Five things to do today to improve business through Offline Customer Feedback and Social Media

UK businesses are failing to exploit the positive offline feedback they receive, often because they aren’t capturing it in the first place according to (MMC), the first specialist customer complaint and feedback management application delivered using the Software as a Service(SaaS) model.

MMC, whose customers included Middlesborough Football Club, the English National Ballet and the Baltic Exchange, also claims that many firms are unaware of the size, scale and impact of their “feedback footprint” – the total amount of feedback an organisation receives from its customers, prospects and the world at large – both on and offline.

According MMC Marketing Manager Andrew Aldred: “Every business has a feedback footprint. It’s just that most don’t know just how big – or small – it is. Or how best to exploit it. Feedback can come from anywhere. The reception desk. The shop floor. Online. However, most companies are failing to capture all of that feedback – good and bad. They are also missing out on the opportunity to make the most of the good feedback they are getting. Research has shown that 90pc of all customer feedback is never captured. So most companies are operating in a feedback vacuum. Not only that, but much of that feedback may be positive. Positive feedback that could be used to help create a bigger and better feedback footprint.”

Why should businesses care?

Consumers these days rarely consider making a purchase of any kind of product or service without some “due diligence” online.

Not only will people use online research to help make a purchase decision, they will use it to post-rationalise a decision they have already taken. The feedback footprint of a business will help set an expectation of the product or service a customer will experience. Failure to live up to that experience will potentially lead to disappointed customers going somewhere else in the future – and sharing their poor experience with others.

What can businesses do?

MMC offers the following 5 immediate steps to quickly allow businesses to begin assessing their feedback footprint – and how to grow it by exploiting all feedback, including feedback they may not be aware they are getting.

1. Get a consumer’s eye view of both your online and offline feedback footprint

The reputation of your business is largely filtered through Google, YouTube, Twitter, and relevant industry review sites eg TripAdvisor. A simple search of your brand and related brand terms on these search engines will give you an immediate snapshot of your current online feedback footprint. However, don’t neglect offline feedback – it may not be as difficult as you think to capture and use this kind of comment.

2. Don’t rely on customer comment cards

Although customer comment cards and surveys have their place, the fact is, consumers are suffering from survey fatigue.

Capturing all ad hoc verbatim comments about your business and having a means of centrally storing and analysing them can reveal immense insight into what people think of your business. And how best to turn that insight into practical business benefits.

3. Don’t assume social media is just about PR and marketing

A huge conversation has built up around the potential of social media. Much of this debate has centred on the potential for PR and marketing. However, not much attention has been paid to the idea of social media as a customer feedback mechanism. Web and social media is going to take an increasing share of your overall feedback footprint. However, don’t forget that taking positive offline feedback and using it to fuel online feedback channels can have big benefits.

4. Encourage customers to share their feedback online

Simply asking customers to share their positive thoughts online is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to enhance your feedback footprint.

5. Share your offline feedback, online

Don’t forget to exploit your offline feedback, online. Make sure you capture offline feedback and use it to provide more material for your online feedback footprint.

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