Leveraging Customer Feedback

Make a customer, not a sale.

The purpose of business is to create a customer who creates customers.

There are a slew of quotes on customer service that can be applied to your business, but one should stick out among the rest, and it's by Microsoft's Bill Gates: Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

This quote can easily be condensed into three words - feedback means everything. No matter what business you're in, it's essential to tap into the thoughts, reactions and emotions of your audience in regards to your venue. Even the nightlife establishments that top Nightclub & Bar's Top 100 grossing list aren't perfect, but considering the millions they're profiting, they're definitely listening to their audience, but more importantly, acting on the feedback.

Nightlife guru Emi Guerra, co-founder of Miami's legendary Space Nightclub and South Beach-based Guerra Entertainment, understands how essential it is for nightlife professionals to leverage the feedback from their audience. Rather than letting short-lived success get to their heads, he believes it's key to take a have an unbiased view on their opinions.

"Feedback is crucial to longevity," Guerra says. "You really have to take a step back and take an objective look at your customers reaction to the experience as a whole. Everything from drink prices, to the service, to even the way they dance and move at the peak of the night."

It's the little things that could make a big difference at the end of the day. Does a high-energy nightclub have enough space for customers to dance? Like Guerra says, it's best to find out by analyzing those moments of the night. Any adjustments that need to be made can be addressed following your observations.

While restaurants and even some bars prefer to give their customers feedback notecards to fill out, sometimes it's best to get into the mix yourself and dive into the experience to truly get a feel of what your audience is experiencing.

"Walking the room and being present is always my most preferred method of getting feedback," Guerra says. "Listening to staff - including bartenders, waitresses and security - is also another way and allows for a different perspective."

Naturally, there's only a certain level of feedback one can get from first-hand experience. Sometimes you can't truly tap into your customer's thoughts while they're there. That's when social media comes in. Nowadays, no one has a problem voicing their opinion via various online channels.

"Twitter especially blows up when stuff goes wrong, but Instagram blows up when things go right," says Guerra.

While we're living in a digital age, you shouldn't place too much focus on getting a majority of your feedback from social media channels, ultimately you'll want to be present, shakes hands and lend an ear to those key people.

What does that do? Ultimately, it creates a "unified" voice among your staff and management, according to Guerra. Believe it or not, the audience can pick up on that.

"If you know your customers and your customer base, you (as a business) should be able to anticipate their wants and needs and hopefully be able to supply that without them having to ask for it," he says.