This post was originally published on HubEngage's Blog by Lisa Strickland.
Mike Soylu is co-founder and CMO at Pisano, a company that creates tools to help people get "feedback driven." We recently spoke with Mike about the best practices of implementing effective feedback strategies.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to help create Pisano?
I took interest in technology at a very young age. I just really loved the joy of experimentation and sense of creation that things like hobby electronics kits and programming tutorials gave me; so naturally, I decided to pursue a career in technology.
After getting my engineering degree, I worked at a number of games and mobile app development companies. Working at these companies, I was fortunate enough to meet and work with a lot of great people. That's how I met my co-founders, and in 2014 we set out to create Pisano.
From the beginning, Pisano has been very customer-centric – and by customer, I mean the people that provide feedback to Pisano users. We wanted to make providing feedback a great experience. No other company really had this approach, and for me, that was a big reason I had to take part in creating it. Three years later, I can say this approach really worked, and that's one of the reasons there's still nothing on the market that can get the feedback rates that we do.
When seeking customer feedback, what do many of today's companies tend to do incorrectly?
One of the major pain points we see in companies regarding feedback is organizational struggles. Most companies only care about feedback in the context of support or operations departments, and we're seeing that this approach doesn't do much for companies. You need to think about customer journeys and cover your process as a whole. Feedback isn't just a performance measure; it's a great way to orient sales, marketing, and even product efforts.
We also see a lot of companies that have had bad experiences with feedback collection methods, and they tend to assume that people are not willing to provide feedback. They try to incentivize customers with things like special offers and promotions. I can say this is not necessary when using effective collection methods.
Under what circumstances is it appropriate to use rating scales as the format for measuring customer feedback? Are there any instances where rating scales should NEVER be used?
Rating scales are good for getting a general understanding of customer sentiment. But to get the full picture, you need to add additional questions and metrics to these scales. As an example, Net Promote Scores are great, lots of companies use them, and they work for a lot of cases. But without adding context to NPS responses, you can't really benefit fully from them.
A good example of the unnecessary use of rating scales is when you're asking feedback during an innately negative experience, like when a customer is waiting in line for something. You'll always get negative feedback and you will not get good, proactive results.
If a company receives seemingly contradictory feedback from two different sources, how should management go about interpreting the data and drawing conclusions?
We get this question a lot. We believe that companies shouldn't over-engineer their feedback processes. Feedback is an organic process and you'll get contradictory results from time to time. It's just in the nature of it. So the best way to move forward and make decisions in these cases is to gather as much data as possible and decide after considering all aspects of the specific customer journey.
For a company which operates numerous brick-and-mortar stores, what kind of actionable data and insights can it get from feedback submitted by managers or employees at its retail outlets?
Again, feedback isn't just something for support or operations departments. Feedback is super beneficial for all teams and departments in organizations including human resources, because it provides organic insights as well as hard metrics – which are both invaluable when making hard decisions.
In terms of employee engagement and motivation, why is it important for a company to seek out internal feedback on a regular basis?
According to Elon Musk, "All a company is is a bunch of people together to create a product or service. There's no such thing as a business, just pursuit of a goal — a group of people pursuing a goal." So if you think of it that way, the people are the most important asset of companies. And if you don't know what those people are thinking about the business, chances are you don't know much about the company.
In the future, how quickly and efficiently will companies have to respond to customer feedback in order to be successful?
We believe that in the near future, every store, every milk carton, and every online web page will have at least one feedback touch point. The reason for this is simple; it's technically and economically feasible and customers want it. They're already starting to expect this and it's rapidly becoming the norm. It's like having an info-at-company email address on everything. Customers want to be able to contact and communicate with the companies they buy from. It's that simple.