On the whole, companies tend to love gathering feedback. But the way they do so is changing rapidly, and some of the old practices might soon be left in the dirt. The reasons for seeking feedback are simple: if people like what you’re doing – great; if they don’t – well, it’s important that you made the effort to find out.
A speedy, simple and (if you like) anonymous feedback form on a corporate website can make for a great problem-spotting tool and make you appear transparent and progressive. In essence then, feedback forms have traditionally been the only places on a site where people can register their opinions. But like almost everything else in digital communications, it’s getting shaken-up by social media.
Many firms ask what the visitor thought of the site specifically. Fresenius gets in and gets out, finding out why you’re on their site in the first place, how useful you found it and whether it worked correctly within a lean seven questions, five of them multiple choice. In return for your (minimal) time, you’re entered into an annual draw and a small charitable donation is made. Others take minimalism much further: a glance at Luxottica’s site reveals a “Rate this page” tool at the bottom of which lets the user pick from 1 to 5 and then displays the full results of the survey. Simple, transparent and effective. Even if the results are varied, the open approach is commendable and in the end it should guide the company on future website design.
Feedback as a whole, however, is rapidly becoming the domain of social media. People are talking about companies all the time; the smart companies are managing their presence efficiently and giving prudent responses. Take Tesco’s IR specific Twitter account, which answers enquiries addressed to it politely, quickly and very helpfully, offering clarification where required (have a look at some examples below).
As opposed to the anonymity of a feedback tool, social media channels can add a personal perspective to both the criticism and the company’s response, which customers and investors are increasingly coming to expect. Allocating resources to manage accounts can be tricky, but as the social media juggernaut continues to envelop more and more of the customer and investor relations sphere, companies would do well to get on board.
So what’s next for the feedback form? Well it isn’t done yet, but like everything else it’s going to have to adapt and refine itself to the new digital communications mantras: engagement and dialogue. This simple tool for corporate communications needs to get social and we’re expecting to see some clever examples of its use in the near future.