Remember the suggestion box? Now considered another victim of technology-based solutions, most experts have declared the suggestion box dead and gone. While this may be true, keep in mind that the reason for that old box is very much alive and kicking. Giving employees and customers a risk-free way to provide feedback is still a critical component to your convenience store’s ongoing success.
What Is Replacing the Employee Suggestion Box?
Continuous improvement software is technology’s attempt at filling the suggestion box space. Used internally at organizations, this type of tool gives employees an online outlet to submit ideas and track what happens to those ideas. Think of it as an active version of the old suggestion box idea. Instead of just hanging on the wall waiting for ideas to be submitted, continuous improvement applications request solutions to specific problems, and employees earn rewards for contributing ideas.
Do Online Customer Surveys Work?
Customers have no need for a box on the wall anymore – they can offer feedback with a swipe and a click. Online review sites are a blessing and curse for most businesses because the majority of the people who use them are either really happy or really mad. Yet, it’s all those customers who are in between the extremes that you really want to hear from. Enter customer surveys that are sent via email or text, promoted on POS screens and receipts, or pop up on a website. Response rates vary greatly for these, but they hover in the single digits. Many customers find surveys intrusive. With so many companies ask for feedback, customers are simply tuning out.
How Can You Improve Response Rate?
Even with many technology-based solutions to solicit feedback from customers and employees, there’s one sure-fire way to find out what people are thinking: ask them. It’s okay to use technology, but just like with any technology aid, a blended solution is best. Use your online tools as a baseline for idea generation, and follow that up with brainstorming sessions, focus groups, and one-one conversations. Keep the momentum going by taking action on ideas that warrant it, and always give credit where credit is due. Feedback from employees and customers will help you meet your service and sales goals, but gone are the days where you can just sit back and wait for suggestions to come to you. Be proactive!
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