One of the most frustrating things you can experience as a consumer of a product or service is when the provider you are paying doesn't really care to take your feedback. These situations have been pet peeves of mine for a very long time, and we're going to do everything in our power never to do this at SoCreate.
Today's businesses are so much better than they used to be. It feels like the age of treating your customers right is finally breaking through, and companies are beginning to understand just how important this is to their survival. There also has never been an easier time to collect and process this feedback with tools like UserVoice, HubSpot, and ZenDesk. So, it may be surprising that even when companies leverage these new tools, they still have a tendency to fall on their faces. They just don't seem to get it.
It's critical to put a powerful feedback collection tool in place, but that's only an essential first step. The part of the equation that I feel many companies are failing to consider is the cultural change they must spread through their organization to truly be a "Customers Come First" kind of a company.
Personally, it seems I have been on the frustrating end of this equation regularly. I often see it play out like this:
I walk up to a product booth at a tradeshow and ask the resident expert about an issue I have been experiencing. I usually start by asking a lot of questions to make sure that I truly understand the problem. I am fully aware that I may be missing something, so I make sure that's not the case. After diving in, I start to explain in great detail the issue I am experiencing, or my ideas to improve the product in some way. This exploration often leads to an engaging conversation, a.k.a. a geek-out on the topic. Then, once I know the company representative and I are totally in agreement on how the feedback I am providing could improve the product experience, I kindly say, "Thank you, I really appreciate you taking my feedback." Next up, the disappointment.
Generally, it goes like this. "Oh, oh, wait a second. If you want us to do anything with your feedback, you are going to need to go to our UserVoice page and submit it." Then I reply, "Really? That's weird. I thought I just gave you my feedback." It volleys back, "Oh yeah, I am sorry this is how they require us to get customer feedback. It's our company policy." At this point, I usually kindly respond, "Oh, okay," and I walk away, frustrated and thinking, "Yeah … I get it. I just think your company is missing the point."
This example may seem petty. However, to me, it's infuriating, especially when it's coming from one of those companies that's continuously promoting how much they care about their customers. Sure, they say they care and run ads with love emojis expressing that nothing means more to them, but they don't really care, and there are so many ways they show it. This example illustrates a cultural misunderstanding of what caring about your customers really means. I don't fault the company representative in any way. What played out was simply a result of their company's culture and training. They are just doing exactly what their employer asked them to do.
In my opinion, this could have gone much, much better. It easily could have resulted in me having a deeper connection to the company and brand. Here's how it could have gone down:
… "Thank you. I really appreciate you taking my feedback." Resident expert replies, "Oh, that's not how this works. I need to be the one to thank you. We truly appreciate it when customers like you take the time to consider how we can improve the product. It's so helpful to get your feedback, and I want to make sure you stay up to date on its progress. Would you be okay providing me with your name and email address? Don't worry! We won't spam you. This will just make sure you get updates on your feedback as it moves through our pipeline. We have this great tool I can submit your feedback to that will send you email updates on it. It will even allow other customers to up-vote your feedback which could help push it to the top of our priority list. If you ever have any other great ideas, you can also go to this tool directly and submit the feedback yourself if you are interested. Of course, I will also always be happy to submit your feedback for you as well. Here's my card. It has my email address on it. Feel free to reach out at any time."
In this example, the resident expert clearly shows love for the customer and will undoubtedly leave the customer feeling great about their frontline experience with this company.
Company culture needs to change. Organizations need to stop saying they love their customers and instead start showing that they love their customers. If they take a step back and listen to the golden rule to treat people the way they would like to be treated, the changes they need to make wouldn't be that hard. It's really that simple. Now, let's hope they read this post and "TAKE MY FEEDBACK, PLEASE!"
Have a good one!