9 Reasons Why Restaurants and Retailers Need Customer Feedback

Businesswoman using thin line customer satisfaction rating why customer feedback is important

It’s hard to believe that restaurants and retailers still have comment cards for their customers. These are limited and not cost effective. Most people feel that it takes too long to fill out so only a handful will do it. And the ones that do fill them out are atypical customers, either extremely positive or negative. They don’t represent a typical customer’s experience.

Over the last ten years, the biggest changes in customer feedback have come from digital technologies that make it easier for customers to participate. Plus, digital-based surveys make it easier for to collect, store, and analyze the feedback.

Why Customer Feedback is Important

Without any feedback, restaurants and retailers will never meet their customer’s needs for products and services. They’ll have problems connecting with loyal customers, which leads to high turnover rates. Customer feedback determines how important individual services and products are to customers.

The following nine reasons demonstrate exactly why customer feedback is important.

1. Product and Service Satisfaction

Feedback gives important insight into their immediate experience. A survey that takes only a minute to complete can really dig deep into which products and services customers found to be the best and worst performers. From this information, retailers and restaurants can showcase their best products while turning problems into opportunities.

2. Market Trends

New market trends often have more diverse product offerings. These products force retailers to step outside their comfort zone to explore what’s new and trending. Early sales of these new items can be good indicators of success or failure. Product reviews and customer feedback best describe the details—advantages and disadvantages—of their experience using the product. This is better information to base decisions on whether or not the product is a fad or long-term seller.

3. Repeat Business

Customers are more loyal when a business listens to them and makes the changes they requested. When they are ignored, 55% said that they were less likely to remain a customer. So, the best way to respond is to follow their requests.

4. Customer Engagement

Customers want to feel engaged with the stores and brands they love. Feedback gives them the opportunity to give more input than just their dollars. Customer engagement is a two-way relationship that goes beyond a simple transaction.

5. Personal Connection

Customers are looking for a personal connection with brands they purchase. Today, brands are more than just a name and feedback is the only way to know if customers identify with a brand or not. This also gives further insight into market trends.

6. Changes in Technology

Fortunately, technology has stepped in to make getting customized feedback so much easier. Tablets and mobile technology allow feedback surveys to be given in the store. Applications, like SmartConnect, can send a survey through text message and collect that feedback to build easy to read reports.

7. Cross-Sell and Up-Sell

Feedback identifies areas to cross-sell and up-sell products. These are typically customer wish lists or missed opportunities by sales associates.

8. Operational Improvements

Many of the problems customers have with service can be opportunities for improvement. These changes to operations can range from the warehouse to the showroom floor and are typically minor tweaks to daily routines.

9. Build a Better Reputation.

Strong reputations for service and overall customer satisfaction rely on sales data and customer feedback. This cumulative effect comes from a robust feedback program.

Feedback’s Potential for a High Return

Of course, return on investment for customer feedback depends upon what they say. Fortunately, because of advances in technology, it’s easy to create and distribute surveys. The hard part is asking the right questions. To get more value from feedback surveys, do what teachers do and ask open ended questions along with simple rating scales. What comes back may have a huge impact on how the business operates.

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