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4. Provide Feedback

Customers will provide feedback. This may be voluntarily provided by e-customers (unprompted) or solicited (prompted).

Customers sometimes want to provide feedback on an experience they've had with you, either on your Web site, or in general. A Web site provides a medium where people can have a good moan without having to talk to someone in person.

Customers will complain and unprompted feedback is usually negative, unfortunately and fortunately. It's unfortunate because it can create a skewed view of how well you are doing and fortunate because it provides an outlet that customers may not otherwise have. It also gives you a chance to get things right where you may not have otherwise known something was wrong.

Feedback on your Web site may not be particularly helpful, because customers don't understand the way your Web site works as well as you do. "Your Web site stinks" might be all the feedback you get after a customer has spent half an hour unsuccessfully trying to do something useful. You may never find out what the customer was trying to do or exactly what went wrong. However, if you prompt feedback in places related to specific things you know customers are trying to do, and give them some guidance on what you want to know, you're more likely to get useful feedback.

Customers are more passive when it comes to prompted feedback. However, customers will give you information, provided they get something worthwhile in return. A customer who is very involved with your company or your product may want to have some involvement with the decisions your company makes. Those customers still need to see payback for time spent. This payback does not equate to a bribe either. Seeing the difference the feedback makes may be enough for a customer.

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