Customer Feedback: When Enough Is Enough


Customer feedback is vital to learning more about our customers – if they’re satisfied, if there were any problems with the service they received, or if there are any ways we can do better for our customers.


It’s one thing to ask for feedback, but it’s another to do it the wrong way. What would be considered the wrong way? There are a couple of ways a company can go wrong when collecting customer feedback:


1. Telling a customer how to respond


2. Asking too often or at the wrong time


Here are a couple of examples:

Telling Customers How They Feel

  • I shop at a particular large retailer often, and am aware that they have a customer feedback survey at the bottom of the receipt. Often times an employee will point it out, along with the fact that I would be entered into a drawing. On more recent visits, however, I noticed that the tone changed. It may be specific to the particular location I visit, and maybe not. At the end of the transaction, the employee invited me to take the survey and “if I gave them all 10’s for exceptional service, I would be entered into a monetary drawing.” Well, what if I gave them lower ratings based on my experience? Would my entry (along with my feedback) be dumped into some unknown viral wastebasket?


  • In reading a story about a consumer who had work done at a car dealership, the author tells his tale of the dealership asking for feedback, with a reminder that the manufacturer may be contacting him as well to get feedback: “They also gently reminded me the manufacturer might be contacting me and they would appreciate my giving them the highest rating.”


Telling consumers, or even “gently suggesting” how to provide feedback to a consumer, can be off-putting. It creates a sense that they really only want to hear the good stuff, and could even be a signal that the employee is worried about less than excellent feedbaack. It could be their job is on the line, they are in a competition to get the most positive feedback, or something else all together. At any rate, this is one way to decrease the feedback, or even true feedback. A customer may be inclined to give positive feedback, even if it wasn’t the case, because they liked the employee and wanted to give him/her credit at work, they wanted to be included in the prize drawing, etc. At any rate, this can be a no-win situation.


Asking too often/at the wrong time


  • Back to the dealership article….this author shared his experience post appointment. Specifically, the number of requests for feedback was simply too much. ┬áThe first request came shortly after returning home, and then there seemed to be a flurry of email and phone requests, along with a note that the manufacturer may be following up too. Consumers will give their feedback if they want to – asking multiple times will not get them to provide feedback, or it will – and that won’t be the kind you want at that point. One reminder if your automated system tracks responses, as we could all use a reminder from time to time. But, after that, just realize that you’re not likely to get feedback from that customer.


  • A colleague shared a story of purchasing an item online. When receiving the item, they were very pleased with most of it, except one part that arrived broken. An email sent to the company garnered a quick response – an apology and a promise to ship a new item right away. A couple of days later, this colleague got an email asking for feedback, and the next day, and the next day. Meanwhile, the item was not resent and follow up emails to the company were not returned. Yet the feedback requests kept coming. It was finally resolved, but by that time, the colleague was not interested in leaving great feedback. Had the issue been resolved first, or more quickly, or without repeated requests for an update, some really great feedback could have been left!


  • The last example leads again to multiple feedback requests. A story shared with me involves someone who had a great customer experience and, on her own, left a glowing review for the company on their website. Three days post-transaction, an email was received requesting feedback. And then, like the other examples, a flood of subsequent requests came, even though this customer already left feedback. While they were just ignored, it was an annoyance, and one that could have been resolved by dispatching the request more quickly after the transaction, and again limiting the number of requests sent.


Automation is great, but abusing it and/or not having great control over it can be a turnoff to customers, and defeat the objective of collecting customer feedback.


Do you have a story to share on customer feedback gone wrong? If so, please feel free to share in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!





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