What impact does customer feedback have on your business' bottom line?

Over the past 20 years of working within marketing and public relations, I have seen the evolution of the way businesses have had to collate and disseminate customer feedback.  Customer reviews, feedback, and testimonials have always played an instrumental part in the evolution and growth of a business. A business' goal to maintain high scores in areas such as:

  1. Service
  2. Value for money
  3. Brand relationship
  4. Brand reputation 
  5. Customer satisfaction 
  6. Usability

Are a handful of measurable criteria. However, over the last decade, the process has become democratised, receiving customer feedback in both direct and indirect ways.


What impact does customer feedback have on your business today?

According to a 2019 survey customers on average read 10 reviews before feeling a sense of trust for the business. The survey identified the demographics who on average spend at least 13mins and 45 secs reading reviews, before making a purchasing decision.

  • However, what impact does it have on the bottom line?  
  • How does this affect the average customer lifetime loyalty to a business?

In 2020 we are being impacted by COVID 19 and addressing the virus of race inequity and inequality. Simultaneously we have also witnessed the demise of many business' poor satisfaction ratings and negative loyalty scores, due to poor care of language, a lack of perspective, not responding appropriately or not responding at all.  This is further compounded and amplified with online platforms like Trust Pilot, Skytrax, TripAdvisor, google business .... that provides the opportunity for online customer feedback swiftly and uncensored.  Through these reviews, potential customers can tangibly witness live feedback from previous customers. 

The extent of the damage from negative feedback on a business' survival will be determined by a multitude of factors, however, the reputational damage is easier to quantify very quickly.

The consumer of today is looking for a response from the business in a timely, effective, empathetic, and solution-focused way.  This insight is further reinforced by the survey which highlights the importance of potential customers reading the responses from the business.  Customers are far more discerning when it comes to fake reviews, therefore, they are also interested in the business' response to enquiries and questions.

"Among the consumers that read reviews, 97% read businesses’ responses to reviews – making it more important than ever for local businesses to ensure they are monitoring their reputation across every review site, and responding quickly and professionally to any feedback."  2019 survey 

This interesting result clearly highlights the importance of the relationship with the customer-base and why it is so important to connect and continue to nurture the business communication.

The importance of good communication should never be underestimated, which is why diversity of experience within your corporation is also incredibly important to your communication strategy, as the diverse-lived experience of others provides an opportunity to address the experience through a holistic lens, i: e. gender, ethnicity, culture, 'class'....


How do you prepare your business?

Businesses with a clear and honest communication strategy are at a greater advantage of:

  • Protecting their brand reputation
  • Mitigate and getting ahead of a crisis
  • Putting systems in place for addressing and not repeating the problem
  • Ability to respond within an effective timeframe

In my 20 plus years of Marketing PR, the ways to mitigate against an attack on your brand and business can (often) be turned around in an effective and compassionate way. 

Through, preparation and planning - Communication is key, but you will need to have an obligation to ensure that you are also legally or corporately infringing on yours or the consumer's rights, especially human rights.  Other important factors include:

  • Honesty, integrity, and empathy
  • Openness to accept when you are wrong 
  • Sometimes a sense of humour (when appropriate)


Final remarks

In July 2020, platitudes are no longer enough. Customers want to be certain that they have been seen and heard and that their complaint is being taken seriously. If this is not felt or seen by the customer, the implications on brands can be challenging and, in many cases, detrimental to the business' monthly/annual financial targets, and reputation.




If customer feedback is so important to businesses and the way you build your brand reputation, how and what mechanism do you use to receive customer feedback?