A GOLD STAR Approach to Consumer Feedback
Unsolicited feedback is prompted by a poor experience or a great one. It is what I call ‘raw feedback’ that is because it is written from the mindset of the author. In my view this makes it the most valuable as it provides a true measure of company’s performance through the eyes of their customer. Plus, for the one person who takes the time and trouble to write, it is fair to assume they are others who do not.
Many companies state publicly – ‘We value your feedback greatly’. But if the feedback is negative, they treat it like unwelcome criticism. Some even admonish the author.
I try to acknowledge the great experiences as well as the bad. It is the response to the ‘bad’ that is the real test of a company's true character. How they respond provides the opportunity to win a customer back with even greater loyalty or lose them forever.
I recently wrote to a national manufacturer of breakfast cereals and snack bars. They had changed the packaging of my favourite cereal; one I eat almost every day. While the new packaging offered greater value the move from a box to a bag meant the contents failed to live up to the ‘clusters’ as promised.
I received a response within days. It expressed gratitude and an apology for my disappointment. It went on to explain their objective and the challenges – one being to reduce the sugar content (the binding agent). They acknowledged my disappointment, explained what they were trying to do, and it all made prefect and logical sense.
The email went on to thank me again and to say a package of their products was being sent as a gesture of appreciation for caring enough to write. Something I did not expect or felt warranted. A real surprise factor!
Low and behold a few days later, a range of their products was hand delivered to me with a person note.
Now, that is a GOLD STAR Approach to Consumer Feedback