? What do they need that they’re not finding at your business or any of your competitors? Look for emerging needs or trends and hot topics on Facebook or forum comments. Maybe no customer has actually spelled it out yet, so look for unmet needs and unsolved problems. Create services or products to solve them and you’ve got new business.
- Find the passion: Learn how customers feel (emotionally) about your brand through monitoring social media and client touch points. Do different segments of your audience feel differently about your company—or is the impression you’re making consistent? Do repeat and older customers feel differently than new clients? Does the customer’s feeling about your company match what you want for your brand? If not, what changes can you make to cause them to feel more valued? To provide a positive customer experience? Solving problems here inspires customer loyalty.
To learn more about gathering and using client feedback to strengthen your HVAC customer experience, contact Continuity Programs today.