Imagine you're sitting down at a restaurant, just finishing up a fantastic meal, which was surprisingly topped by the fast and attentive service given by your waiter, when the Manager walks up and greets you at your table. You exchange some pleasantries and she politely asks about your experience.

Excited to share, you begin to rave about the quality of the food and the exceptional level of service you've received. You go on to say that not only will you be coming back, but you'll be recommending them to all of your friends and family.

By all accounts, you're a promoter! And, likely one step away from being willing to twirl a sign outside their establishment.

So, now that you've finished singing their praises, you maintain eye contact with the Manager awaiting her ecstatic reaction ...

Instead, she just stares at you blankly, says nothing and walks away.

How do you feel about your experience now? Do you still feel like twirling their sign on a street corner? Probably not.

This is obviously not an acceptable in-person experience and very unlikely to happen in reality, so why is it so common online?

This is precisely what happens when you don't acknowledge customer feedback, follow-up and close the loop with your customer. You've shut them out and likely turned an advocate into a passive (if not detractor).

Let's look a slightly different scenario:

Now imagine your experience was sub-par. Service was slow and your meal was unimpressive.

When the Manager comes to your table this time, you politely give her an earful. But, rather than criticize, you provide her with several suggestions on how to improve all aspects of the overall customer experience.

Instead of ignoring you this time, she looks at you and very robotically states, "Thank you. Your feedback is important to us. We value your opinion. If there is one thing we could do improve your experience next time, what would it be?"

What?

You just spent the past few minutes giving her a handful of rock-solid improvements. Not only did she not acknowledge a single one of them, it would appear that she didn't even hear them.

Do you feel like your needs were addressed and improvements will be made? Are you any less of a detractor? Doubtful.

Again, this is not a likely experience that anyone would have in an in-person setting, so I repeat, why is this so common online?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: The key to customer success is super simple -- follow-up with your customer and have a meaningful conversation.

I recently had a discussion with one of our clients at Promoter.io, one that serves millions of customers each month. When they first started measuring NPS (a way to measure customer success) less than a year ago, their average NPS score was 15. Today it's 65. (That's going from good to world-class customer service.)

What did they do to improve their score? They listened and followed up on every piece of feedback they received from their customers. That's it.

The way to success in business is through your customers. Don't ignore them and don't automate your responses to their feedback. The key is to listen to their needs, respond promptly their feedback and make meaningful improvements. It's as simple as that.