Friday, December 11, 2009

Soliciting Feedback

There is some very interesting research being performed at Brigham Young University regarding the impact of employees fishing or compliments. Some of the researchers are Sterling Bone, Katie Liljenquist, Bruce Money and Kristen De Tienne. Their two research issues are (i)can soliciting compliments influence customer loyalties and (ii) how does a company's acknowledgement of feedback influence customer perceptions and behaviour.

Their first experiment involved a hotel bellman and showed that customers who were solicited for feedback viewed their encounter more favorable than those who were not solicited. The conclusion was that asking for feedback appears to have a positive impact on customers.

The second experiment related to a portrait studio chain. Some customers were asked to share a compliment regarding product quality, customer treatment quality and their likelihood to recommend. Those customers who were asked to share a compliment rated significantly higher that those where were not asked. Once again, the impact of asking the customer for feedback had a more positive impact on the customer than those who were not asked for feedback.

The bottom line is that these experiments track what has been demonstrated in previous studies and noted in previous blogs; namely, customers need to feel that their feedback both positive and negative is valued and will be acted on by the company. By asking the customer is led to believe that the company cares.

A while ago a company sent out cards soliciting feedback on their products and services to some customers. When they received the cards back, they discarded them without looking at them. However, the next time they measured customer satisfaction they found that those who received the cards scored higher satisfaction scores than those who did not. The message is clear!

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