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Some of you have expressed concern and dismay that consumers won't
spend time completing reader's comment cards.
Take a moment, however, to consider it from the user's perspective.
Not only do YOU want that person's comments, but so do the manufacturers
of all of the other software loaded on that person's system (let's
assume the person has 5 or 6 programs installed), as well as the
manufacturer of the system unit, the keyboard, the printer, the
And that's just the computer system. Everyone's surveying everyone
these days--from McDonald's and Wendy's to the community theater to
the local college.
If consumers believed that the responses were going to lead to improved
service or better software, they might be inclined to provide the
information. But that hasn't happened. We still have software that's
released before its time, the service at most fast food establishments
is still something short of fast, and the community theaters still run
the plays that the artistic staff wants--whether or not that has any
relationship to what the audience wants to see.
Competitive pressures force companies to release software quickly.
High staff turnover limits the effectiveness of service at fast food
establishments. And artistic needs often guide artistic decisions.
But to the person who filled out a card saying, "Your opinions matter,"
the message that they receive is, "Well, not really."
Customer opinions might REALLY matter at your organization, but your
organization has to fight through all of the perceptions create by
all of the other organizations that asked for opinions and then seemingly
So, if you REALLY are interested in consumer's feedback, let them know.
Provide them with an incentive to return the card (because your good
word is likely insufficient for a cynical consumer).
You do not need to use gifts as the incentive, however. I used design
and have had a good experience with it. Rather than spending money on
tee shirts and mugs, we spent it on multi-color printing and heavy
stock paper, and the reply justified the expense.
mstsacx -at- gsuvm1 -dot- gsu -dot- edu 404/892-3945