How valuable are those annoying feedback requests, actually?

Dear #classicalmusic fan,

I know you get them.

Lots of them.

Requests for feedback:

“How did we do?” and “We want to make sure we’re doing our best” and “Please give us your feedback” and so on.

This is my favorite (not):

“We would like your feedback, please.”


Because if I don’t respond within 24 hours, I’ll get another request:

“We would still like your feedback, please.”

And a couple of days later,

“We’re still waiting for your feedback.”

Oh, you should hear the responses in my head!

Well, there’s nothing wrong with asking for feedback, but please… not EVERY TIME I TALK TO YOU!

Literally, that feedback they would like happens after every single interaction I have with them, and it is REALLY ANNOYING. Because they are not alone. Most companies I deal with these days seem to be asking for feedback.

Just how valuable is it, anyway?

Glad you asked… I’ll tell you.

Our society has become feedback frenzied because the latest trend is to think that “Data is everything.” You can’t make a decision these days without data. And lots of it. Never mind the fact that, like statistics, data can be manipulated, and it is totally biased when you include or exclude certain elements of data. No, that doesn’t matter – we must have data!

And the easiest and laziest way to collect data is to become a noosence and badger your customers for it.

The worst part is, all they want is to be perfect.

5 out of 5, 10 out of 10. Anything less and employees get dinged.

Believe me, their service may have been wonderful, possibly even excellent, but it was not perfect! And neither is the company, actually, so don’t every expect me to give a score of 10. I’ve written about that before.

The problem with expecting perfect scores is that it waters down what is excellent. It leaves no room for improvement, and the more perfect scores collected, the more companies can rest on your laurels and dream themselves into a false reality – that they really are the best of the best of the best on the planet. These companies end up spending way more time, energy and money on being the best that they forget to spend time, energy and money on actually providing a good service or product! It is counter-productive.

No, constantly asking for feedback pushes me away from companies, as it tells me they are living in a data dream world full of numbers, not people. I’ll take my business elsewhere, thank you, to those who value the people working for them over and above any data and rapid, click, click, click make-it-up feedback.

Now, not all feedback is bad.

And requesting feedback is not bad, either.

CONSTANTLY requesting feedback is the issue, especially those rating systems.

That’s why I don’t ask for feedback unless it’s absolutely essential to how I can best serve you/ is what I’m doing actually worth my time, energy and money? (Coz if it’s not, I’ll stop! You know that already.) So I’ll ask for feedback usually just once or twice a year. Certainly not after you open every single one of my letters to you! Can you imagine? I’d never get any work done: all I’d be doing is sorting through the data.

Best of all, I never ask for a rating or a score.

It doesn’t take a jeenius to figure out I’m not perfect, thank you, and I don’t need reminding.

Just tell me what you liked the most, what you’d like more of, and I’ll take any positive and critical comments you have. I won’t cry. Too hard.

So far, the feedback I’ve received about my new podcast’s pilot episodes have been fascinating, and initially it seems like presenting classical music in a new, upbeat, non-NPR-like manner is attractive.

But what do you think?

We would like your feedback, please.

Please give us your feedback.

How are we doing?

Or, just click the link below and let us know:

LOL! Yes, I’ll be writing to you tomorrow as well, about a different topic that will help you accomplish far more than you ever thought possible, and yes… I’ll be asking for feedback for my podcast again, like I did yesterday.

The reasons are:

  • You might not have read yesterday’s letter.
  • You might not have gotten round to it.
  • I ask so infrequently, sending gentle reminders is OK.
  • My feedback requests are frequent in a short period of time.
  • I ask so rarely, I know you don’t mind.
  • My letters are not about requesting feedback, they are about helping you do better in life (i.e. don’t become annoying auto feedback requester).
  • The “ask” at the end of my letters is almost an ancillary afterthought for those who want to dive deeper… if they haven’t already.
  • Because I’m upfront about asking for feedback, why, and how often, I know you’ll be more inclined to offer it when it’s asked for.

(Believe me, I get PLENTY of feedback I don’t ask for!)

So there we go: this week is SPB’s feedback request week, but that’s not important. The important thing is that I share something of value with you, a perspective that validates yours or makes you think a little differently. That you keep reading my letters because you find them interesting and… dare I say it… actually useful.

Until tomorrow, then, let me whimper one more time for today:

Please share your thoughts, comments and concerns about From The Podium!