Feedback, Feedback

Just imagine that every time you did the weekly shop at the supermarket, you were pursued across he car park by someone with a clipboard asking you to “rate your experience”.  You would find that pretty annoying! Yet this sort of behaviour is becoming ubiquitous online.

These days, when you make an internet purchase, not only does one get an email confirming the order, and another Clipboardannouncing dispatch; but a few days later there will be one asking you to ‘rate your experience’ or to ‘write a review the product’.  Well most of the shopping experiences that I go through (online or in the flesh), I would rate as ‘really average’.  When I make a mundane online purchase such as pack of AA batteries – it is a bit weird being asked to review the product or rate the experience.  If a product turns out to be ‘not fit for purpose’ or the service has been really appalling; don’t worry; I will say so and use a more robust channel than a mere feedback form.  Likewise if someone has gone out of their way to meet my needs, I will send a note to their boss.

Another similar irritation occurs when I visit a website, either directly or via a search engine in order to find some information.  Within a few seconds up pops a dialogue box asking if I would like to ‘take part in a survey’.  Well No!  I came here to find information NOT provide it.

I am sure that a proportion of the population enjoys completing forms and writing reviews – the sort of people who are mentally composing their piece for TripAdvisor as they fly back from holiday.  Likewise, businesses big and small need to know that they are offering a good service and where they can improve, and I understand how important this information is to them.  However for many of us, (and I suspect that it is the majority of us) life is too short for repeated form filling.

So a message to large corporates and small online businesses alike:

“spare us the irritation and … Back Off!”

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