The best time to ask for Customer Feedback

Posted by Gary Schwartz

June 20, 2014


papa-johns-pizza-boxes-rant-and-raveThe last few weeks I’ve been waiting for my passport renewal to arrive. My excitement when I received a “delivery attempted” notice was palpable once I tracked the parcel and found its origin was the Passport Office

Seeking to contact the courier to divert the delivery to my office, rather than home, address turned out to be extremely difficult.

My first step was to phone the courier. Unfortunately I called when my local office was closed. The recorded message kindly asked me to phone back when the office was open. The message didn’t tell me when the office would be open. I then tried the company’s website. Not only could I not find the local office, since everything was controlled by the central contact centre, I also found no way to contact them to tell them how I felt.

I expect to receive a feedback survey sometime after I receive my passport. The feelings may linger, but the details of my engagement with them will become fuzzy.

When customers are asked to participate in a survey that takes place long after an interaction has taken place, their responses are more likely to be reflective of their feelings about the brand rather than about specific experiences. As such, their comments, while useful as a brand quality study, are less useful for the business to address specific issues of each customer’s experience, or to understand customer sentiment in aggregate in order to improve business processes.

The second problem lies in the accuracy of the information when feedback is collected long after the experience. The reason is that memories are fleeting. In fact, Gartner asserts that feedback collected immediately after an event is 40% more accurate than feedback collected 24 hours later.

Contrast this to the way a company like Papa John’s collects feedback. The first thing they do is to make every effort to tell you that they’re looking forward to receiving your feedback. It’s on flyers that go through the door. It’s on their website. It’s even on their pizza boxes so that when you receive your pizza, you know before you even open the box that they want to know how they met your expectations.

Papa John’s asks customers two questions: please rate your experience and tell us why you felt that way. The questionnaire is simple, easy to complete, and timely.

As a result, Papa John’s is solving real business problems. They’re making changes to their supply chain. They’re ensuring that local franchises add delivery staff during peak hours. And they show a relentless drive to engage with their customers, listen to them, and improve the quality of their product and their service.

If only they could deliver my passport….

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Topics: Customer Feedback Management

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