Feedback can be defined as the response to a sender's message. The message that is sent to the sender by the recover after he/she has received decoded and understood the message is what is referred to as the feedback. It could be verbal written, non-verbal cues or even a sigh. For effective communication to occur the feedback message must be understood by the receiver. One of the primary significance of feedback is that it helps a person or an organization to evaluate the effectiveness of their message, actions or products. After feedback has been received, the sender of the message is able to react accordingly in order to make the right decision for the organization.
In an organization context, feedback refers to the reaction of the consumer of a good or service as a result of the good or service offered by the organization. Feedback is a very important aspect of any business organization. This is because it helps the organization to act on the information received so as to improve the quality of products or services offered. It also helps organizations to receive compliments from clients which is a source of motivation for workers (England &Morgan, 2012). Therefore, the importance of feedback communication in an organization cannot be underestimated. This report, therefore, discusses the various challenges that face feedback communication and the solutions to these problems are also highlighted.
Factors affecting feedback in an organization
Feedback in an organization can come from different parties within and outside the organization. Some of the sources of feedback in an organization include; customers, employees, shareholders, creditors, suppliers and even the government. This report will mainly focus on customer feedback to an organization. Customer feedback in an organization can be influenced by many factors as discussed below;
The level of satisfaction that customers get from the product or service. Customers tend to give their feedback on products and services sold to them depending on whether or not the product has met or exceeded the expectations of the consumer. According to research most customers who give feedback on the services provided or goods bought are either very disappointed with what they bought and are complaining or the product or services have exceeded their expectations and they are so excited. Most customers who are indecisive on the product bought tend to avoid giving feedback. Feedback from the customers can be either compliments or complaints and they all need to be taken seriously and acted upon.(Huang, 2010)
Another factor affecting whether or not customers will give feedback is the cost of communicating the feedback. If the cost of communicating feedback is high, customers will be discouraged from reporting back on the product or service consumed due to the expenses involved in communicating the feedback. An example is when a customer has to make a phone call which is charged per minute on air. Cheap means of feedback are more preferred by customers than expensive methods of communicating feedback.
The complexity of the feedback procedure also determines the willingness of customers to give feedback. In cases where customers are required to follow long and tiresome procedures in order to communicate feedback on services received or products bought, customers, tend to shy away from the process since it consumes their time and does not benefit them directly. The long process is so involving and time-consuming and so the organization should adopt feedback communication methods that are effective and fast in terms of transmitting the message and the time taken to encode the message.(Martha &Fanning, 2009)
The emphasis that an organization puts on customer feedback is also crucial in influencing customer’s willingness to give feedback on products and services consumed. If the organization does not educate their customers on the need of customer feedback, it becomes very difficult for customers to communicate with the company because most of them do not see the need to do so. Therefore, it is important for an organization to make sure that their clients react and communicate their level of satisfaction with a product or service so that this information can be acted upon by the management and to improve service delivery and quality of products.
Companies with little contact with customers tend to impose their products on customers and eventually, they lose customers to rivals since competition is so intense in the market (Hasson, 2011). Customers should be informed that the information obtained after consuming of products is used in decision making on issues to do with products and services offered to them.
Another factor affecting customer feedback in organizations is the nature of the relationship between the organization and its customers. If customers have casual and friendly relations with employees of a company, it tends to be easier for them to give feedback on the products they consume as well as the service offered. Customers are also more willing to give a free and fair assessment of the organization as whole because trust and honesty are established between employees and clients.
This hence makes information obtained from the feedback more reliable and accurate (Kuhnke, 2013). Repeated transactions between the client and a company will also determine communication between the customer and the organization concerning the customer's perception of products offered. This happens because, when a customer buys many times, they are able to identify positively with that brand or organization and therefore will be willing to report in case anything is unusual about a product or service.
The emotional barrier may also act as an obstacle to communication between the customer and the organization. The emotional and psychological state of the customer has a huge impact on their willingness to give feedback and also the kind of feedback they give concerning the organization product. Customers sometimes act and communicate depending on their psychological site and it may be either negative or positive.
A happy customer may be more willing to offer feedback than an unhappy customer. At the same time, a customer who is happy as a result of other things may give positive feedback even when the service or product offered is not up to standard (Gray & Moffett, 2011). This may occur due to the excitement. An unhappy customer may also give negative feedback based on their mood at that particular time and not necessarily on the subject matter.
Recommendations on steps that should be taken to make customer feedback more effective
It is becoming increasing important for companies and other business organizations to obtain feedback from their customers. This is irrespective of whether the companies are operating in the retail, manufacturing or service industry. The increase in demand and need for customer feedback among organizations has been influenced by the continuous changes in tastes and preferences of consumers (Worth,2009). The increasing competition in various industries has made many companies become consumer oriented and hence their main focus is customer satisfaction followed by profit generation. Therefore, companies are increasingly seeing the need to obtain information from customers so that they can provide goods and services that match what the consumer wants. Communication of customer feedback can be improved in organizations through the following means:
Designing a customer feedback plan. A company should come up with an elaborate plan with objectives and goals of customer feedback. This will help to give the organization a sense of direction in regard to obtaining feedback from customers hence strategies and tactics will be put in place to ensure that the right kind of information is obtained from customers at the right time.
A company should use a fast and speedy method of communicating feedback from a customer. Fast, in this case, means that information will be conveyed within the shortest time possible and speedy means that customers will not take a lot of time while encoding their message (Barker, 2013). The method chosen should be effective.
The method of communicating feedback chosen should also be reliable. It should be able to convey the sent message to the right intended recipient and at the right place. This will go a long way in ensuring that the organization receives all messages from customers related to feedback.
Another way of ensuring feedback from customers is training employees on how to treat customers and how to obtain feedback from customers. This will help the organization to collect important information which is not necessarily written based on the things customers say to employees during their period of interaction. Employees also need to be trained on reporting issues.
A company should provide their clients with the simplest and most convenient methods of customer feedback and communication (Kraszewski &Mcewen,2010). An example of these is social media, through platforms such as Facebook and twitter where customers can easily send messages relating to products consumed or services offered. Therefore, companies should set up social media accounts which can be used for customer interaction.
Feedback is a very important aspect of communication in an organization. Achieving effective communication is very important for an organization is very important especially in feedback communication. There are also various factors that affect customer’s willingness to give feedback and the kind of feedback they give. Some of these factors include customers relations with employees as well as the effectiveness of means used to communicate feedback. This report also contains suggested solutions to these challenges and highlights on how communication of customer feedback can be improved in an organization (Burnard, 2012).
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