Customer feedback is a gift

04Feb08

A few weeks ago, I sent detailed feedback to several websites that I use. In each case, I gave them 5-10 suggestions and bug reports. One of the companies wrote back the very same day, with their customer support department thanking me for my comments. I even got a separate reply from my account manager, echoing the same thoughts. However, the other company never replied at all, not even with a computer-generated message. Clearly, these companies have very different approaches to handling customer feedback.

Before I continue, it’s worth noting that both websites make a point of asking for comments and suggestions. Ironically, the one that does this the most is the same one that never replied to me. There’s obviously a disconnect there between the people designing the front-end website, and the people who handle (or ignore) the feedback that comes in. Their process for handling and routing comments, as far as I can tell, is nonexistant.

As a rule, customer feedback should be treated like a gift. That customer has taken the time to tell you what they do and don’t like, and provided you with some ideas of how you can serve them better. Sure, you’re going to get a few off-the-wall requests and even some outright complaints. Much of what you receive won’t be actionable in any way. But no matter what you think of the comments that your customers provide, try to follow one practice: always send a reply and thank the person for their time and efforts. Otherwise, people will feel cheated, as they’ve seemingly wasted their time to write comments that nobody will ever read.



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