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Customer Feedback: Fight it or Learn From It
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There is a cardinal rule of branding: the customer is always right. It’s a long-standing rule that has helped companies evolve over time and gain success over the years. But maybe this rule is changing and brands are seeing feedback in a different light. Some are learning from the comments and changing processes and ways about the brand, while others are simply fighting it. That’s right — telling the customers they are wrong. Is that even acceptable? Are brands expecting customers to respect this retaliation or are they simply trying to keep their good names untarnished? It seems that if customers are willing to stand up and consistently provide a brand with feedback, the brand needs to listen. Take a step back and really hear what customers are saying and then take an honest look at the business. Because many times what brands think about themselves is not actually what is happening day-to-day. If customers are commenting about something, there’s a reason. Maybe it’s the delivery of a process or the way it integrates into the customer experience that turns customers the other way. Whatever it is, fighting it probably isn’t the best answer.

Let’s focus on customer service — this is a very likely place where many consumer brands will receive feedback. Some good, some not so good, but it all needs to be reviewed. And brands need to be able to identify trends and common themes within feedback. If they exist, there’s a likely chance that this is something the brand needs to review closely. For example, Zipcar has recently been receiving loads of negative reviews on the customer service aspect of the business. It’s a consistent theme running through the customer feedback, so it makes sense to address the issue. Unfortunately, Zipcar has decided it wants to fight this instead of learn from it. The brand is responding by stating it consistently handles customer service requests and passes this information on to their customer experience team. That sounds a little defensive for a brand. What happened to admitting there might be holes in the process and the brand is putting a focus around where these might be to help increase customer satisfaction?

It’s important for brands or those that lead brands to understand that when customers talk they should listen. Really listen. Because if customers are willing to offer advice or share an experience with a brand, it’s beneficial information that can’t be found anywhere else. This forces brands to look for ways to improve processes, the business itself, and of course the customer experience. Any brand that is willing to push itself to do better in these areas is a brand that customers will engage with and support today and in the future. 

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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