If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Come Sit Next to Me
How Even the Worst Consumer Feedback Can Be Your Company’s Best Friend
by Kelly Sons

  • Consumer Feedback

    Consumer feedback. There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    And while positive feedback is the easiest to hear, as researchers we know that the negative stuff is just as important to seek out and listen to. After all, how can we fix problems that we don’t know about—or don’t know enough about?

    When you’re seeking feedback through a survey, the good news is that you’re in control. A well-designed survey can help you answer the “whys” behind negative feedback and even help you understand which low-rated areas to prioritize.
Here are three simple but effective ways to get the most out of survey feedback of all kinds.
  1. It’s obvious but still important to mention—a key-metric rating such as satisfaction or purchase intent should always be followed by an open-end question that asks respondents why they feel this way. Respondents’ feedback in their own words is incredibly valuable to understanding their opinions and perceptions. And sharing some carefully selected quotes with your stakeholders—both positive and negative—gives consumers a voice in the boardroom and brings their feedback to life. Pro tip: Include video or audio clips to make your presentation even more impactful.
  1. Let’s think about something like a home use test or a taste test. When it comes to feedback, I’ve got three words for you: diagnostics, diagnostics, diagnostics. After you cover key metrics in your survey, be sure to deep dive into the diagnostics that will help you better understand the ratings given and fine-tune your offerings. For instance, you don’t just want to know how shiny your cleaning product leaves participants’ floors; you need to know whether it leaves them too shiny, just about right, or not shiny enough. Diagnostics can also help you quickly identify product failures that need immediate attention, potentially saving your business significant operational, legal, and reputational costs.
  1. How about prioritizing negative feedback? Key-driver analysis is a wonderful tool in determining which aspects matter the most to a given rating such as satisfaction or purchase intent. Plotted against performance ratings, as in the example quad map below, key-driver scores help you decide where it makes the most sense to spend company resources on improvements—and where it’s not worth it. But you'll need to be sure to ask the right questions in your survey to enable this analysis.

Example Importance/Performance Map


There you have it. A few ways to ensure you’re listening for everything consumers have to tell you and optimizing their feedback to be as valuable and actionable as possible.

About the Author

Kelly Sons is a Research Analyst at Decision Analyst, and she welcomes feedback and comments. She may be reached by email, or phone at 1-817-640-6166.


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