How To Avoid Losing Customers Through Bad Feedback Systems

Organisations have generally noticed and started responding to the fact that customers are empowered, and don’t pay attention to their ‘official’ marketing. And one of the key things they are advised to do, in order to respond to this ‘brave new world’ is to put in ‘customer feedback systems’.

Unfortunately, however, they are usually failing to understand the true nature of the change and what customers REALLY want, and so are putting in substandard feedback processes.

In effect, they are using yesterday’s approach, with todays’ tools, to solve tomorrow’s problems.

The net result is massive levels of frustration, disengagement and disempowerment resulting in a huge level of wasted effort … in fact, they usually get worse outputs that if they didn’t employ feedback systems at all!

There are 3 key ways to mess up your feedback systems: here they are:

  1. Make it hard for customers to tell you what they really think: hide behind web systems and hard to find phone numbers. This will ensure that if the customer has any concerns (and a customer always will), they usually won’t bother to tell you (thus saving you pennies) and will instead just go to your competitor (thus losing you pounds). If asked, they’ll say that you were ‘too expensive’ or (a bit more honestly) that they ‘didn’t like what you do’.
  2. Have a web or email feedback process and leave it at that. Well this is a little better than the above, but: What about responding? What about the (90+% of) customers who didn’t have time to fill in the little form just now? What about the hidden issues that they really felt? What about the questions they wanted to answer that weren’t there? What about the missed opportunities to up-sell and cross sell? The real danger of these systems lies in the false confidence it gives the organisation when they are celebrating the butterflies they’ve caught while the elephants are escaping!
  3. Mix your feedback with marketing: this is when the real purpose of feedback is to get information … either sell to someone else, or to enable you to try and ‘sell’ something extra to the client. And if you can’t see what the problem with doing this sort of thing is, then you’re wasting your time reading this article at all!

When you combine the above common sense with key statistics from leading organisations, which suggest that:

  1. 97% of customers never bother to tell a supplier when they got it wrong (they just go somewhere else next time), and
  2. 80% of all customer interactions have at least one thing wrong with them that a customer notices.

You can see that there’s a MASSIVE hidden issue here!

So, it’s easy to poke fun at things that aren’t done well … but what’s the solution?

Of course, our glib answer is to slow down, and do your feedback properly or not at all.

And for help in doing that, please keep see our other material on feedback systems, join our mailing list or buy the book or contact us for bespoke advice.

Depends on how quick you need your results!

These are some of the principles and questions we address in Slow Selling: please click here to join our top tips and updates list or, if you have a question regarding your situation and would like a simple answer, drop us a line at

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