How to Make Getting Feedback From Customers Even Harder

by Jeannie Walters

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The following is a Best of 360Connext post.
 

Where will you be when the call comes in?

Let’s say it’s a Tuesday. You’re minding your own business. You might even be minding the affairs of your own business, as I was when I received the call from Dell.

360Connext relies a lot on technology. We are a virtual company in many ways, so having reliable machines is vital. Part of the offerings is reviewing online experiences, so I have to be sure to have not just own browser, but many. The inventory includes several Dell computers, with which I’m mostly satisfied.

poor survey question

The call came in, I answered, and I heard a ringing on the line. I’m sure my connection was then automagically transferred to an awaiting operator, who quickly glanced at her monitor and asked for Jenny. Now Jenny is a perfectly lovely name, but it’s not my name. My name is also not Janine, Gini (although I don’t mind being compared) or my personal favorite – Gee-Ann.

In any case, the kind woman who seemed to be calling from a different part of the world informed me this was a customer experience call from Dell. “OH! GOODY!” I thought, because if there are ever two words I get excited about, they are Customer + Experience. 

She then asked about my customer experience with the specific laptop I had recently purchased. I was ready to have a conversation, so I answered, “It’s been ok. Not great.”

In response, she told me the customer service number to call (what? I’m supposed to call someone? Aren’t you calling me?) and then thanked me for being a customer.

It was a strange few minutes.

In theory, Dell is doing the right thing here by seeking actual customer feedback. But in reality? What box did she check for me, you think? Satisfied? Happy?

I don’t know much more about the program than what I just shared, but here are a few observations with what could have been handled differently.

Break down the silos.

I was enrolled in the Dell Tech Concierge program, in which I was extremely happy. Dell was connected with my machines quite a bit through the backup and concierge connections. Why not ask me there about my experience?

Use customer-friendly language.

How is my customer experience? Hmm…I happen to live in this world and speak this language, but how many customers do? What are they looking for here?

Be prepared to respond outside of the script.

I used the words “Not great” to see what would happen. I was ready to tell my story and give them some valuable feedback, but there was not ONE follow-up question.

Avoid delegating tasks to customers.

Why was I asked to call someone when they had called me!? The operator was not empowered to take the call to the next step on her own.

What’s in it for the customer?

As I said, this is the right IDEA. I’m happy when a brand actually cares about me after making the initial sale. But this is just checking some box somewhere so they can say they’re getting feedback from customers. How does this benefit me as the customer?

My fear is that as brands become more anxious to check the box that says “get customer feedback” they’ll actually irritate and annoy customers more. It’s just like what’s happened to email marketing. We all thought email was a great idea at first. But the marketers became too aggressive and ignored the needs of the actual recipients, so now we hate it.

Customers SHOULD come first. So what is in it for the customer to provide feedback? It’s a slippery slope here, I think. Instead of checking the box that says “we got feedback,” how about actually seeking feedback that is important to customers, then DOING something with that?

Photo Credits: boltron-  and Sean MacEntee via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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