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In our hyper-connected, data indulgent times, customer satisfaction surveys, issued via email, text or notification seem to have become difficult to escape.

Visited one of our hotels?  Tell us about your stay’.  ‘Car insurance purchased; how did we do?’  ‘Met friends in our pub?  Please leave a review.’  All very well, but ‘Attended A&E, how likely are you to recommend it to friends and family?’  Really.

There’s little doubt that customer feedback gives a business vital information and – when used well – helps identify ways to improve services, but automated systems risk harming customer experience.  If I buy a new sofa, do I really need a text, email and follow-up phone calls to check if I’m enjoying my new purchase?  Must I fill in a form every time I jump in an Uber?

Perhaps it’s because it’s too easy for a company to fire out a short survey.  It’s low cost and takes up relatively little time.  However, as with many automated systems, it can look lazy and lacks not only the human touch but also potentially any nod to common sense.  Take the genuine example above, did anyone think about how someone might feel if they got a review request like this from an A&E department?

It can also be frustrating.  If I’ve ignored one request for feedback via a poorly formatted email, am I more likely to respond by text – particularly if you’ve got my name wrong, again?  And if I do respond, will it be the quality feedback you need?

More worrying for organisations is that a situation emerges where we are asked to give our thoughts on everything, with the result that we start to ignore the requests completely and provide feedback on nothing.

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t some companies doing it right.   As with any good piece of communication, the best surveys are part of the way you want to deal with customers.  Make a survey snappy, engaging, well-written – perhaps even offer an incentive or turn it into a quiz or a game – make it feel part of the customer experience, not an afterthought.  In these circumstances, I’d be prepared to give a review – whether it’s what the organisation wants to hear, well that’s another matter.

Luke Aldridge headshot

Luke Aldridge is a senior account executive at Camargue