A few years ago I was in BNI – a referral-based networking group. At every meeting you did a pitch to the members in the room – and indirectly to their networks.
One week I asked the people in the room to raise their hands if they felt they were delivering excellent customer service to their customers. 17 out of 21 raised their hands. One of the 4 who kept their hands down intrigued me. Let’s call him “John”.
John intrigued me because, without prompting , he offered the comment : “No WAY can I ask them what they think of me!”
The meeting didn’t lend itself to probing much further – the BNI meeting formula doesn’t lend itself to that. But I did follow up with John offline.
Guess why he didn’t want to ask his customers for their opinions? It wasn’t that he knew that his customer service wasn’t excellent. The reason was because` he felt that, by asking them, they’d be reminded of his less than excellent service.
That is where he was wrong.
His customers have their opinions of him and his service – whether he asks them or not. If they’re dissatisfied they won’t forget. Indeed they may well tell others. And they’re actually more likely to tell others if they feel ignored – if they feel that John isn’t interested.
There is no downside to asking your customers for feedback – so long as you do it right and not too often. But work with me and I’ll make sure you don’t make those mistakes :-).
Oh – and the 17 companies who considered themselves to be delivering excellent customer service? A large majority of them are probably wrong – but that’s a post for another day!
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