customer feedback

Customer Feedback: It’s Simple, But Not Easy

by Brent Williams on May 10, 2017 Comments Off on Customer Feedback: It’s Simple, But Not Easy

It’s generally believed that leveraging data-driven insights when making business decisions improves the likelihood of success. I’m here to tell you that, speaking from experience, it does*.

Now, before you start replacing all your staff members with calculators it’s important to notice the asterisk included in the statement above.

*Results are dependent on reliable data collection methodology, statistically sound analytics, and valid conclusions drawn from accurate analytic interpretations.  

So, yes, data driven insights improve your likelihood of success; as long as you are doing it correctly.

We commonly see companies struggling to convert data-driven insights into action even thought they have plenty of data to sort through. Sometimes it’s not about the quantity of data; it’s about the quality. Whether the main challenge appears as lacking certain internal skill sets or a reluctance to trust resulting analytics, the real issue may stem from the beginning; data collection methodology and strategy.


Customer feedback is easy to understand conceptually. The challenge is knowing when, where, why and how to gather customer feedback. Without clear, cohesive answers to these questions the feedback collected might be counter-productive at best; or harmful at worst. Without a keen eye and sufficient research experience, it’s difficult to know if/when you’re dealing with unreliable data. This has, many times, resulted in false conclusions and misguided decisions.

Before moving forward with any data-driven initiative it’s important to remember the asterisk* in the opening statement. While there’s no singular “right way” to collect customer feedback, there are certain guidelines to help ensure data collection efforts are moving in the right direction:

Concise & Comprehensive Surveys

If a survey is too long, customers are likely to abandon without completing. This produces fragmented data sets which make it difficult to draw reliable conclusions. If a survey is too vague, the feedback may not offer enough substance to guide decision making.

This is a delicate balance and its importance cannot be overstated; not only in regards to the quality of data collected, but also the willingness of customers to participate in future feedback opportunities.

Direct Feedback Channels & Opportunities

Asking for customer opinions after an experience has occurred relies on both customer willingness to participate AND their ability to offer retrospective insights. If looking for feedback about one specific experiential element, surrounding variables might influence a customer’s recollection of how they felt at the time.

To avoid this influence or bias, brands can offer ongoing channels for customer feedback which are available to the customer at the moment they are feeling strong opinions. In addition to receiving in-the-moment feedback, this approach will alleviate customer frustration by providing an opportunity to vent. The longer a customer holds onto a frustrating experience, the more lasting the impact will be.

Unique & Individual Behavior Tracking

Web analytics are certainly a useful tool for understanding how customers interact with a brand, however this only offers a high-level, aggregated view of customer activity. Engaging customers on the individual level is proven to be a more effective approach, so understanding customer behavior on an individual level is a good place to start.

Collecting and analyzing segmented customer behavior data will yield detailed insights more valuable to the process of offering unique, memorable brand experiences. The process and logistics of behavior tracking is similar between an aggregate and an individual approach; the difference lies in the strategy. The more detailed the research strategy, the more detailed the resulting analytics.

To read about the importance and value of customer feedback, click here.

If you’d like to have a discussion about how your brand’s customer feedback approach, we’d love to chat. For over 30 years MacKenzie has developed brand-specific and customer-centric research strategies leading brands to a better understanding of their customers, and ultimately a better product or service offering.

Click here to give us a shout; now is always better than later.

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Brent Williams is Brand Development Manager at MacKenzie Corporation. His optimism is contagious, and he brings a unique energy to all of his projects. While Brent carries an “outside the box” mentality, his ideas are conceptually based on his formal business education and extensive work experience as a Research Consultant for top-tier organizations such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, Red Bull USA and many others.

Brent WilliamsCustomer Feedback: It’s Simple, But Not Easy