The Doctor’s Surgery Tom Stuttaford
The value of feedback information has to be suspect, as the people most likely to respond are the seriously disgruntled or those with time on their hands, which does not deliver a balanced sample. And one customer’s ‘good’ rating will be another’s ‘poor’.
Does anyone at the other end read your answers anyway? I have wondered about that many times this summer.
Following a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada, I received a ‘guest satisfaction survey’, which ran to forty-six questions; some including up to ten sub-divisions. There were questions they already knew the answer to (‘Where did you get off the train?’) and others that were impertinent and irrelevant (‘How much do you usually spend on a holiday, and what is your annual household income?’). I refused to tell them.
British Airways said its feedback form would take only twelve minutes to complete, though I did not put this to the test. It must assume theirs was the only feedback request I received but every hotel also wanted me to tell them how much I had enjoyed my stay.
Organisations are being pressured into this feedback frenzy by a comparatively new ‘customer experience’ industry, which makes money from telling companies they must develop long-term relationships with customers. (This is at odds with the marketing strategy of financial institutions, which rewards new customers at the expense of loyal ones.)
According to customer service experts, the easiest and cheapest way to persuade people they are valued is to send out feedback forms, with the reassurance that there are good reasons for asking so many probing questions.
Cheapskate companies can download customer survey templates free – they do not even need to think up questions. No wonder we are fed up with feedback.
‘She’s not as active since her breast implants’