Make It Easy for Your Customers to Provide Feedback
Soliciting customer satisfaction feedback can be a heart-pounding experience. Once you know your customers' feedback, you have to either act on it or deliberately ignore it. So maybe it’s not surprising that the way some organizations request feedback ensures they don’t get much of it. This seemed to be the case at some of the hotels I stayed at during a recent trip.
Two weeks after staying at the first hotel, I received an emailed request for feedback and a link to the web-based feedback form. But by this time, I’d been to several other hotels and this one was at best a blur. Timing matters in soliciting feedback. If you really want that feedback, ask for it soon enough after the delivery of the service that customers can still remember it.
When that first hotel popped into my mind a few weeks later, I clicked on the link to offer my feedback. Back came a message saying the time to deliver the feedback had expired. Understandably, an organization might want to analyze all the feedback collected within a specified period of time after delivery of a service. But couldn’t additional feedback thereafter still be valuable? If you really want feedback from customers, don’t refuse it when they offer to give it. And if there’s a cutoff date, tell them that when you request the feedback.
Eventually, the final hotel on the trip emailed a link to provide feedback. One question asked whether I had experienced problems. I clicked the yes box. The next question was “Which problems did you experience?” followed by fifteen categories of complaint, including the room temperature, accuracy of the billing, noise, and water pressure.
But this list was worthless, because there was no way to elaborate on what exactly the problem was. For example, if room temperature was a problem, did that mean the room was too cold, too hot, too variable, or something else? If billing accuracy was a problem, was it a mistaken three-dollar room service charge or multiple large charges for the big spender across the hall?
In any case, the problems I experienced weren’t among the fifteen items. To accommodate that situation, there was a final item in the list: “Other: Please specify.” But the form allowed a mere thirty characters of free-form entry. If customers have more than thirty characters’ worth of problems, wouldn’t it make sense to allow unlimited space, so that you can fully understand their dissatisfactions and take steps to alleviate them?
If organizations really want customer feedback, they need to do more than spout their desire for feedback. They need to make it easy for customers to provide that feedback.