OFF TOPIC: My feedback? Stop asking for feedback
“How would you rate this Google experience?”
This sentence actually appeared on my computer screen a couple of months ago, followed by a row of five yellow cartoon faces with expressions ranging from grim disappointment to unbridled joy.
How was my experience typing in a Google search?
Well, to be honest, it wasn’t nearly as memorable as being asked to stop and think about it long enough to consider it.
I’m still not sure if it was even legit (I didn’t click on it), but it helped emphasize the fact that we are a needy species.
I can’t begin to count the number of interactions I’ve had over the last few years, whether it’s after a purchase or a service call, that has been immediately followed by a request for feedback – sometimes it’s a quick 1-5 star review, while others want a forensic audit of the stock exchange.
I may be alone on this, but I feel like average, everyday interactions don’t deserve this kind of time and attention.
In fact, forcing me to stop and tell you that I had a mediocre experience automatically drops it a notch to sub par.
And yes, I know, no one is forcing me.
But because I’m Canadian and a people-pleaser and I see no reason to bother, unless you’ve really hacked me off, you’re going to get straight As across the board.
That’s because it’s the quickest and easiest exit strategy—one that doesn’t incentivize further contact. Since the whole point of the exercise is to be told how great they are, there will be no follow-up.
And this makes the process quite pointless.
If you’ve really burned me, trust me, you’re going to get a lot more in return than a yellow wrinkled face.
Likewise, long before the onset of desperate texts and emails, if I had an exceptionally good experience, chances are the person helping me—or their boss—would want to hear it from me, too.
Today, there are people whose jobs literally depend on positive feedback from customers.
After a recent vehicle purchase, two separate salespeople involved in the transaction asked me for a five star review. I got the impression that anything less would cause them no end of professional headaches.
They were both fantastic, and of course I would have given them a good review anyway (see above), but the notion that no one is allowed to have a day off at work is disturbing.
In today’s gig economy, a bad day can cost you, whether you are the service provider or the customer. When it comes to apps or vacation rentals, for example, reviews go both ways.
I guess that makes sense. There is no reason why a worker should have to endure abuse or poor treatment from a client. Just because you pay doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk.
But subjectivity only increases the futility of the exercise.
Something as simple as a personality conflict can affect your ability to use a service again.
I mean, if you don’t want me to floss the back of your Uber, have the courtesy to tell me; don’t just downgrade me. It’s called communication.
(Just kidding. I’ve never been in an Uber.)
You can also see it in product reviews, where the exact same item has elicited responses ranging from “It’s the answer to every prayer I never knew I had” to “I’d rather bathe in landfill runoff than buy this again.”
Let’s face it, we consumers are a fickle bunch.
Just as when we are in a bad mood, the smallest inconvenience can take on far greater dimensions than it deserves, when we are especially happy, we let many things slide.
So please, it’s time to just stop all the begging for approval.
If I feel the need to give you feedback, I will find you. Maybe I’ll try a Google search. I hear they do a good job.
Brenda Anderson is the editor of Peace Arch News.