How we give feedback

Recently I was talking with a Product Manager at another company about how feedback manifests itself.

He mentioned a couple of situations where they had gotten bad PR because people had written negatively in blog posts about certain things in their product. His reaction was that if those people had just contacted them and asked, they could’ve gladly helped out instead, and there wouldn’t have been any need to be upset for anyone.

In essence, I absolutely agree with him. But the thing is, that’s just not how things work anymore. Blogs and Twitter have become the de facto way to express opinions nowadays, people use the same output channel no matter the topic. They know how it works, and how they get feedback.

But, the most important factor here is that the “little man” is in a situation where they can actually affect. They don’t need to learn how a certain company’s support system works, register, get a hold of the right person (we all know contacting support can be a lottery) – instead, they just express what’s on their minds to their world.

And the gist of it all is that it’s public. It’s not forgotten in some support queue, it’s out there for the world to see, find in searches, spread information. And if there’s anything that frightens companies, it is when less flattering information about them is public and they do everything in their power to quench it as soon as possible.

Contact support, via phone, e-mail or web site, and it takes forever; tweet about and the feedback/help is very often instant.

That, my friends, is how people express feedback today, and I don’t think it’s going away, so it’s better to just roll with it.

Posted in Press/Interviews,Technology |

5 Comments

  • James Lelyveld says:

    There is a positive side to this way of receiving feedback, if the company are on the ball address the gripe and respond on the blog / twitter the company get far better press than if they had just responded to the individual.

    Social media not just exposes the problem (with the product) it also exposes how you (as a company) manage that issue. If you manage it properly you’ll end up with good press not bad.

  • Steven Clark says:

    Yes businesses need to be aware of the customer in this medium… a support number isn’t enough. I’ve had several fast successes (and a few dismal failures) addressing issues through my blog.

    A good business is aware that its all about perception marketing and seeing diamonds in the river of complaint. If someone is complaining its an opportunity to identify flaws in the product, price, process or promotion, for example.

    The trouble is really when ego enters the ring – you say their service sucked because nothing arrived for 2 weeks… they hear “Your business is Shit.”

    Good business is leaving the ego at the door and getting better through the opportunity offered. Hell, its free user testing they’re talking about.

  • +1.

    Many service providers have understand this and have created accounts in the major social services and configured some search queries to keep track of complains or mentions.

    For example I use Disqus reply to me on twitter:

    From me (in swedish): http://twitter.com/madr/status/11298500557
    from them: http://twitter.com/disqushelp/status/11321540826

    This is damn good. It wasn't even a complain or feedback directly sent to them.

    The day the providers realize they don't control their own PR anymore, the better for them. We, the users, couldn't be in a worse situation.

  • Andreas says:

    This is why smart companies have support on twitter.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Anders,

    Absolutely, quite nice.

    James,

    Most definitely. WHen you see companies handling feedback well you definitely gain more trust for them.

    Steven,

    Absolutely, as soon as someone takes it personal, it’s all lost cause.

    Andreas,

    Yep, but they do need to complement it with other channels as well.

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