Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Commenting while video plays

I just ran across a cool website called Viddler. It's free and you can upload your video for just friends and family to see as well as the whole world. One of the tight features is the ability to add comments and tags to the video while it's playing. Check it out at Let me know what you think.

customers are not stupid

"Our customers are stupid." "They don't know what they are talking about." "These people complain all the time."

Your customers send signals, messages, feedback all day long. But unless you have a healthy, mature concept of how to receive this information, you'll wind up sounding like the person in the first paragraph. And then your customers will walk away without telling you why.

I had the opportunity to go to a seminar not long ago. Afterward, I sent an email with my thoughts and critique of why I thought the seminar was a disappointment and offered some suggestions to help. Most would tell you not to bother, that marketers really don't care and won't listen. And they may be right. But in this case, not only did my email get answered, I received a phone call from the VP of Sales asking me if there was anything else I noticed or didn't like about the seminar. Then I received a letter following up the phone call. Now, this doesn't mean they are going to do anything with the critique I sent in, but chances are good if they have gone to this much work to follow-up, the next seminar is going to be better.

This company obviously had a mature and positive outlook regarding feedback. They didn't run scared and try to hide. They took the information, let the information tell a story and considered the consequences of not changing.

On the other hand, I sent almost the exact same critique 3 weeks ago to another company that co-sponsored the same seminar ($7 billion company) and have yet to hear a word. Yikes!

Your customers are talking...are you listening?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Feedback - Quality versus quantity

For most, including myself, writing is hard. And when it comes to writing a review or providing written feedback on a survey, most shy away.

If you are well-practiced in the art of writing, leave your feedback and let us all enjoy your writing. However, of you find it hard to put into words what you think or feel about a product or service, most sites and surveys make it easy and provide some sort a numbering system (1 = poor, 10 = excellent). But don't get lazy and check a row of boxes just to check a row of boxes. In this case, it would be better not to leave any feedback at all.

Whichever suits you best is fine. But do your best to leave good, honest feedback. Write to your heart's content or check the appropriate box that best answers the question being asked.

OK...enough on leaving feedback. Tomorrow we flip the coin and look at the other side of feedback...receiving.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How to leave good feedback

Giving feedback on a product or service may seem easy enough. However, if handled poorly, you can come off all wrong and send the wrong message.

First, be candid and frank with getting personal. If you liked the product, state what it is that you liked. If something about the service leaves you cold, write out what it is you think is missing (plumber stood too close to the door upon arrival and invaded personal space...mowing company came and left without any notification).

Second, be ready to sign your name or screen-name. Take responsibility for your comments and give the company the abiltiy to get in touch with you if they have further questions or need clarification. I know this may make a person feel uncomfortable, but at least you know they heard you and are making attempts to improve.

Third, keep a helpful tone; don't be mean spirited. A well thought-out comment will be readily received whereas a review written using harsh language and vague examples will be passed over and dismissed. To emphasize this point, let the company know you are sending the critique to help them improve. Your choice of words are crucial to getting your point across and having the recipient "hear" what you're trying to say.

Good feedback helps everyone and can help improve or reinforce the quality of products and services we buy in the future.


I want to take a minute and mention Antman's new Cre8ting Buzz network. This is a new community of people with a wide variety of interests. If you would like to be invited to join, please send me an email and I'll follow up with an invite.

...even more on Feedback

Ben McConnell at Church of the Customer Blog writes about the value websites create when they allow customers to leave reviews of their purchases.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

...more on Feedback

From a marketing perspective, real & honest feedback is crucial.

After attending a conference not too long ago, I sent an email to the sponsoring company outlining what I thought were the highs and lows of the seminar. The feedback was open, honest and written in a helpful tone. Fortunately, someone from the company called, followed up and was genuinely appreciative of the information.

One thing that struck me, however, was a remark they made. They said that they rarely ever got thoughtful feedback from their seminar attendees, and if they did, all they ever got was EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT down the list of topics to grade. I find it hard to believe that in this age of immediate feedback, that people still find it unimportant to leave good honest feedback, even after spending alot of money.

If a company really wants to know what a customer thinks about their product or service, they'll be listening. I can't tell you who they are, but I do encourage you as a consumer to let your voice be heard.

We all benefit when customers leave helpful feedback. Whether it's a presentation you've attended, a product you have used or a service you've signed up for, let them know what you think. If you like what you bought, let the company know what you liked about the product. If you hate it, give specific examples of why you dislike the service so much.

Whatever you do, it's important to remember to refrain from hostile, personal attacks. Stick to the facts and let the reults speak for themselves.

Your recap of your experiences with a marketer's products and services matter.

Monday, August 13, 2007

For Heaven's Sake, Leave Candid Feedback

There's nothing like sitting through a great presentation. There's nothing worse than sitting through a bad one either.

Recently 5 of my colleagues and I came back from a day-long seminar that at best was a test of patience. There is plenty to say about this, but let me me stress one a seminar attendee it is your duty to leave or send candid feedback so the seminar producers know what you think (backed up with solid examples) so future seminar attendees (that could be me) may benefit from your insight. This assumes that the receiver of the feedback will do anything about it. But if they have your best interest as well as their wallet, at heart, they will listen and make the necessary adjustments.

I like pointing people to when asked what a good presentation looks like. Or go to Guy Kawasaki's blogblog and find a wealth of information on public speaking.

work fills time

I agree with Tim Ferriss when he talkes about work taking up whatever time we give to complete the task. This was the basis for my question in the previous post. Read the 4-Hour Work Week when you get the chance. There's some thought provoking ideas in there that I'm sure you can use to help get more out of your day and more out of your life.
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