It’s Customer Feedback


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I’ve recently attended a pre-natal course to teach me about looking after babies. It seemed wise because I know nothing about children, babies in particular, and I’m having one soon. I thought I should at least understand which way up to hold a baby and what to do with it when it makes too much noise.

The course was spread out over about a month, and after the last session I received a survey to find out what I’d thought of the course, how it could be improved, if it met my expectations, etc. While many people who take the course are unlikely to take it again, word of mouth is probably the main way that this organization sells its courses, and subsequently tells them about its online store and other services.

Of course I completed the survey. I like surveys and the personal nature of the service I was being asked to review meant I was pretty invested.

The survey was split into 2 parts; the first focused on what I’d expected from the course, basically listing (rather a lot) of topics and asking how long I’d wanted to spend on them. The second half of the survey listed all the same topics (of which there were still rather too many) and asked if I felt we covered each of them to the right degree. All told, it took about 10 minutes—not terribly long, but longer than was able to retain my complete interest.

The problem was this; I don’t really remember what I’d wanted and expected from the course. At least not in the detail that they were asking for. And anything I did remember was probably rather distorted by reality. I could easily tell them if I thought we’d spent too much time or not enough time of various things, but comparing that to my thoughts a couple of months ago was actually pretty difficult.

I applaud the idea of understanding people’s expectations and then comparing it to how they found the reality, but I wonder if the company wouldn’t be better served by splitting the survey in two, asking about expectations in advance, and then the reality after the course was finished. I’m pretty sure that I’d have found it easier to complete the surveys and given the clearer focus of having two versions, I think my answers would have been more accurate too. In addition, the first set of responses might have been used to shape the course itself.

It’s not a bad survey as such, and I’d rather have had this than nothing. But it’s another example of how businesses don’t necessarily think of the feedback process from the customer’s point of view.

Which is a shame, because it is customer feedback.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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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