Customer feedback and criticism are not always easy to take. But being open to it, and using it as a means of product improvement can make all the difference in the quality of your product for your customers, and in the success of your business.
Client Service is talked about often in marketing circles. The idea of creating 'Raving Fans' through extraordinary client service has been around for decades. This idea gained mass appeal and understanding when Ken Blanchard wrote a book of the same name, 'Raving Fans, a revolutionary approach to customer service' in 2004.
The lens through which most of this client service advice is seen is that of exceeding expectations; that is, exceeding a client’s expectations using extraordinary problem solving, service delivery speed and attention to detail.
This is achieved by having an engaged and dynamic employee group who cares deeply about the client experience, and knows how to enhance it.
Quality client service as described above will help you grow your business, and create customers who are raving fans.
In today’s startup business culture, many companies come to market with products or services that are incomplete or not fully evolved at launch date. There is such a premium to being first in a particular space, that many new companies practice the 'Ready, Fire, Aim' launch strategy.
There is, however, a way to make this early launch strategy work effectively, and it's by having your client service front lines open and ready to receive, and in some cases implement, customer feedback and ideas.
That means approaching customer feedback (and sometimes criticism) as a means of improving and evolving your product, based on the premise that these are the people who are using your product, and interacting with it, on a daily basis, and who may therefore have some valuable insights that you can take advantage of. This works to your benefit, and to theirs.
There will always be early adopters of any new product or service. These customers are usually open minded, and are willing to try something new and different. They can see where you are trying to take your offering, and will often overlook the warts and bruises of the first iteration you have come to market with, and see not only its value, but also its potential.
The value in this attitude cannot be underestimated. Some of these early adopters will 'own' this new experience and want to give you feedback. Some of this will be highly critical, but it will also be highly valuable.
Really great client service will not view this feedback as complaint, but as part of a crucial feedback loop for making the product or service better.
Passing this feedback along to the design, marketing and production teams will help evolve your company's offering faster, and with a sharper focus on what your clients really want. It will also help satisfy existing customers and help attract new ones.
Recently, I learned that Harley Finkelstein had been named COO of Shopify, a tech success story in Canada that provides e-commerce solutions for businesses.
Harley was one of the early adopters of this software, and had given Shopify’s CEO, Tobi Lutke, so much valuable feedback on the new product that eventually, Tobi offered him a job. The company's early client service culture saw Harley as an asset when it came to improving their software, and not as an irritation.
In short, listening to customer feedback with the intention of improving your product itself is awesome client service, which in turn can be of tremendous value to the quality of your product.
If you are starting a new business, the attitude your client service team takes to customer feedback can make all the difference in the speed at which you grow your company.
You never know, your next COO may just be one of your Raving Fan clients.