It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
— Steve Jobs
Forbes called the quote “a dangerous lesson”😈
In a 2012 theoretical case study published in Harvard Business Review, a senior VP of marketing at Cirque du Soleil, Mario D’Amico 👨💼 was asked:
What he would do about implementing customer surveys and feedback if he were in charge of a world-class dance troupe of travelling performers?
In this case study, the theoretical company founder 👨💼 made a point that most CEOs in innovative industries tend to argue: 😬
Why do we want to ask what our audience thinks?
We don’t care what they think.
How can people tell you what they want if they haven’t seen it before?
If we ask them what they want, we’ll end up doing Swan Lake every year!”
D*‘Amico 👨💼 argues that Apple’s competitive edge is that they have been able to avoid the “sameness trap”.
When you rely on consumer input, they will inevitably tell you to do what other popular companies are doing.
If customers 💬 were asked to improve the music 🎼 listening experience back in a day where CD 💿 players ruled, they likely couldn’t have envisioned the iPod 🙈
Wait‼️ Did Someone coined the term customer feedback startups!?
We all are aware of the huge success of survey monkey 🐒
SurveyMonkey has 33 million customers 💰, including 99% of the Fortune 50📰academic institutions, 🏢 organisations and neighbourhood soccer leagues ⚽️everywhere. Every day, more than 3 million survey responses 📃 are gathered on the Survey platform.
Well, this made me re-think how are the bigwigs🚀 ameliorating the Customer Feedback system?👨💻
Real-Time Customer Feedback 🕕
Imagine if you could engage with your customers throughout their life cycle while they’re engaged with your website or app.
This is where getting real-time customer feedback becomes a huge part of your identity. A study by Gartner says that feedback collected at a customer touchpoint is 40% more accurate than one that is collected after 24 hours.
Uber’s website says:
“Real-time feedback about drivers means Uber can correct for issues big and small --- while ensuring that only the best drivers stay on the road. We take this feedback seriously --- depending on the circumstances, rider feedback may lead to deactivating a partner from the system or serve as validation that the driver is providing great service.”
Starbuck’s Ideation Upvotes ☕️
In its first year it generated over 70,000 ideas directly from consumers, now close to 7️ years later, the site has impressive stats 📈 with over 190,000 ideas submitted, approximately 300 of which have been implemented by Starbucks 😲
To provide product feedback, you can chat with Starbucks representative on the official website, or send an email detailing your experience. This way, Starbucks collects valuable ideas from its customers and acts on the ones that matter.
Dell Ideastorm 💫
On June 21, 2005, writer Jeff Jarvis took to the internet to voice his complaints with one of the top computer technology companies in the world, Dell, Inc. Jarvis’ blog post, entitled “Dell Lies. Dell Sucks”, 😵 took the company to task for selling him “a lemon” in addition to providing less-than-customer friendly tech support.
According to the Technology Business Research Survey, by 2013,
(less than a decade after the infamous Dell Hell blog post)
Dell maintained an especially high brand loyalty rating, with 83% of users planning to make another Dell purchase and 80% likely to make a recommendation 😤
But how did they managed to leap from worst to first?
Well, apart from Feedback Surveys, Customer Advisory Panel, the most
effective was Dell’s Ideastorm Page.
The company launched IdeaStorm, its dedicated customer feedback website, “to gauge which ideas are most important and most relevant” to the public.
In its five-year-tenure, IdeaStorm has received nearly 15,000 suggestions and has made about 500 refinements based on them. Most were nice little tweaks such as backlit keyboards.⌨
(My personal favourite was ensuring that its global support staff were fluent in the language that callers spoke)
Customer Feedback Incentives
Out of all the customer feedback examples, this might be the most unique.
Best Buy uses several channels to collect customer feedback, but one that stands out is the Best Buy Reward System, whereby people leave reviews about its brand after making a purchase are rewarded with bonus points!🏆 Once you purchase an item on their site and leave a review, you get rewarded with bonus points.
The 25 points scored through each review can be redeemed next time you’re purchasing at Best Buy. Who doesn’t like freebies!
Okay, I agree that was a lot of information 📋 but hey, aren’t we still left with a question 👇
So, was Jobs right or not?
Many respected entrepreneurs would say that yes, he was right … but only for the extremely unconventional and circumstantial situation that his company was in. What worked for Steve Jobs might not work for your company…
When the products that your company produces are so pivotal as to be creating or redefining their product categories, and your insights are backed up with an enormously expensive creative process populated by world-class designers🔥 then yes, you’re making the right choice by following Jobs’ lead and ignoring the customer feedback pipeline 😀
The takeaway :
Customers can offer valuable insights for business. It’s worth considering that the business that is at fault when the feedback is generic and carries limited utility.
Take for instance Ron Johnson,🙎♂️ former VP of retail operations at Apple and the current CEO at J.C. Penny. After Johnson came on board and reformed operations at J.C. Penny, company sales dropped by double-digit percentages and stock plummeted over 40 % 📉
Many people close to the company said Mr. Johnson 🙎♂️ ignored conventional industry wisdom and moved too abruptly to impose practices inspired by his time at Apple 🍎
Well, thanks for reading, and unlike Jobs, If you would like to collect customer feedback you can try out our product Feature Monkey.
You can get started with a 14 day free trial after which you use the code FM2020 to get a 20% discount.