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Customer Conversation: Everybody’s Doing It

We’re not the only ones who think customer feedback matters.

Have you shopped online recently? Chances are you received a follow-up email, asking you to rate the experience. (Or maybe, a pop-up window after you placed the order.) Everybody’s blasting out surveys these days, including big-box retail chains and even nonprofits. Yelp made a fortune by providing a platform for customer reviews; and Amazon is actually suing people for writing fake product descriptions. Clearly, we’re in an era of two-way communication. It’s no longer enough to talk to your customer … they want to talk back.

A few years ago, The Home Depot updated their brand, positioning themselves as a DIY one-stop shop with the tagline: “You can do it. We can help.” Now, what’s interesting is the phrase, “We can help.” Right there, Home Depot committed to a business model of customer service. And the company, which currently leads its competitors in revenue, is trying to keep that commitment. If you shop at a Home Depot store, employees will often ask you to complete a customer survey. These are emailed to you after every purchase you make in store.

And you thought surveying your customers once a quarter was a lot.

“It’s pretty obvious that customer surveys are the norm in today’s market,” observes Brandon Moxam, director of Brand Development. “At first glance, it might seem excessive to ask for that much feedback. But almost all companies do it, and customers not only expect, but want to give their input.”

He goes on to explain that, while not everyone wants to complete a survey, it’s really a tool for those who do.

“People who have exceptionally good experiences— or exceptionally bad ones—want the chance to tell you about it.”

With today’s customer demanding to be heard, it makes sense that Amazon would ban phony reviews from a site reserved for sincere opinions. Not only does the Amazon customer feel like part of the process, he/she knows that every review can affect a sale. It’s like crowdsourcing product promotion, and if done well, you can let your customer reviews do the selling for you. (Similar to building your business on referrals in our industry.)

Two-way communication means everybody wins. Businesses, customers, and vendors alike. It holds your employees accountable and invites customers to participate in making your business better. Through referrals and reviews, it increases your sales with almost no overhead. And it offers you concrete metrics to help you track how you’re performing.

Now’s the time to join the conversation.

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