Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Difference Between Customer Complaints and Customer Feedback

Businesses need information from their target markets in order to improve upon the products and/or services that they offer. Sometimes this may come in the form of customer feedback surveys and other times it may come in the form of complaints from unsatisfied clientele. No matter where the data comes from, businesses must act on the information and learn from mistakes that were made.

The difference between feedback and complaints 
There are a couple key differences between complaints and feedback that come from customers. One of the clearest delineations is that feedback is warranted or sought out by a business whereas complaints come on their own. For instance, a business may conduct a satisfaction survey on a particular product after a planned release date. Customers, participants or any other relevant individuals may be contacted and asked to fill out a form answering questions about an experience. This data is then analyzed to identify trends or patterns. Complaints on the other hand may come in the form of customers calling, writing or walking into a company to voice their dissatisfaction with a product or service. Although these interactions and subsequent data are not sought out by a company, information gained from these interactions is just as useful, if not more so. Another key difference is that feedback and the data it generates is not beyond some measure of control. A business may structure customer feedback surveys depending on the type of data they are looking for from customers. In contrast, complaints are whatever a customer makes them.

Using data to tweak processes 
Whether data is drawn from customer feedback surveys or from customer complaints, it can be used to improve how an organization operates. Companies can capture data using customer complaints software or analyze information gained from surveys. The more data a company gathers, the better it is able to see trends that are occurring. Once conclusions are drawn from these trends, decisions can be made as to how to improve a customer service process. Customer complaints, as well as feedback from survey activities, should be taken very seriously no matter how insignificant they may seem. Businesses that allow customer issues to go unresolved run the risk of having these events mushroom into full-blown PR nightmares.

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