A Tale of Two Customer Feedback Responses

How do you feel about a company after they respond to you about your feedback?  Heard?  Appreciated?  You might even feel more loyal to that company.  But what about when the company ignores your feedback?  It doesn’t feel so good.  Unfortunately, companies often fail to respond to the feedback they asked for in the first place.  To illustrate the impact of how responding to your customers’ feedback matters, I want to share two examples of surveys I completed and how these providers responded to my feedback.    

Customer Feedback Response 1 

Our firm uses a company to manage payroll and various other administrative chores.  Like most software platforms, there are things I like and some I dislike.  The one shortcoming is the reporting.  It is not user-friendly and seems old-fashioned, like something used 10-15 years ago.  

While the company has made efforts recently to enhance reporting, it still has a ways to go.  A few weeks ago, I received an email survey from them. 

My feedback was that the site changes were welcome, and I shared my issues about generating reports on their platform.  Two days later, I received an email from their manager of client service asking for more feedback, which I gave.  She outlined some things the company was working on to improve reporting and asked if I wanted to arrange a time to discuss my concerns.  I declined because there was not much to add to my earlier feedback.   

Customer Feedback Response 2 

We have used the same company for our phone service for more than five years.  Over time, it has become less reliable.  I’ve come to view them as a less-than-acceptable provider, one which we will likely change as soon as possible.  I received an email survey from this company at about the same time as the one from our payroll provider.  

I completed it, and the feedback was not glowing at all.  Anyone reading it could see I was an unhappy customer.  What response did I get from the phone service?  Nothing!  No phone call or email follow-up from our account manager.  No follow-up from anyone.  To add insult to injury, this survey was the second I had received from them in the last twelve months.  I received the same follow-up response from both—nothing, nada, zip!  

Which Response Had the Greatest Positive Impact? 

An easy answer—the payroll provider.  I did not expect any response because I wasn’t upset as much as I expressed a desire for them to improve, so our jobs would be easier.  However, I received a thoughtful, personal email from the manager asking for more details.    

With the phone service provider, the lack of response to feedback from a frustrated and at-risk customer only put another nail in the coffin that describes the relationship.    

Takeaways

Responding to customer feedback really matters.  Your customers feel much better about their relationship with you if you acknowledge their feedback.  Note that the payroll provider didn’t promise me that reporting would change overnight.  The manager just listened through her email.    

  • Service recovery does matter:  My feedback to the phone provider should have qualified me for some service recovery efforts.  But that did not happen, which further reinforced the idea that customer feedback may not be that important.    
  • Your customer’s feelings matter: In this case, I feel better about the payroll provider than before the interaction.  In the case of the phone service provider, I like them even less.  I am becoming a brand “savage” when it comes to them.   

You want and need to engage your customers emotionally with your brand, as this increases loyalty.  Effectively responding to customer input builds that emotional connection.    

Not responding to your customers’ feedback will put your relationship at risk.  It’s that simple. 

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