Top 5 Reasons Your Customer Feedback Program Won’t Result in Real Changes

Many companies have customer feedback programs, and most of them are gathering data. But what does this mean for businesses? The better feedback you have, the better you can serve your customers and the better products you can create. However, not all feedback programs are created equal. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped our clients gather and analyze customer feedback data, here are the top five reason your customer feedback program won’t result in real changes to your organization.

  1. Your Feedback focuses on One or Two Metrics
  2. You Don’t Ask “What went well?” and “What didn’t.”
  3. Your Feedback Data isn’t Current
  4. You Routinely Dismiss Negative Feedback
  5. You Ignore Your Customers’ Emotions

1. Your Customer Feedback only focuses on one or two metrics

Are they customer-centric or company-centric? In other words, are you focusing on how the customer feels, or are you focusing on scores only without any other information? The metrics you choose to measure will tell your story and guide you to success. If you only focus on one or two things, you’re missing a lot of important information. For example, suppose you only measure feedback based on customer perception of the availability of your parts. In that case, you’re missing how customers feel about your following-up service and their buying experience.

2. You Don’t Ask “What went well?” and “What didn’t.”

Feedback without actionable steps is useless. Scores without any other data are useless. If you don’t ask your customers what they want changed or how they want it changed, how will you know what needs to be changed?  I know it sounds simple, but it is best to ask the ”why” questions and find out what worked and what didn’t following a transaction.  With this information, you can identify changes, implement them, and tell your customers.

3. Your Customer Feedback Program Data isn’t Current

One of the most common mistakes companies make is waiting too long after a transaction to get feedback from customers. Customers forget if you wait too long. Also, people forget the specifics of the issues, so you are less likely to address them.   Lastly, but failing to address them, you send an unmistakable message that you don’t care. Again, perhaps unintended, but it is the message customers receive. The bottom line is that you will decrease your customer loyalty by not acting on feedback. Conversely, studies show that 83% of customers felt increased loyalty to a brand after an issue was resolved.


Top 5 Reasons Your Customer Feedback Program Won't Result in Real Changes 83% of Customers felt increased loyalty to a brand after an issue was resolved.

4. You Regularly Dismiss Negative Feedback

It’s so important not to dismiss negative feedback and make the mistake of thinking it’s not worth your time.  “We never hear this type of feedback!” or “We’ve always served our customers well!” are common defensive responses to less than positive feedback.  I understand that negative feedback can be challenging to hear, but it is so helpful in making positive changes.  We encourage our clients to use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve their business and show customers that their opinions matter.

In my interview with Paul Start, Thomas Built Buses, he said that some dealers anticipated negative feedback.

Yes, just in general, when we first started, I think everybody thought we were on a witch hunt. And it’s not. It’s the positive information that you get. In some cases, we’ve had dealers come back and say, “I didn’t even realize myself how valuable it was or how strong my relationship was with that customer. And I’m not going to take it for granted.”

See full interview here.

5. You Don’t Acknowledge Your Customers’ Emotions

Did you know that your customers remain loyal to you for emotional reasons as well as rational ones? Are you reading your feedback and thinking, “that customer is always upset. You can’t please him!”? You have to go deeper. Their emotions, both good and bad, need to be addressed. I interviewed one of our clients, Jodi Phillips at Butler Ag Equipment, and she explained how Butler acknowledges their customers’ emotions.

I think really what we are seeing happening is that with our overall company focus on the healthy side of our organization, when you look at customer experience, it’s about feelings, it’s about emotions and it’s about feelings, not about scores. However, while those feelings drive those scores, both sides of our industry, feelings and what people used to refer to as fluffy, weren’t necessarily talked about openly. When we started getting a heavier focus on that as an organization with our employees and knowing that our customers’ emotions drive, that that is one of the things that on the ag side of the business, anyone who knows farmers or who grew up around farmers, are amazingly emotional, like everyone else, emotional people they are. And that emotion drives their business day in and day out.”

You can watch the complete interview here.


The more you know about your customers and the more you can understand their needs, the more you will be able to create a product or service that meets those needs. This is why having an effective customer feedback program is so crucial to success. Use these five tips to make sure that your program results in real changes to your company.

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