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Innovation: Customer Feedback as CPR

Imagine you’re lying on the ground not knowing how you got there. Think what it would be like to have your life choked out of you. How are you feeling? Wouldn’t you want someone to come to your rescue? Customer feedback can and often does rescue you. Let’s take a look at how.

Imagine you’re lying on the ground not knowing how you got there. Think what it would be like to have your life choked out of you. How are you feeling? Wouldn’t you want someone to come to your rescue? Customer feedback can and often does rescue you. Let’s take a look at how.

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If you’ve taken a CPR class, you’ll know that the steps you should take at the first hint of an emergency are check — the scene for safety and the person for consciousness – call, and care. You will probably also know that when you are checking the person, you ask a series of questions. These questions can help you determine what is wrong so that the appropriate care can be given by the emergency personnel. If the person is not conscious, well, there are reasonable things one can do to assist while help is on its way.

In Pennsylvania, the Good Samaritan Act protects people with a current First Aid card from liability. The purpose of CPR is to provide basic care after getting the consent of a conscious person. So you state your name, tell the person you are trained in first aid, ask them if you can help, explain what you think may be wrong, and explain what you plan to do.

This is the procedure and then there are techniques that everyone with a first aid card needs to learn and practice. Are you with me so far? Now how about thinking of customer feedback as CPR? It’s not as big of a stretch as you might believe.

Customers may be calling in not only to receive support; they are also often calling you to provide useful information. If your product or service is not working, you want to know right this minute, while something can still be done to restore the confidence in your service. And you can actually use that feedback as an opportunity to get an honest conversation going.

So here’s what you want to do from a customer service line:

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– State your name with clarity
– Tell the customer you are trained in support and service
– Ask specifically what you can do to assist
– Explain what you think may be needed
– Explain exactly what *you* plan to do about it

This opening list looks quite simple to follow, so stay with me (no pun intended). The information that your customer is going to give you may be mundane, yet if you take it seriously it can save your job. Why? She is going to begin to trust that you are going to do the right thing, and she might throw in some more feedback for good measure.

The fact that she called is already a form of feedback, if you’re listening and logging in the information. Now if you want more, learn to take it. Still all those voices inside your head that say your business is doing just fine, that you don’t need the help of one person. Did you know that most victims’ first reaction to something being wrong is denial?

This one person, and all the others who call you, can provide the life support your company needs to grow. Feedback is an essential part of business, and it can be a much needed first aid when things are beginning to go not so well. Take it as a gift, learn to capture it and listen to it with an open mind.

Don’t wait for the marketplace to tell you what your customers are telling you today. By then, it might be too late.

Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent • Philadelphia, PA • ConversationAgent@gmail.comwww.conversationagent.com

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