Talking to feedback robots on a Sunday?

By Ole Wulff, CCO & Co-Founder of BuyingTeams

Reflections on being swamped in digital surveys and concerned about Customer Silence.

As a feedback pioneer I often talk to people about answering surveys. Most tell me that they never answer because it brings no value to them, and many that they only answer when they experience bad service.

Feedback is so valuable

So, I seem to belong to a minority. I like to answer often, and both when service exceeds my expectations, and when not. I answer because I know that customer feedback is super important for Businesses to stay in close sync with customers. I also answer because I have seen many times how employees and businesses are positively motivated and grow when customers take the time to send them some love.

Hungry for Feedback

Business Leaders are hungrier than ever for customer feedback. But still the vast majority of customers stay silent. This remains a big challenge for the Customer Experience Industry and Businesses at large.

Technology helps

OK – new technology has a positive impact because it has become easy to reach large numbers of respondents on their phones with short digital surveys. So, although no value is created, more respondents answer because it takes less effort. And a small amount of data from a larger group of respondents is much better than no data.  Also, digital surveys are cheap compared to traditional surveys because they are automated. So, Businesses are receiving more feedback at less cost compared to just a few years ago. That is good.

But don’t overdo it

However, short digital surveys are spreading exponentially on a global level, and consumers are often met by digital requests for feedback many times every day. It is good that Businesses ask for feedback, but when all businesses ask for feedback all the time, I am concerned that Customer Silence may grow even more.

Time is money – Will Businesses pay?

The obvious question is how Businesses can create real value for respondents to get the feedback they desire. The short answer is that time is money. People want something in return for using their time and effort. Will Businesses pay?

Some Businesses run lotteries where respondents can win something, receive gift vouchers etc. I have tried responding a few times, but have never won anything. I have never met anybody who has won anything of real value. Perhaps this works and pays off for some respondents and Businesses – I would love to know?

Businesses do seem increasingly willing to pay respondents in cash, by giving discounts or real products to get feedback. I see many online Businesses offering respondents some kind of payment to answer surveys. And I see respondents in online user forums debating whether one can make a living from answering surveys full time. Will we see many people making a decent living by answering surveys full time or part time? Will respondents be real users? Will they be objective? To me, it would make most sense for Businesses to offer existing or new customers money or a discount for feedback, instead of paying for feedback from people that make a living from answering surveys. Perhaps there is room for all of this in a major global marketplace? But it does seem that Businesses are increasingly willing to pay for feedback.

No Robots on a Sunday

I must admit, even as a feedback enthusiast, that I am somewhat tired from clicking no to all the surveys. And it becomes one drop too many when I receive robot generated e-mail surveys from business partners on a Sunday.

I do not fancy communicating with a feedback robot on a Sunday.

Finding the balance

I do fancy well done surveys from Businesses I care about. So, in the end I will not join the army of Customer Silence. I hope the Customer Experience Industry will strike a good balance that reduces Customer Silence long term to the benefit of Businesses and their customers.

I also fancy finding ways to give respondents real value for feedback. This is what we do at BuyingTeams in the B2B segment for banks and their corporate customers. Have a look at if you like.