How serious do you take your customers opinions?

It might seem to be quite obvious that almost everyone would take their customers opinions quite seriously but if you look more closely, many either ignore their customers opinions or just as bad, they make it difficult for their customers to even express their opinions.

An example would be an organization wanting to promote itself using social networking web sites but being terrified if a customer might post a negative comment. Rather than working to make sure their customers don’t have negative comments by working to improve their product, they are more interested in controlling the ability of others to comment.

Another company I am a customer of sends monthly online surveys about their services. Each month I fill out the survey and am quite honest that while their product is good, their support is not adequate. At the end of the survey it asks if I would be willing to be contacted to clarify my answers and each time I have responded positively. After 6 months, I haven’t seen any changes in their support nor have they ever contacted me. Did they really want to hear my opinion?

Compare that to Gaiam. Gaiam.com is an ecommerce site for this Eco friendly company and besides all the basic things you would expect from an ecommerce site, it also has the ability for people to give reviews. This isn’t unusual (amazon.com and many other sites do the same) but what is unusual is that as I was going through the site and read through the reviews, all negative reviews (and most lukewarm ones as well) were responded to by employees. Sometimes the responses were explanations (for example, if someone complained an item didn’t work in a way that was contrary to the way it was intended, this was explained) but frequently, the response was a reminder that they purchased an item with a satisfaction guarantee and it let them know they could return it for a refund. While others avoid ignore negative comments or don’t allow comments at all to avoid negative comments or even worse, argue with negative comments, this company is proactive in responding to all negative comments and offering refunds when applicable. Keep in mind, many of the negative comments were just mildly negative and none of the responses were made in a personal nature at all).

Do you accept and learn from negative responses or do you ignore and avoid them? I know that the way negative comments were addressed on gaiam.com made it much easier for me to place an order with them.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

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