4 Ways To Get Your Customers To Tell You What They Think
Bill Gates said, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
Many establishments use feedback forms (mostly digital) – and yours might do the same – but the question to ask yourself is, is yours giving you the quality feedback you need to improve your business? You may be thinking….do I really want my customers to tell me what they think of our service, or food or accommodation options? And if that’s true, then look away now because this blog post is all about getting to know what your customers love or hate about your business.
“It is easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.”
- Seth Godin, Entrepreneur and Bestselling Author
It’s no use having a feedback form that’s badly written or ambiguous. Equally, it’s no use having a great feedback form that people can’t find because it’s hidden away somewhere. And then there are those staff members who take completed paper forms and bin them or hide them so that they don’t get into trouble. These are hopeless situations that make it frustrating for guests who are genuinely trying to tell you something valuable or important. To help you improve the quality of the feedback you can get from your customers, here are 4 tips that we know will get your customers talking to you.
1. Keep feedback short, ask the right questions and thank your customers
“Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.” - Zig Ziglar, Author and Motivational Speaker
If you make your review or feedback sheet long-winded and complicated, you’ve lost your customers’ interest immediately. Ask approximately 5 or so questions only (short and sweet appeals to busy travellers) and include questions that are only relevant to your business. If that sounds obvious, you’d be surprised how many questions are asked in surveys that don’t actually reveal a useful answer. Finally, thank your customers for taking the time to give you their valued opinions - every customer wants to know that they have been heard and understood. If they’ve taken the time to tell you their thoughts, you can certainly email a thank-you response to show your appreciation. If they have written an in-depth response or provided additional feedback – be sure to send them a personal response.
2. Mix up your question formats
“Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don’t view them as part of the problem.” - Alan Weiss, Best-selling Author
One way you can get feedback is by using rating scales. Rating scales help you to understand where you went right or wrong at a glance (like rate our service on a scale of 1 to 10). However, don’t ONLY use rating scales in your questionnaire because you won’t always get the full detail or extent of the compliment or complaint, so mix things up and throw in an open-ended question or two. Be careful with your wording so that you encourage the writer to engage. For example, don’t ask, “Are there any problems with the mini-bar service?” - rather ask, “What could we do better to improve the mini-bar service?” - that way, the customer feels more confident to ‘agree’ with you that things could be improved on some level, and they may offer some great ideas or insights that you could have possibly overlooked.
3. Ask for feedback at the right time
“It is not your customer’s job to remember you, it is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.” - Patricia Fripp, Professional Keynote Speaker
This is an obvious one, but often customers do not see a feedback form until days after their stay and by then, they either don’t remember, don’t care or can’t be bothered to let you know their frustrations or compliments. Make sure you email your feedback form to the guest within 24 hours of departure. It shows you care, and any feedback from the customer will still be fresh in their minds.
4. Make it personal
“Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” - Kevin Stirtz, Best-selling Author
Reservations staff know the names and surnames of each and every guest booking they make. Why not use this information that you already have to personalise your feedback form to the guest? Each and every Front Office Manager, Supervisor or Front Desk clerk has the opportunity to personalise a note of thanks, a feedback form or a review - keep your guests top of mind and thank them personally for their feedback, even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear.
Leadership and Managment in the hospitality industry starts with understanding exactly what it is that your customers want - and when that happens, management and staff alike are able to innovate change for the better. Get in touch with our consultants and they can help you with selecting a course that suits you and your needs to get your establishment to give your customers just what they are looking for.