The Importance of Online Feedback
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t receive a request for my feedback on a recent transaction, call, visit or inquiry. In some cases, I can’t even leave a web page until I tell them whether I want to provide feedback. It would be easy to assume that there are too many surveys, and thus response rates will go down.
It is just the opposite. People now expect to have a chance to tell you what they think. Sure, most will not fill out the information, but those who do are proud to share the positive success or are hopeful that you will fix a problem. If you are not providing the chance for your customers to provide feedback on your service, you are missing an important tool in business.
For example, last year we had a client respond to a survey letting us know the quality of an imprint was not what they had hoped. This was the same imprint they had used before from the same vendor. They never told the sales partner they weren’t happy with the shirts (we sent the survey two weeks after they had received them), but took the time to fill out the survey. The sales partner immediately reached out to the client and discussed plans for future orders (and making them even happier on this order). The client wasn’t unhappy, just sharing insight that would help us do a better job for them.
Each week, our sales partners (and Geiger overall) receive great insights from our customers because we ask them how the order went. We have rules in place to ensure they aren’t overly surveyed by us to avoid too many surveys. I believe a business can survey too much, so I would err on the side of caution to start. I get a Delta survey almost every week I fly, and most weeks I still take time to answer the survey.
Another important consideration is the importance of the visibility of the feedback. If feedback is shared only via email, phone or face-to-face, you may miss a larger trend of insight when you can view feedback in a collective format. Each time I speak with a Delta agent, I’m asked to rate them from 1 to 5. If I rate someone a 1, but they get 5’s for all other calls, the trend is clear that my issue was probably the problem rather than the agent. However, if the trend starts to show scoring starting to trend away from the 5, it’s time to look at the agent or the policy.
Finally, if you receive feedback, you must act on it, and the responder must know you are acting on it unless they have specifically told you not to contact. On the few occasions I have provided negative feedback about a situation to Delta, I’ve received appropriately timely responses—usually by telephone. In the cases where they know they messed up, they provide me something for my trouble (usually 1,000 miles or so). Knowing they are reading and responding to the feedback is one reason I keep taking the time to provide them feedback.
It seems easy to create a simple online feedback tool. It can be, however, to do it well does take some effort and some expense. Free survey tools work OK, but create a less than ideal experience. In addition, you need to be able to export your customers in a way that avoids duplicative survey requests, as well as giving them the chance to opt out. You also need to make the time to read and respond to feedback that deserves a response (and sometimes that is a positive comment).
If you don’t have the resources to do online feedback extremely well, do it as best you can. The insights are still worth it. Seeking feedback online is very valuable to your long-term success.