How to not ask for feedback

Earlier this week I had the chance to participate in a seminar. It was an interesting day in a beautiful location, and lunch was provided. Part of lunch a bag of chips which contained this text:


It’s possible the manufacturer had every intention to solicit all feedback from customers. But, my first reaction was “what number should I call if I don’t love your chips?”

I am sure many of us have similar stories about such interactions, from the car dealership asking us to “fill the survey only if we can give them 9 or 10, otherwise call the manager” to this bag of chips. While these are amusing stories they have a valuable lesson – you get what you ask for, and if all you want is positive feedback that’s what you are most likely to get.

Having said that, let’s remind ourselves of the value in customer feedback. First, and usually the case of these entertaining messages, is reconfirmation – we’d like the customers to confirm for us that we are doing a good job. Second, and most importantly, is that systematic customer feedback helps us understand where our operation is failing to deliver the expected product or service. If we don’t solicit that feedback we’ll never get it and eventually lose to those who do and continue to improve their operation based on that.

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