Commercial testing laboratories cannot exist in isolation. Sustained growth requires an ever growing satisfied customer base. The importance of customer feedback and its review was emphasized in an earlier article – Customer feedback review – Essential for sustaining a rising growth.
It is common practice for all laboratories to seek customer feedback from time to time or even regularly. Unfortunately in majority of laboratories such information after collection ends up in files and folders and no fruitful decisions are taken for improvements based on such potentially useful resource.
In the present article some suggestions are advanced for seeking customer feedback and on making effective use of such inputs.
How to obtain customer feedback and utilize it effectively
Almost every laboratory or service industry has evolved impressive feedback forms which seek rating for different service parameters such as promptness of response, quality of services, timely deliveries, satisfaction on communication with laboratory field staff, availability of testing facilities, etc. Besides these companies also seek rating for recommendations of their services to other customer contacts. However, if the information gathered is not utilized for improvement in quality of services such feedbacks remain mere statistics and serve really no useful purpose. Honestly speaking it turns out to be a futile exercise which involves lots of efforts and time of laboratory staff.
Apart from sending feedback forms along with test reports it would be a good idea to seek feedback ratings during customer visits by field staff and through telephonic calls by customer care executives. This adds a personal touch and could also encourage the customer to put across honest opinions.
Feedback received from different sources requires to be listed under different heads for trend analysis.
It is strongly recommended that feedback under different heads be reviewed on weekly basis collectively with laboratory sectional heads and remedial measures and suggestions should be discussed at length.
Serious complaints and negative feedback should get higher priority and in such cases senior management should even personally visit such customers to iron out adverse opinions and resolve issues.
It would not be out of place to arrange group meetings from time to time in different marketing zones with customer groups and informally discuss steps that can be taken for improvement in service quality to customers.
It has to be kept in mind that improvement in customer relations is not a one-time activity but it is an ongoing process which can contribute to a steady and steep growth in business. Further it is also true that word of mouth recommendations of satisfied customers serve as a better advertisement option.
In short it can be said that time and effort spent on customer feedback will give guaranteed growth in business by fostering cordial relations with your customers who in due course will become your future progress partners.