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The feedback your business never receives

Some really upset customers provide feedback.

Some really pleased customers provide feedback.

The most valuable feedback, however, may not be happening because it’s just not worth the effort. Your customer that’s given instructions that has a difficult time but eventually “figures it out” - the last thing they want to do is probably do more work and leave you feedback. Those difficult instructions are likely going to bother someone again. Who will speak up? What if each customer that’s mildly annoyed by it says nothing? It remains annoying forever.

How do you find and hear the feedback that others aren’t motivated to give you? You sample your product or service yourself. Just get in line, call the main number, buy the product or service. Try it out. You may be horrified by the results. 

  1. Secret shop your business. Call in, use the web site, do whatever a customer would do.

  2. Observe mildly annoying or clumsy processes. It might be as small as difficulty remembering your password to log into the site, or not knowing your customer number. Note everything that is even slightly frustrating. 

  3. Don’t explode on your team. You may have a very immediate and negative reaction that you want to share with the stakeholders. Hold your comments for 24-48 hours but write them down.

  4. Send a more thoughtful, tame, and considered summary of what happened and ask questions, don’t make statements. Ask “is this normal?” and “do all our customers have to go through this step”, or “is it typical that it would take that many tries to get it to work”

  5. Listen to your team. Learn the "why" behind each of the friction items, not to defend or justify them but to understand why they exist.

  6. Decide as a group if it’s acceptable that customers should have to experience the friction you experienced. If you agree they shouldn’t, make the changes.  The changes you make to feedback you’d never otherwise hear may be the secret to your long-term survival.


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