Your Feedback Matters to Us

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Along with auto-rickshaws, the customer feedback form has become another ubiquitous feature of Hyderabad. This weekend alone, I was asked to complete three customer feedback forms. You know the type: on a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied are you with the service, decor, range of products, etc.

While I appreciate the strategic customer focus that these forms imply, I can’t help but wonder: (1) are they actually collecting any meaningful insights from this data? and (2) can these forms do more harm than good for customer satisfaction? We all know that these forms are usually no fun to fill out and often come at the most inopportune times.

And here’s the “so what?” to all of this:

A huge part of my project is helping LifeSpring better understand their customers — the low-income women who give birth in their hospitals. What do they see as quality? How do they view the hospital?

LifeSpring already has quite a few initiatives in place: a feedback form for customers, a customer comment and complaint log at the hospital…For women who do not complete feedback forms, someone from LifeSpring calls to follow-up. LifeSpring takes its commitment to customer satisfaction seriously; last week, I sat in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) meeting, while each customer complaint or comment was read, analyzed to find its root cause, and discussed to find a resolution.

Yet we are looking for ways to do this better. Feedback forms are intrinsically limited — not only for the reasons cited above, but also because many of LifeSpring’s customers are illiterate. Focus groups provide another option — but these are timely and difficult to scale up as LifeSpring grows.

So I’m throwing the question out to you all, because “your feedback matters to us”. Seriously though. What ideas do you have for us to collect meaningful and action-oriented feedback from our customers?

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2 Responses to “Your Feedback Matters to Us”

  1. Simon McIntyre Says:

    The challenge when collecting useful feedback information is to ask the right questions. Watch malcolm Gladwell’s talk at poptech: http://www.poptech.com/popcasts/popcasts.aspx?lang=&viewcastid=49

    One of the key lessons from this talk is that if you ask someone what they think of something that is totally new and that they have no real set of words to describe they will say the don’t like it, or would prefer something else. There are also similar inherent issues with focus groups that if you ask the wrong questions you’ll get totally the wrong answers! For a service which presumably is seen as new for your customers the problems described by Gladwell could definitely kick in.

  2. John Tucker Says:

    Also read Bain & Company’s “One Number to Grow” about the customer satisfaction feedback research at Enterprise rent-a-car.

    http://www.bain.com/bainweb/publications/publications_detail.asp?id=15302&menu_url=publications_results.asp

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