The Truth About Feedback

Marcus Andrews had another excellent blog yesterday in which he reported that more and more companies say, “We put the customer first,” but 42% of companies don’t listen to their customers. Andrews is a “should follow” for all product and service marketers (and a good source of ideas for staffing and HR professionals) but what should customers, and candidates and employees, know about feedback?

 

First, as we noted last week, there’s more to feedback than just our opinions. Feedback is performance information associated with products, services, programs and processes which is used as a basis for provider, employer and individual improvement. Categories include notifications, information associated with specific items or activity, and suggestions.

 

Looking for Feedback to Help Make a Decision

The most reliable feedback is that which is given confidentially and can be validated. Unfortunately, very little feedback meets those criteria.

You can’t help but see it, but be wary of Yelp, Facebook and the soon to be shuttered Google+. They dominate the small and medium business feedback market but the validity of and regard for their reviews, which can be and are easily gamed, are deteriorating. Conflating feedback and social media just does not work. They - we all are struggling with the purported idealism of social-media and human nature as it is. But most pertinently, they’re all driven by advertising dollars and traffic as are the leads-matching platforms such as IAC’s Angie’s List. Valid feedback requires more.

Almost 85% of attributed testimonials are written by the organization. Unattributed testimonials are meaningless unless they are from a system that allows any consumers to give feedback. And organizations that operate their own system, from Amazon to sole proprietors, are notorious for manipulating feedback. Ultimately, like reference checks, most feedback should not be the primary basis for making a decision but rather used to confirm or challenge conclusions based on other information.

There are no requirements that organizations collect feedback from their consumers or workforce. However, Federal guidelines require that every entity have a feedback notification system to prevent and detect illegal acts including those which could threaten your safety and wellbeing and that of people important to you. But less than 5% of small and medium businesses and nonprofits have such a system. Our clients display a shield that indicates they are more than compliant and is a portal to access and submit feedback. But if there is no shield or other indication at least for these be sure to ask:

  • After School Programs
  • Apartment & Home Rentals
  • Automobile Sales and Services
  • Camps
  • Certification & Training Programs
  • Child Care
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Cruises, Resorts & Theme Parks
  • Employers of Minors
  • Home Health Aides
  • Home Projects & Services
  • Pre-Kindergarten - 12
  • Senior Care
  • Sports Programs
  • Tutors
  • Youth Programs

 

Giving Feedback

Providers and employers have a legitimate right to ask their customers, candidates and employees, “How’d we do?” And it benefits us all if we respond and if the organization takes the information seriously. But if you have reason to believe an organization isn’t taking feedback seriously, why take the time unless there’s something in it for you such as a coupon or reward.

 

Verizon Wireless wants feedback when they want it, how they want it and what they want. And they don’t respond to issues or questions – or pleas included with the feedback. The U.S. Postal Service has a relatively sophisticated feedback system for all post office transactions, but at least at the post offices I use, the staff never hears of good feedback.

 

Although we offer organizations many features and benefits, since we first started collecting feedback, our applications and processes were designed to process all categories of feedback when you want, how you want and what you want. And that’s why 1st Notice optimizes the timeliness, quantity and quality of feedback from consumers, candidates and employees.

 

If you agree with our approach recommend organizations that you think should have 1st Notice. We’ll contact them and send you a $40 gift certificate when they sign up.

 

And we’ll always take your feedback seriously.