While this interaction was disappointing, it wasn't surprising.
Four years ago I founded VBP Orange to help brands elevate their
customer experience. In that time we have recognized time and again
the perceptual gaps that exist between marketers and their
customers. For example,
81% of marketers expect to put more focus on customer insights
and analytics. At the same time, 80% of
customers say that they have abandoned a survey halfway
through, and 52% of customers said that they would not spend more
than 3 minutes filling out a feedback form.
How to solve this disconnect? Let's start by recognizing that
collecting customer feedback is a brand interaction. As with any
designed interaction, there are ways to create value and ways to
detract from it. It's time for smart brands to reevaluate their
approach to feedback. Asking a customer for feedback is another
opportunity to create a meaningful brand touchpoint. Here are three
things to remember when you create your brand's feedback
1. "How did you feel?"
trumps "How are we doing?" Customers don't want to be
responsible for creating a report card for your employees or your
stores. That's your job. When they're asked for this type of
feedback, they see it as self-serving.
When you frame things from the customer's point of view, a shift
happens. Customers feel that you're listening, so providing
feedback doesn't feel like a burden. They want to relate their
experience. They want to make the experience better. They just
don't want to do your job for you.
2. It's all about
expectations. When you are collecting customer feedback
there is one question that matters more than any other: "Were your
expectations met?" This is the starting point. When I went on
vacation with my wife, I had an expectation of what it would be
like. My expectations were high, and they were largely met. I'd be
happy to give the hotel more details about a couple of areas where
they weren't, and I'd much rather do that than fill in a 10-point
scale on every relevant metric they can think of. Dissatisfaction
is the gap between reality and expectation. Is your customer survey
3. Make it a
dialogue. Ask yourself: How many times have you filled out
an email survey for an airline, hotel or service visit, expressed
some dissatisfaction, no matter how small or large, only to never
hear back from the company or brand, or to get the automatically
generated "Thank You!"? Too often customers provide their thoughts,
good or bad, and they simply go unacknowledged. Want your brand to
stand out? Respond to feedback. Brands that respond to feedback in
a meaningful way not only impress customers with their
responsiveness, but they make them more likely to give more
feedback because they feel like they can truly impact their
experience. That's when customers become fans.
None of what I've outlined here seems that difficult, does it?
Why aren't more brands doing feedback in a more customer-centric
way? That's simple: We all kneel at the altar of Big Data, or
pretend to, and a customer-centric front-end feedback mechanism is
at cross-purposes with the needs of back-end data analytics. Don't
hold it against them, but the people who are tasked with collecting
data from customers are simply not incentivized to create a
feedback loop that builds brand affinity.
There are no easy answers here, but the wind is blowing in one
direction. In a world where the importance of marketing and
advertising is waning while the customer experience is becoming the
crucial differentiator, brands that figure out their own rewarding
way of getting feedback from customers will be the brands that