Are You Afraid of Feedback?

The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AMEX Open Forum.

Transform the Way You Look at Feedback

About a month ago I had an interesting conversation with the CEO of QuestionPro, Vivek Bhaskaran.  “You won’t believe what I did!” He said.  “I set up a feedback system that shared the customer feedback comments from our site with EVERY tech service employee – and the results were amazing!”

Now this might not sound groundbreaking to you, but it was a transformational moment to him.  He said that he was living under the assumption that all of the feedback that he received from his technical support chats would be negative.  After all, why else would anyone be on a tech support chat unless there was a problem – right?  Well, not always.

To some degree, he was right.  Most tech support chats had to do with either a glitch in the software or customers needing assistance in using the software.  But where he was pleasantly surprised is in how many of the customers who clicked on the “Feedback” tab were actually delighted at the service they received to the point of taking a few extra minutes to write and share their experience.

Out with the old and in with the new

It’s not just your perspective that keeps you chained to the “feedback is criticism” mindset.  A lot of the problem lies in the old, traditional ways of collecting feedback.

  • Comment cards.  These are so old century!  In today’s environment of constant connectedness and communication nothing says “I don’t care about you as a customer” like an old stained, dog-eared and dusty comment card.  Customers don’t fill them out and the management rarely looks at them.  In fact, when I talked to a friend who used to be a server in a restaurant, she told me that at the end of the day, they would collect the comment cards, read them aloud, laugh at them and throw them out!  I’m not saying everyone does this, I’m just saying that there are much better ways.
  • Telephone surveys.   A step above the comment card is calling your customers to do a survey.  These days that is easier said than done.  In industrial B2B markets, this is still a decent way to collect feedback, but the problem is a practical one.  When they see a caller ID they don’t know or recognize, they ignore it and if they answer, they often hang up.  Expensive and ineffective.
  • Online surveys.  This is certainly a step in the right direction, but most online surveys are way too long and respondents often bail out.  Many retailers will put a link to an online survey on the receipt and tell you that it’s there and ask you to fill it out for a chance at winning a prize.  How many of you do THAT?

Feedback tools that will transform your customers’ experience (and yours)

Talk to the Manager – This is an IDEAL replacement for comment cards.  For $29/mo, just place a sign at your point of service; table, desk, hotel room, etc. with a number that allows your customers to text their feedback (remember positive and negative) straight to YOU!  This immediate feedback allows you to address any negative issues immediately and solve the problem BEFORE they head out to Yelp and write a bad review.  It also allows them to send you GOOD feedback that you can incorporate into your marketing message or even use as a testimonial.  To make this strategy even more effective – tell your customers how to give your feedback and that they can leave positive feedback as well.

iPads at points of service – You may have heard that several restaurants are placing iPads at their tables to replace servers.  You may not want to go that far, but take this example as inspiration and think about placing iPads at points of service where using applications like SurveyPocket, you can have your customers provide their feedback digitally.

QR Codes – You see these codes everywhere as tools to send you to videos or web pages.  But you can actually use them to collect feedback from your customers.  The most obvious thing to do is create one QR code and send them to an online survey.  But that’s boring.  Why not create several surveys and QR codes and put them at all the different places where you want to measure quality.  Put  QR code in the restroom and when they scan it – they are asked to rate the cleanliness of the restroom.  Put a QR code on a menu and send them to a survey that asks about the food.  Put  a QR code on your servers name tag and let them rate the server (I wonder if that’s pushing it).  But you get the idea.  Make it fun and you can even reward folks for the number of QR codes and survey questions they answer.

Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers and the President of Third Force, a strategic marketing firm. She's the marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a frequent contributor to AMEX Open Forum.

Posted in marketing strategy
One comment on “Are You Afraid of Feedback?
  1. […] On Demand Feedback is commonly used for collecting feedback about different pages of a website. Each page has content/information that should be easily […]

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