Tuesday, 16 March 2010

You Talk, We Listen, We Respond. Or Do We?

I got an e-survey from Caribbean Airlines this morning, basically asking me to let them know how they were doing. I happen to think they are doing pretty okay. What do you think?

In any event, I appreciated that they wanted to find out from their customers why they do or don't choose them as their preferred airline. I hope the feedback is actually taken into account and used to improve/enhance the service which they offer.

Which I guess leads me to a question, or a few questions - do you ever use suggestion boxes to offer a company useful feedback, and more importantly, do you ever wonder what happens to it?? Is it used? Is the box with the slips of paper and the 10 multiple choice questions, merely window dressing or a showpiece that says "We want you to think we care about what you have to say, but quite frankly, we don't". Do you only use it for negative feedback or do you praise the customer service representative who delivered superior service?

I often wonder about those little boxes, and whether there is actually someone who actions my thoughts and applies it to make something better or to reward someone. Does the manager at that KFC outlet care about my customer experience at his/her branch? Do they compile the info on these slips of paper, and discuss them at team meetings - in an effort to continuously improve?

I am one who rarely use the box for venting. Oh no. For that I find a supervisor or manager, and then usually to rant about something totally hideous. I am a huge believer in positive feedback when it comes to customer service in Trinidad. We need to give them feedback about the bad service, yes, but when I get good...no...GREAT service, I want the person's boss to know that this person was a customer service superstar! Especially because we complain so much about how poor the customer service is here.

I also don't appreciate when you actively solicit my feedback and then I don't feel like anything has come from it, because there is no feedback on my feedback. One example is a recent social media competition which was put on by a locally based international organisation. They wanted fans to suggest new names for parts of the business, and a few of my friends and I came up with some suggestions and submitted. Months have gone by and there has been no result. Now, I am not dying to win the thing but I entered because I had an interest and would have liked to know the result. I even enquired directly, both on the social media channel and with a few persons I know working at the organisation. A simple update explaining that maybe none of the suggestions met their vision, or something would have satisfied me. But nothing, months later. It was a bit disappointing to say the least.

I would hope that my feedback - good or bad (albeit, CONSTRUCTIVE) - would be positive for the person requesting it, because ultimately constructive feedback is essential for continous improvment, can lend to creativity and innovation as to how stuff can be done better and can add value to the community. And the community, through one way or another, would appreciate some feedback back about changes, upcoming initiatives or events. Reciprocity is key! More times than not, people want to feel like their feedback is valued, and that inevitably that they are valued.


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Thanks for your comments and questions!

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