Guest Blog - Why Do You Even Want My Feedback?

Confirmit Team

Confirmit Team

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Confirmit’s dedicated teams work to deliver world-leading customer experience, Voice of the Employee and Market Research solutions. 

Author Bio

Ah, the customer survey. Many hotels send lengthy questionnaires after a stay; most cable and telecom providers ask for a brief assessment after a service call; an ever-increasing number of companies across every industry ask the Net Promoter–style willingness-to-recommend question. The one thing far too few companies do, however, is tell customers what they plan to do with that information.

As far as your customers know, their feedback is going straight to a black hole. You know, that 50-page, never-read report about customer sentiment and preferences. The one someone painstakingly creates, and everyone else painstakingly ignores because change is too hard.

This thing is, if you want more customers to give you feedback (and offer their feedback more than once) you should—no, you must—tell them what you plan to do with it. Be specific. And if you really want to surprise and delight your customers, you can tell them what actually happened with that feedback.

Imagine this (simplified) scenario:

Part 1: We would like your feedback on this process. We plan to use it to make improvements in areas that will allow us to service you more efficiently.

Part 2: Thank you for the feedback you provided recently. Based on your comments, and the suggestions provided by other customers, we recently changed our service menu items to simplify your options and get you to the right service representative as quickly as possible.

Or this one:

Part 1: We would like your feedback on this product. We plan to use it to select which new features to add.

Part 2: Thank you for the feedback you provided recently. Based on your comments, and the suggestions provided by other customers, we recently upgraded feature A. Many people also suggested adding feature B. We aren’t able to add that feature at this time, but our development team has added it to the product roadmap.

Wow! Imagine the goodwill those follow-up notes would inspire. Customer engagement would increase among surveyed customers (as would sales, especially in the second scenario where customers will feel they have co-created a product). What’s more, notify other customers of changes made, citing that the updates were made based on customer feedback, and watch overall survey participation increase. In most cases customers want to share their opinions, ideas, and insight with you—but often don’t because they feel it’s a waste of their time.

Today I concluded a lengthy bit of business with my bank. As I write this, an eight-question satisfaction survey beckons. I’m debating whether to fill it out. Printed on the survey is, “Your responses will help us improve and provide high-quality service to our customers.” This statement is so general that I doubt the bank plans to use the survey beyond tracking satisfaction.

I don’t think my comments will make it past the machine that tallies the check boxes. I don’t expect the bank to rework its business based on my one experience. I just want to know that if I’m taking the time to give my feedback, someone will actually read it and decide whether some action should be taken.

So, will I fill out the survey? In my opinion, it has “black hole” written all over it. But I do plan to compliment the professionalism of the associate I worked with. I just hope her manager actually sees it.

The more important question is: If you don’t do so already, when you ask customers for their feedback, will you tell your customers what you plan to do with it? And will you follow up afterward?

Ginger Conlon is Editorial Director of 1to1 Media.

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