This is why your feedbacks are not effective

wrong-feedback1Stressing the point that feedback is the most important part of any communication sounds a cliché. We all know that Businesses can make or break themselves just by accepting or rejecting the right feedback that is provided by the customer. So if we are really that attentive to the feedback provided ; why are we not improving in every possible sense?

If you too feel the pinch of not able to get the right feedback to improve your product or service, I believe there are certain immediate issues that you would have to address. Following are some of these that I have occasionally noticed in my professional life and even via mere observation.

1. Feedback provider and the product user are different.

Get the basics right before taking the feedback. The person providing you the feedback might be an honorable manager, an MBA, your own Boss or the Sponsor of your project. But how does all that matter? What will matter most is the feedback of the customer who used it. At times we need to understand the difference between the person who pays for the service vs. the person who enjoys it. The one enjoying your service is finally the one who is paying for it.

2. Feedback is asked at the wrong time

wrong-time1This is the most common problem among all Feedback processes. What is the right time to take feedback? We have been taught right from our kindergarten days that at the end of every communication a feedback is required. But there is a great amount of difference between a single message and a mammoth project being executed. Feedback has to be part of every process the customer goes through while experiencing your service or using your product. Asking for feedback when the show is over might not give you the same understanding  that the customer had while experiencing the service.

3. Feedback gets manipulated as it passes multiple levels

It is always good to have feedback from the horse’s mouth. Feedback that goes through multiple levels of communication or the one that passes through various medium of communication risks losing its essence.  Try to check how many people are involved in the thought process of providing you feedback. If possible try to communicate with them individually rather than taking a group feedback as that can be deceiving.

4. Feedback gets biased.

Feedback is a form of communication. It will be very much biased by the very nature of the provider as well as receiver. If your supervisor gives you a stern feedback try to analyze whether its really your performance as a whole or a recent goof up that you did. Some people have a habit of exaggeration while criticizing. Try to find the root cause of criticism provided by your customer. If you can crack that, you are on your way of improving the product.

5. Feedback gets constrained with the medium.

450115_laptop_user_2For most Businesses, taking feedback is passing on a Paper filled with 10 questions or forwarding an email. This is the most passive form of taking feedback. It simply constraints the feedback provider to answer those 10 or 20 odd questions that you have asked rather than providing a clear image of what he is feeling. A quick hack would be to provide a shout box to your customer at the end, so that he can write anything more not covered in the feedback form. But it would also be a better idea to add some more life to your feedback process.

6. Feedback is to improve existing products.

It is very important to first articulate why the feedback is being taken. Feedback generally means you views about a particular thing or service. If a business is planning to launch a new brand for a particular niche, it is advisable to first let the survey responders understand that they have to imagine a new service being offered and what that would be. Feedback of past experiences can’t take you long on the road of new product launches.

7. Feedback becomes inhuman

Finally we can close with this one. Feedback can be in forms of surveys, emails, etc. Can be technology enabled, Niche targeted and all the marketing gimmicks applied well. But till the time there is no life in the feedback taking process it will never be helpful. Ask someone for a direct feedback, question him why he is reporting an answer the way he did in the survey. (This is of course not to ask him to change his answer but to understand his concern). Question to feel the pain of the user and not to invalidate the thought. If you can have a healthy discussion filled with life, there are chances that the next time you serve the customer; you will be way beyond his expectations.

Hope this post added much required value to your feedback taking process. Remember the more effective your feedback, better are your chances to get the right understanding of your target market. Probably next week we can have a post on how to take effective feedback.

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Anne Wayman April 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm

The one that drives me the most crazy is the feedback form that pops up about 2 seconds after my first visit to a website. How the heck do I know at that point.

Saw one that asked if I’d take a survey after I was finished with whatever – a more reasonable approach maybe, but I said no because I wanted to get to where I could solve my problem.

Chanda Himanshu April 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm

That’s really true Anne. Bugging the user with feedback just guarantees that he doesn’t return again. It just doesnt serve the purpose. Thanks for highlighting this.

The Simple Machine April 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Hey Himanshu stumbled upon your site through work awesome. Was just reading this post and thought I would drop you a message.

I agree with you when you say that feedback should be an ongoing process, rather than at the end of a project. I think feedback has more impact if it can be applied to problem at hand, then to try to figure it out at a later point.

Anyways, great post.

Chanda Himanshu April 11, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Thanks Simple Machine. At times the user just doesn’t have time to fill loooong forms for feedback. In that case asking the right question helps a lot. And yes as you highlighted, that feedback is more impactful…

Aniket April 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I agree to your point on feedback being a continuous part of the process. It many a ties can be of great heal and highlight information that is required.

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