Be Careful How You Ask for Customer Feedback

In its recent report, How to Build the Right CX Strategy, Forrester declares, “Customers are your best source for identifying unmet expectations and needs.”

It’s clear that measuring customer experience (CX) through customer feedback has become a key focus as organisations aim to gain a competitive advantage. However, as more organisations request feedback from consumers one of the growing challenges I hear is that businesses are worried about “survey fatigue” and saturation. In our experience, programmes that evolve in line with business requirements are able to grow both responses and actionable insights.

Customers give feedback for four principal reasons:

  • They have something positive to share and want to feel connected to your brand.
  • They have something negative to share and want you to act on it!
  • You incentivise them.
  • They are asked.

If they are connected to your brand, you provide memorable experiences, and you ask for it, there is no reason why “survey fatigue” should set in, as long as you use the right technology to connect with customers and ask the right questions in a timely and engaging way.

The bigger threat to CX programmes is how you ask for feedback, and the impact this has on the customer experience and customers’ perception of your brand. How you ask for feedback has a big impact on the quality and amount of feedback gained.

I was recently asked for feedback following a call I had with my TV and broadband provider. The call lasted around three minutes, during which I successfully negotiated a price reduction. I was happy. However, the agent then insisted I wait in silence for another minute whilst he typed up the notes before he finally asked me if I would stay on the line to complete a survey. His pitch for getting some feedback went something like this: “Would you mind completing a survey on how I helped today? I’m pretty sure we only do this so my boss can check up on me.” Whilst this comment might have been made in jest there was probably some level of truth in it. It did nothing but annoy me and ruined what had been a good call.

I have also had a number of experiences in retail shops and restaurants where I’ve been asked to give feedback with the comment, “Please tick ‘Very Satisfied’ or it doesn’t count and I don’t get a bonus.”

What do these messages say about your brand?

In the drive to collect feedback, it appears many organisations are forgetting one important factor: The way you ask for feedback has an impact on the customer experience. When done poorly, this can be one of the biggest dangers to CX programmes.

At InMoment, we have successfully enabled many brands to shift their collection methods from traditional paper and agent interactions into digital invites. Using eReceipts, emails, or automated telephone solutions can be very useful in not only achieving healthy response rates but also protecting the customer experience through a more focused effort.

Whatever your situation, it’s worth asking how much feedback you actually need. Are we putting too much pressure on our teams to collect lots of feedback for the sake of having more data?

Whilst more feedback can give you richer customer stories and comments, and thus insights, be aware of the number of responses you need to be statistically confident in the scores your programme is generating, and resist the urge to keep asking.

There is a cost to your brand if the wrong behaviors are adopted in the push for feedback.

A bonus culture around CX programmes is often what drives these bad behaviors. In my next article, I will focus on how to get the culture of transparency right to ensure your CX programme avoids some of these issues. This will focus on moving away from pushing feedback to pulling it in, and how some organisations have created a culture of welcoming “bad” feedback so they can correct their mistakes and improve.

About Author

Chris Sparling Senior Director, Customer Success

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