How Consumers Give Feedback


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How Consumers Give Feedback

I’ve just seen some really interesting results in an article in the March Edition of The Customer Experience Journal from Bruce Temkin across at the Temkin Group, a US a customer experience research and consulting firm.

The article is a digest of stuff that is going on with the Temkin Group, notable stuff in the world of customer experience and previews new research that they are producing.

Their most recent piece of research is called: How Consumers Give Feedback (the full report will cost you $195). Through their research they were able to survey 6,000 US consumers about how they most frequently gave feedback about Very Good and Very Bad experiences. Analysing their response, they found that when customers have a Very Good or a Very Bad experience with a business they found that they most frequently tell their friends about that experience via email, phone or in-person.

I’m not sure that is a real surprise.

There is a caveat here that this data is for US consumers but I do believe that there are some broad parallels that can be drawn for many ‘western’ businesses. Check out the summary results in the graphic below:

How Consumers Give Feedback - Reflection on Bruce Temkin's recent results

However, what I do think is interesting is some of the other results where they show

  1. Only small percentages of people placed reviews or comments on social media sites, whether the experience was good or bad;
  2. People are more likely to talk if it is a Very Bad experience than if it is a Very Good experience;
  3. 37% of all respondents said that even after a Very Good experience they did not tell anyone about it; and
  4. 25% of respondents didn’t tell anyone about a Very Bad experience.

The last two are the ones that trouble me.

  • Why do 37% of all respondents that have had a Very Good experience not talk about it?
    • Is it because that’s just the way they are ‘built’ and it’s not in their nature to share or is it that we as business have not given the right tools to share their experiences? and
  • How many of the 25% of respondents that have had a Very Bad experience and do not tell anyone never go back or do business with that company again?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to Katie Tegtmeyer for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


  1. Good insights Adrian. These findings back up our experience at Feedbackify, showing that customers much prefer to tell you directly about their experience rather than posting their views on social media or third party sites. However, it highlights the importance of making it as easy as possible for your customers to tell you directly what’s on their mind, as if the barrier is too high (eg too many clicks required, asking them to log in first, etc) they’ll either not bother or use more public forums to let you know (which may damage your brand).

    Adrian Halley,
    CEO, Feedbackify

  2. Every Customer do voice their appreciation of their experience whether it is Very Good or Very Bad Experience. When it is Very Good, they enhance it further by sharing their experience whenever experience with a particular brand is discussed. I still recollect my Very Good experience with Malaysian Airlines Staff and share it with everyone when any flight experience is discussed.Experience is that Off-duty vacation staff on the flight assisted me when On-duty staff failed to notice my request…it was impressive and spontaneously reaction from Off-duty vacation staff. Similiarly, credit card experience with StanChart India still relish when they assisted me in a very critical emergency.
    However, generically, this Very Good Experience is not shared across since satisfaction level is very high and reasoning is that the organization is a World Class one and they are Perfectionists.

    On the contrary, Very Bad Experience is also highlighted yet no-one is concerned about this and discarded as a single-man experience and none of organization is concerned. In fact, all of organization state that this is “their Process and Procedures” and it cannot be changed for a Single Customer when all the concerned are convinced this is not right Process or Procedures – essentially Stubbornly firm to an extent of pigheadness. Those organization is difficult to deal and all customers including myself cannot afford to spend their precious time. Only recourse is to avoid business with them – Risk Aversion/Risk Avoidance and go by the paradigm TINA factor – There is another Alternative. However, when a chance is presented squarely, those customer voice out their concern.

    Hence, it is fuzzy logic to find out real reasons for 37% and 25% and by chance only organization uncover it . A-Varman

  3. To answer: Why 25% of respondents that have had a Very Bad experience and do not tell anyone never go back or do business with that company again?

    Those people see that bad experience as a failure , they think they have chosen the wrong company and so they do not want to share what they consider their mistakes with others.

  4. Hi Adrian,
    Thanks for your comment. I agree that keeping the barriers low or the channels open will increase the likelihood of facilitating that conversation. Guess there might be a direct link between the culture and outlook of the business and the barriers that they erect. What do you think?


  5. Hi A-Varman,
    Thanks for sharing your experience and I agree that the real reasons that people behave the way that they do may be hard, if not impossible, to uncover. However, perhaps the real insight is to acknowledge that this type of behaviour exists and to start talking to customers with a view to establishing a dialogue or set of channels which may help them feel more comfortable with talking about what is good or bad.


  6. Hi,
    That’s a really interesting perspective and one that I hadn’t thought of and haven’t experienced but I do not doubt that it exists. Knowing this and that their customers may feel this way I would suggest that business looks at its sales function to make sure that its customers are really getting what they need and not what the business is selling them.


  7. This data is great to see, but it doesn’t capture influence, which is what we all REALLY want to know. I want to know how many people are told about a negative or positive experience. Additionally, although the percentage using social media to communicate good/bad experiences is low, those raves/complaints could be more powerful and influential because of the reach that social media has and because the source of the information may be more influential.


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