26 Apr Maintain a surge in sales with customer feedback, ignore this at your peril
If your business has seen a surge as we phase out of lockdown, ensure you capitalise on feedback during it to ensure you continue to scale.
Just like any surge on the stock market, at some point there will be a correction, a leveller which will bring the numbers back to reality, leaving you with a less manic more focused approach to scaling.
What has a surge shown you?
It shows you have an initial need for your product. Now you need to delve deeply into each section of that to sustain that need, how to retain your current customers and how to expand for success.
Feedback. Is. Golden.
As much as your business is your baby, if you want that baby to grow you need to put your own feelings aside and listen to every customer that feeds back to you in some way. And listen hard.
You might be brilliant at what you do but you’re not a mind reader. You do not know what your customers are thinking.
With social media being what it is, people are used to sharing their successes and their frustrations with the world in a few seconds. These seconds of discontent, however seemingly small can damage your business’ reputation.
Even being as bubbly and as positive as you might be, if one of your customer’s is having doubts about your service or product you need to support them through it. If you leave them feeling dejected, they might feel mis-sold or worst of all for you – like they’ve wasted their money.
Never shy away from feedback
There’ll always be someone who just wants to whinge, listen and take the hit. It might shed light on an issue that you can assist with and make them a happier person overall. Some of your customers might be too shy to say how they really feel so you can always have an ‘ideas box’ at your place of work so that people can leave anonymous feedback and suggestions instead. What you really want is someone who’s honest and constructive.
If someone has got the guts and is willing to take time out of their day to speak to you about your business then they’re a super star. Reward them in some way for their time and energy in caring because they’re not against you, they’re with you. They want you to succeed as much as you do.
And all you have to do is listen. Listen and take notes. Then be really honest with yourself. Can you adapt to take the points on board. Chances are, if they’re feeling what they’re feeling, someone else within your customer base is too.
Once you’ve got some honest feedback you then need to channel your inner Apple. When they launched their now infamous Genius Bars, they made the decision to lead them on the premise that no customer should ever leave the store unhappy.
This is crucial. Your best most trusted solid form of marketing is not on Facebook. It’s still personal recommendations. Women especially are known for this. If I love something I’ll tell everyone about it and they can tell I really mean it because I’m smiling and giving them lots of detail.
If there’s something not quite right I’ll always mention it, however constructively. That’s the point where the business loses though, because within a friendship group there’ll be someone who has a solution to the gap that is missing.
The person who fed back to you constructively has a brain. They’ll likely complete what they signed up for and then start Googling a new business which does tick all of their boxes. Then they’ll smile and tell everyone about your business saying – ‘Well I did really love it but it felt like it was only 70% there … whereas XX for example, well they’ve got it going on. Shall we all try that next month?’
Don’t avoid feedback. Feedback is actually key to ensuring you scale and give your customers the best experience and those all important ongoing sales and natural recommendations.
It’s not just extra cashflow that a surge brings you
The trick to successful surging is to ride the surge for as long as you can, expand in areas which can be sustained and remember that what the surge brings you is more customers to gain feedback on how you should expand.
Here’s the rub. Most business owners are happily confident that they know what their customers want. So much so that they’ll create more products based on this presumption. However, people’s needs, wants and enjoyment changes all the time and it’s your job to stay on top of all of it. Ride the surge for as long as you can, but then focus on expansion by marketing to your easiest customers – your existing ones and offer incentives to them to bring in new ones.
Be on fire with the right, simple yet effective questions
What is your new demographic? Has the surge opened up new verticals for your business? If so, how do you grow them to a sustainable one?
Ask simply: how did you find us?
What was your motivation for shopping?
What brands do they align you with? Perfect for ongoing promotions and collaborations to extend your potential growth.
Do we have a gap in our product line or service that would make you even happier?
Do not rest on your laurels with your surge. It came out of nowhere and could disappear again. Remember if you’ve seen a surge, the chances are that your competitors have done so too. You need your clients to be the happiest with your service that they can be to ensure that the word of mouth recommendations also bring you income.