It’s about respect.

It’s about respect.

Screenshot 2016-04-08 01.38.06Were you happy with the service? Very satisfied. Fairly satisfied. Neither. Fairly dissatisfied. Very dissatisfied.

Would you recommend us to friends and family? Yes. No.

Ten seconds of thought, ticks in two boxes and job done. Or, just as often, I click cancel.

But feedback is the lifeblood of improvement. To get better we need to know what we do well and where we need to improve or what we should do differently.

The purpose of quick questionnaires is to get feedback. But they’re so quick they’re fairly pointless. Even if the feedback is good!

This week I’ve responded to two feedback questionnaires. One was for a web hosting company that reckoned on solving problems on the first call. It took four calls to solve my problem. They didn’t do it properly the first time of asking. On the second and third calls they very nicely said I needed to give it a little longer to work and on the fourth call the chap said it was completely their fault, he was very sorry and he would sort it immediately. The two-question questionnaire didn’t give me the space to say that, despite things not going smoothly, I appreciated the attitude of the people I dealt with, particularly the last man.

The other was for the English Heritage. I had been on a member’s event at Kenilworth Castle. The Castle is up there with Fontevraud Abbey as one of my favourite places to spend time.

The day had been brilliant. The Chief Exec, Regional Director, Head of Events and the person responsible for the Elizabethan Garden, as well as the local staff had enthusiastically shared their knowledge, making the day very special for me.

The goody bags contained a feedback form. But it wasn’t a quick check box exercise. The form looked good and as well as the usual boxes it asked for my opinions and gave me space to express them. It felt like my opinion really mattered, something reinforced by the attitude of everyone on the day; they cared if we got our questions answered, if we found it interesting. So I put the time and effort into giving them thoughtful feedback.

Every organisation needs feedback to get better, whether it’s from customers, employees, partners or all of the above. But quick check box exercises don’t do the trick. They’re superficial. If you really want to know what people think of you, you have to give them the space to really say what they think.

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