Re: Effective mechanism to gather end-user feedback

Subject: Re: Effective mechanism to gather end-user feedback
From: Keith_Wolfe -at- mercmarine -dot- com
To: "Laura Chris" <tw_asks_u -at- postinbox -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 08:43:39 -0600


The problem with customer feedback forms is that customers typically read
the documents when they get stuck . At that time, they only care about
fixing the problem. Sure, a few will take the time to comment on the
failure of the document, but most put the book down, call for help, and get
on with their lives. In my experience, the small amount of feedback does
not add up to a representative sample, so any stats on the matter shouldn't
be trusted.

We have created feedback survey forms in the past (sent with the product
manual), ready to be filled out and dropped in the mailbox at no cost to
the customer. But you guessed it. Based on our feedback, the sample had a
low confidence level.

The problem is that you cannot control the frequency of user feedback or
influence users to fill out a form or send an e-mail. So focus on what you
CAN control. You have a service center. Do they have any metrics in place
to record feedback on documentation? If not, create some. Phone support
personnel can also perform customer surveys over the phone (but that can be
annoying to users). My point is that you have resources in house that you
CAN influence. Brainstorm on that, and you may think of methods you haven't
tried before. It may not be as good as one-on-one discussions with
customers, but it is a whole lot more realistic.

Also, I would look for solutions that get the biggest bang for your buck.
Think and brainstorm with cost savings in mind and your boss will
appreciate you.

Keith Wolfe


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Effective mechanism to gather end-user feedback: From: Laura Chris

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