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.