Why A Traditional Customer Feedback Management System Is Bound To FAIL


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This blog was originally published here.

In today’s times, it is imperative that organizations deliver great customer experience. To be able to provide a customer experience par excellence, brands must regularly collect customer feedback in order to learn what’s working and what’s not working for the customers. Subsequently, they should make effective use of the feedback and work on it to improve the overall experience.

In a world where almost everything is just a few clicks away, customers are becoming increasingly impatient when it comes to resolving their concerns. In such a scenario, using a manual feedback collection through paper forms would seem archaic. Customers would lose trust in the brand because of the delay in processing the feedback and closing the loop on it.

While almost every new age company is collecting customer feedback via email or other digital channels, organizations in healthcare, hospitality, food and beverage, education, and retail are still using paper-based feedback forms. The collation of this data is also done manually. This traditional methodology of collecting, collating, and analyzing feedback is bound to fail. Here are a few reasons for why the traditional feedback management systems would not work.

1. Consolidation of feedback is resource-consuming

The biggest challenge with collecting feedback on paper is that the consolidation of all this feedback consumes much effort, time, and resources. For instance, a typical diagnostic chain has multiple centers in a city and across cities within a country. Now, consolidating all the paper feedback forms across all these centers is a very time-consuming process. Moreover, transferring the feedback forms from one location to the other is also an unnecessary use of resources.

Any organization that is serious about improving customer experience relies heavily on customer feedback to understand and align with the customer’s expectation. Such organizations have at least one or, at best, a team of employees working full-time on collection and collation of paper-based feedback forms. It is really obvious that such a team could be put to better use.

2. Turnaround time is long

Because the consolidation of feedback collected manually is time-consuming, any corrective action that needs to be taken on the feedback also gets delayed. Most often someone would be required to sift through the paper forms – reading through each feedback to identify where an immediate action is required. By the time the feedback reaches the decision makers, crucial hours are lost, negatively impacting the customer experience.

3. Scope for errors is huge

When feedback is collected and collated on paper, there is a huge scope for errors. If a person is entering all this data in an Excel sheet or in any other format for further analysis, he might make errors in keying in the data. All of these can be minimized when feedback is collected digitally using a tab-based system.

4. Data analysis is cumbersome

Another massive challenge with using a manual feedback management system is that the analysis of feedback becomes an arduous task. Imagine a retail chain that has multiple stores across the country. Firstly, it would be painstaking to collect the feedback from all these stores. Furthermore, the slicing and dicing of the feedback data across parameters such as cities, stores, and demographics will be laborious. Also, the data might not be readily available from across all the stores. It would take days or weeks before any insights can be drawn from the feedback collected.

In stark contrast, an online system can help employees view the data in real-time as well as present insights in aesthetically pleasing and informative graphs and charts.

5. Historical records are difficult to retrieve

With paper feedback forms, it is close to impossible to store feedback forms for long. There is a cost associated with storage and inventory management of paper-based feedback forms. Moreover, going back to a particular feedback for review is prohibitive. Archival and retrieval of information when using paper-based feedback forms could be a nightmare. It is implausible to believe that one could safely keep track of all the paper trails. However, a digital cloud-based feedback system can store the valuable feedback data safely and make it available anytime and anywhere.

6. Manipulation of feedback is easy

This is a major factor to be considered when collecting feedback. In a paper-based feedback, there is a huge scope for anyone to manipulate or tamper with feedback. For instance, an employee can tear up and dispose of poor feedback that he/his center might have received, reporting only the positive feedback. This does not give an accurate picture of customers’ experience with a particular place. This kind of a skewed feedback, in the long run, can only worsen the growth of an organization.

7. Dependency on employees is worrisome

Imagine that you have one person dedicated to collecting and analyzing feedback. What happens when this person dissociates himself with the organization? It is possible that the entire system will come to a standstill. In the worst of circumstances, this entire process will stop. That is going to be detrimental to the growth of the organization.

8. Paper-based feedback forms are expensive and not flexible

With the rise in paper and printing costs, paper-based feedback forms are becoming expensive. If you consider their total cost of ownership over a longer period of time, the more feedback you collect, the costlier it would get. This is not a scalable system. However, a digital feedback form would require no such overhead costs.

Online forms provide much more flexibility for changing the design and questions based on the need. They can also be customized according to the customer base. However, a change in paper-based feedback forms will require a change in the basic questionnaire itself. This would result in reprinting the forms leading to a rise in costs for an organization. Also, there is wastage in terms of the existing old forms.

In sum, due to the many demerits of the traditional feedback management systems, businesses must look at automating the entire feedback collection and collation process. This would not only reduce costs but also ensure that the feedback is not tampered with. A solution like Omoto will help you in this journey of making your organization a more customer-centric one.

Sonal Jaiswal
I head the content creation team at Customer Guru, a boutique consulting firm that helps its clients become customer-centric. From implementing the best customer experience metric to supporting change management, Customer Guru also sets up the right team structure and processes. Along with consulting, it also specializes in implementing leading customer feedback management tools.


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