I am used to the digital interfaces popping up on my mobile phone while reading the news. They seek to either advertise or gather feedback. I swipe the pesky windows away so they would not interfere in my reading of the climax of the article. However, at the back of my mind, I wonder if I should have given my thoughts about how they could customize the news interface to cater to my interest.
I encounter this several times a day - from a survey handed to me at the end of my meal in a restaurant to an LCD screen with smiley faces anticipating my opinion on the cleanliness of the washroom I just used. The habit of garnering feedback has become so pervasive that it has become a permanent fixture in our lives - the feedback culture.
This begs the question - why? Why do companies go through leaps and bounds to produce apps, assign personnel and invest time and energy to plan events specifically to gather feedback? With so many companies in every industry possible jumping on the feedback collection bandwagon, it is easy to overlook the purpose and value of collecting such data.
In Air Liquide Southeast Asia, the significance of feedback is not lost on us. We are sure-footed in the way we collect and use feedback to improve our business and service.
Two feedback collection applications were recently launched - Air Liquide’s Medallia, a survey program designed to collect annual feedback from our customers, and Smiley, an app for instant feedback upon the completion of every delivery made by our drivers. To thank our customers for their unwavering support, we organized the inaugural Meet My Customer Week in 2017 to facilitate face-to-face feedback across the organization.
So why is customer feedback strategy a priority? This is my philosophy: Listening to our customers’ feedback is paramount for the growth and sustainability of our business at Air Liquide.
Customer feedback collation points out aspects of our products or services which requires improvement.
It is easy to fall into the trap of being complacent with the existing knowledge we have on a product. When receiving feedback from our customers, the new lens that is used to view our business brings a fresh perspective, enabling us to spot to the loopholes in our business that we may have overlooked. The identification of these flaws helps us know which direction the business should be heading towards. As the needs of our customers change over time, ideally, our service standards should respond by evolving to ensure that Air Liquide stays relevant in the industry.
Listening to customer feedback tells customers that they are involved and important.
It is important to never forget the fact that our business can only grow because of the loyalty and support of our customers. As such, we design our product specifically to suit their needs, which means that their opinions matter greatly. Taking the time and effort to listen, internalize and act upon our customers’ opinions would accord our customers the respect, appreciation and value which they undeniably deserve.
Surveying at progressive stages helps improve customer retention.
Often, customers discontinue their orders when they face problems with the product or service without expressing their dissatisfaction with the company. This common behavior shows disappointment - which means that it is our job to reach out to them so that we hear of their dissatisfaction and understand where we can do better. The strategy in which this feedback is collected is straightforward - it is to take place at different stages of a customer’s journey in order to gain a more thorough and comprehensive view of the customer’s perspective. By providing more avenues to frequently engage customers, we are ensuring that no customer falls through the loop of negligence.
Hence, collecting customer feedback, is in fact, an effective and inexpensive way of improving the quality of our products and services, which plays a crucial role in retaining our customers and placing Air Liquide in a better position to acquire new customers.
'Getting to Know You: How Applications Like Medallia and Smiley Enable Us to Understand Our Customers' is contributed by Virginie Cavalli.