American Express surveyed Australian business owners and consumers and found that 81 per cent of business owners have made changes to the way they run their business following feedback from consumers, including changes to improve service (50 per cent), quality control (38 per cent), staff training (30 per cent) and to speed up delivery (28 per cent).
However, the Amex study uncovered a significant disconnect in terms of feedback provided and received, perception of any action taken, and the effectiveness of different feedback tools. While 63 per cent of Australians have used social media to provide feedback to a business, only 42 per cent of business owners claim to have received feedback in this way. And alarmingly, 60 per cent of consumers don’t believe businesses actually act on their feedback.
“Consumers feel their feedback is not being heard, yet businesses are working like crazy to stay abreast of online comments,” Geoff Begg, American Express Vice President of Global Merchant Services, Australia and New Zealand, said.
In an acknowledgement of the increasing importance of social media as a communication platform between businesses and their customers, the research also found one-in-three customers use social media to provide feedback because they believe it increases the likelihood of receiving a response and being taken seriously by a business.
To help businesses improve service, American Express has partnered with a new online platform that allows customer feedback to be privately directed to business owners. Known as Yabbit, the platform has been created as an alternative to public review sites and enables direct communication between customers and business owners. Yabbit offers discreet feedback to the service owner – giving them an avenue to respond quickly and fix any issues.
Importantly, the new service aims to make businesses aware of the good and the bad without the potential for faceless public criticism over the internet.
Additional findings from the Amex survey include:
- Customers are more likely to provide feedback to a hotel (71 per cent) or a restaurant or café (68 per cent) than they are to a retail store (44 per cent) or tradesperson (35 per cent).
- Nine in 10 Australians are likely to give feedback to a business after a particularly good or bad experience.
- Gen Y are more likely to be frank about their negative experiences (29 per cent) than Gen X (16 per cent) or Baby Boomers (9 per cent).
Follow @mybusinessau on Twitter for breaking stories throughout the day.