Feeding back on the Feedback – Why does it still surprise?


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I’ve written many times about the importance for companies to “feedback on the feedback”. I.e. responding to customers who’ve given you feedback about your products or service. In fact, it’s one of those things that I now just assume is obvious to any business running a Voice of the Customer program.

However, while I assume it’s obvious, I’d never realised how rarely it actually happens when I provide feedback. The only reason that’s suddenly occurred to me is that a company has just done that very thing and I was surprised.
The background is simple, I held a New Year’s party with an 80’s theme (I was Madonna, lest you were wondering), and I used a party supplies website to buy a series of random, 80’s themed decorations. Last week, I received a survey from that company asking for feedback about each of the items I bought. In most cases my feedback (provided as a score out of 10) was good. However, one thing I’d bought, some party poppers, hadn’t been very good. I gave them a low score and thought little else of it.

Now I’ve had an email from the company, asking me to elaborate on the problem and offering a full refund if I return it. I can’t return used party poppers, but I certainly applaud the company for making the effort. Clearly I wasn’t terribly upset about the situation because I’d never bothered to complain, but in seeking out my feedback, they’ve learned about a problem and are attempting to resolve it.

Moreover, they’ve stated that as well as trying to make amends with me, they’d like to understand the problem so they can take it up with their supplier. This is, I think, where many companies fail to see the value of feedback. In a retail environment, the idea of responding to every dissatisfied customer may seem too vast to contemplate (though that’s not to say companies shouldn’t try), but using feedback to identify wider problems is hugely valuable. In the long run, companies can streamline processes that are inconveniencing customers, identify training requirements for staff, or, as in this case, root out problem products that may reflect badly on the company.

The only problem is that after 2 months, all I can remember is that I didn’t much like those party poppers….I just can’t quite remember why. Still, that’s a lesson for another day.

Carolyn Hall
Carolyn Hall is a Product Marketing Manager with Confirmit. Primary focus on creating marketing and PR materials that focus on the business value of technology. Articles published in a number of marketing and customer-focused publications, and experience of hosting round table session with senior marketing executives.


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