Your customers are talking…  Are you listening?

In today’s hyper connected, value savvy global marketplace, your customers are becoming ever more the key and demanding.  They can talk about you behind your back to the world at the touch of a button and the speed of light.

To quote Jeff Bezos: ‘Your brand is what the customer says when you’re not in the room’

So are you listening?

Research shows, that the vast majority of businesses and organisations are either not listening at all, or listening ineffectively.

Not listening at all: the ostrich with its head in the sand syndrome.  There are plenty of feedback systems to at least help you get started with listening, even if you just monitor twitter and put google alerts on your brands.  If you are not currently listening, there must be a reason for this: either you are nervous and unsure what to do for the best, or you may be frightened as to how to react to feedback as and when it comes.  In either case we at Investors in Feedback can help you move forward in a very cost effective and easy to manage way:

Beware, there are plenty of snake oil salesman out there who will try and take a large chunk of your money for systems that work ineffectually or in an incomplete way.

Listening ineffectually: we find that the vast majority of businesses who are gathering feedback, are using ineffectual systems, these are systems that have the following issues:

  • low response rates
  • no real understanding of what the customer means
  • lack of true information to help you learn and grow
  • perceived unfairness
  • lack of consumer confidence that their review will make any difference (so, instead, they don’t bother to fill in your reviews, and, instead just gossip about you to the world behind your back)
  • and, probably the biggest issue of all, inability for the customer to feed back to you in an easy and risk free way, while they are still a customer to you (i.e. Before they have left you or completed their transaction with you)

Many of the online feedback systems that are touted so widely at the moment have all these issues attached to them: one thing that they do help you with is ‘search engine optimisation’, through publishing your feedback openly and transparently (and this is something that should genuinely be encouraged in all circumstances).

If you wish to know more about all these issues and find out how to put feedback systems in place that would genuinely build your reputation, customer loyalty and referrals, then we are the worldwide leader in feedback audit and accreditation to help you achieve these aims.

There is no such thing as a bad online review

In previous blogs we have discussed the power of feedback, and how important it is to get it right, do it obsessively, and make sure that it is done in a way that your customer engages with you, before they have left you, so that you can not only build your reputation with them, but are also given an early warning of any bad feedback that is about to go on to the public domain.

So, if you get your feedback systems right, and your business is built around the four empowering and common sense principles of ‘great or poor’ customer experience (for more information on these four principles, please search online for “great or poor” or contact us), then, whatever feedback you get, you can turn it into a business advantage and long-term sales growth.

How is this?

If you get a great review, it’s not only tells you what you are doing right, but also tells the world to trust you and do business with you.  It also gives you an opportunity to turn this cut one customer into a raving fan who will recommend and refer you proactively if you help them do it and make it easy for them.

If you get a “just OK” review, it gives you the opportunity to react to it online and explain what you are doing to put things right, (so potential customers can see that you are a genuine business wanting to excel), and you can get back to this customer and turn them into a raving fan by reacting positively to their feedback and telling them what you’ve changed and giving them a special deal to re-engage with you.

If you get a poor review, it gives you an opportunity to tell the world the truth about your organisation.  Other people like reading poor reviews much more than they like reading great reviews, so you will have more opportunity for sales building PR from a poor review.

If the poor review is fair, it’s not only gives you the information you need to stop yourself going out of business (for which, on its own, you should sincerely thank the customer), it also gives you the opportunity to react to it constructively in the public domain, so everyone who reads the poor review will see how caring and willing to engage with customers, you are.

Customers can easily accept that you can make mistakes and things can go wrong, but customers will never forgive you for not caring and not reacting kindly and positively to problems: a poor review is a great opportunity to blow everyone’s socks off.

If the poor review isn’t fair, you must assume that it is probably fair in the eyes of the reviewer and you react in a very similar way to the above: tell the viewer (and all the other viewers worldwide) what you think may possibly have happened, and how you always seek to accept feedback to help you continually learn and grow.  An unfair feedback is an amazing opportunity to react positively and show the world how emotionally intelligent you are and how they should rush to be your customer.


Investors in Feedback will work with your organisation, not only to make sure your feedback systems are doing the vitally important jobs that are needed from them, but also to make sure that you know how to react to all feedback, good, bad or indifferent, in order to turn every review or online comment into a PR triumph and yet another reason for customers to flock to you time and time again.

Why it’s important to invest in feedback

We all know how important feedback is in today’s market: customers, previously disempowered by misleading advertising, now or have the opportunity for worldwide networking, worldwide research, and opinions from users on your Product or service.

Yet, so often, they can do this behind your back, without your knowledge, and without giving you the opportunity to put things right first.

Is that fair? No

Will it help you improve and then get a better experience when dealing with you?  No

So, the problem with most feedback systems is that they gather feedback after the event…  Which means that you are unable to put it right if it’s gone wrong, or re-engage with them to continually improve it, or get them signed up to be a lifelong customer, referrer for your product 0r services, or part of your VIP club.

Most feedback systems therefore  have very limited effect.

That is why, we suggest that you not only need to gather feedback, but you need to invest in feedback.  What we mean by investing in feedback?

We mean:

  • Making feedback the number one key driver of continual improvement in your business
  • Managing customer expectations so that they give you feedback whilst you can still do something about it (rather than after the event which is lame are and second rate at best)
  • Investing time and resource to not only gather the feedback through quality systems, but also to react effectively to the feedback when you have it: whether it is good, bad, or indifferent… There is always a way forward that will build customer loyalty, reputation and referrals.

As we say in Investors in Feedback:

  • Gathering feedback is important… Reacting to it properly is vital
  • There is no such thing as bad feedback: just feed back gathered and reacted to in an ineffective way



Your brand is what people say about you behind your back

Jeff Bezos, CEO of probably the most successful retail business of all time, is consistently quoted as saying the above about businesses Brands.

Yet, how much time and effort do businesses often put into feedback and genuinely getting close to the customer versus developing Brands and pretty Logos?

I think the point is clear: in the world of the 21st century empowered customer, transparent business processes and unrestrained online feedback, it is becoming stupider and stupider to spend lots of money on Brands whilst either ignoring or treating feedback and customer engagement as a minor issue in your business.

It is now the other way round.

We are going through a revolution in how people behave and interact with each other: for the first time in history, there is two way global information and the voice of one customer can relatively easily be more powerful than the voice of your entire marketing department.

For example, over a year ago some feedback on a car brand’s service disaster, ranked higher on google for almost four months than the official service website for that car brand. One small lapse of focus, combined with poor feedback systems, produced many hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

There are many similar examples across the web: please just search for further examples!

In a revolution, everything revolves.

  • Customers get information from reviews and other people’s opinion, rather than your official information
  • Customers can shop on price 24 hours a day rather than wait for your annual sale
  • Sales teams are dealing with customers who know just as much about your competitors as they do about you (and probably more than you do)
  • Customers can access products and services from around the world at the touch of a button at a fraction of the price they used to have to pay
  • And marketing is now not about polishing your brand to make it look as shiny as possible, it’s about genuinely engaging the customer, gathering feedback and investing in customer reputation loyalty and referrals, for long term product and brand success.

Investors in Feedback helps you fill the gap, revolve your systems to drive continual customer reputation, loyalty, cross sales, up sales and referrals.