The Evolution of Feedback

Feedback

This article talks about how feedback, as a business process, has changed over time for the better. It explores a lot of the current ways in which companies have adapted to great feedback methodologies. Starting with how it plays a role in business, today:

Feedback is the key ingredient in today’s work culture. We cannot go about our regular work without taking a break to review and determine if everything is moving ahead in just the way we want it to. Feedback is often mistaken for criticism. However, there’s a lot of positivity embedded in it, if you know how to give one. And for a startup to be successful, feedback from customers is crucial. When you decide to launch your own company, it makes sense to understand what people expect from your company and its products rather than going by mere self-assumption. That way, you can alter some plans even before the launch and tread safely.

In the days before technology took over every aspect of our lives, feedback was taken manually. Companies spent time talking to potential customers either in person or over the phone to understand them, their needs and expectations. People were asked questions and were made to fill up forms to put their thoughts on paper. Qualitative research is still the best tool to gather feedback, but it has acquired sophistication. It has and will always remain a way of doing business and has the potential to change the way you work. Eric Ries, through his Lean startup method proposed in 2008 claims that if startups invest their time in building products and services catering to the needs of the early customers, they can largely reduce market risk, initial project funding, and expensive launches.

Eric Ries, through his Lean startup method proposed in 2008 claims that if startups invest their time in building products and services catering to the needs of the early customers, they can largely reduce market risk, initial project funding, and expensive launches.

Let’s look at some techniques that most successful companies incorporate:

  • Interviewing-Asking the right questions and listening. Earlier interviews were conducted face to face. Video calls via skype or WhatsApp has altered interviewing remarkably.
  • Conducting a survey online with short, but relevant questions. For this, tools such as Google forms, Survey Monkey, Qualtrics, Wufoo are used.
  • Social networks and blogs -These immensely useful tools were not available to companies earlier. It works wonders to engage customers, listening and responding to them at any time of the day just by the click of a button. Tools like UserVoice and GetSatisfaction allow you to leave ideas, questions, suggestions, vote on posts and make it easy for users to leave a feedback.
  • Chad Halvorson of the ‘When I Work’ scheduling app says, they follow a policy of ‘Observe. Listen. React’. Basing on the feedback of a single customer, a company cannot alter the features of its products. Rather, he said, they track all feature requests and if the same request is repeated at least 10 times—then it’s time to change.
  • ‘Get 10,000 Fans’ used a tool called Qualaroo, recommended by Neil Patel (entrepreneur and co-founder of Crazy Egg) to collect various kinds of feedback from customers without being too invasive. They use this feedback to develop a new product or service which has resulted in amazing strides in customer satisfaction.

Times have changed and the so have feedback methods. What remains unaltered is the role of feedback to change a product, a business, or the way companies think and act.

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