When Companies and Retailers Do Not Hear Feedback

Filed Under (NLP life coaching) on 01-11-2022

How many times do you see companies and retailers encouraging you – the consumer – to give them feedback? And when you give it, how many times do you see them act on it? Is giving feedback worth your while when it won’t change anything? How do companies and retailers not hear feedback? 

A consumer gives feedback…

Let’s take an example. A friend recommends a retailer to you which has a product that you want. The friend sends you a link to the retailer’s site. You click on the link and the first page appears. A message pops up that you’ll get 10% off the first order if you sign up [presumably for the newsletter]. You type your email address into the field and click send.  The message on the next screen thanks you, but does not give you the discount code. You receive an email. The email welcomes and thanks you for signing up once again. But surprise surprise in today’s world full of imperfections, you don’t see the discount code in the email either.

How will that make you feel? Disappointed at best, angry at worst, cheated in either case. Why did the retailer not send the code? You need the product which this retailer has, so you order it. You’re shopping from the retailer for the first time, hence are getting to know the site and its features. Alas, you don’t have time to thoroughly browse the site and find all its features now. You only want to order the product and go on to the next task. So you will not see many features of the site on this occasion because you don’t have time to do so or aren’t interested in finding out whether the site has a chat, for example. Plus the process of ordering requires attention so that you place the order correctly. So you don’t want to distract yourself with other things on the site.

…and companies, retailers don’t hear the feedback

You order the product and write to the retailer that you didn’t get the discount code. You tell the retailer that when the code doesn’t appear when it should, it can look like a scam and definitely gives a bad impression – right at the beginning. Then you explain that you had ordered the product and would like the retailer to discount the promised 10% from the order if it is possible to do so.

The retailer doesn’t read the feedback properly and therefore takes it badly. Someone replies that:

1. she’s failing to understand how you can label the company as a scam. They are 3 years old, use a certified card processor and Paypal all of which protect their customers, and have the Google padlock, having proved to Google that they are safe. They are fully aware of scam websites and work hard to make their website shop a fun, safe, secure experience.
2. regarding the discount for signing up, she’s sorry that you didn’t receive the code, but her colleague Dan was available on the online chat and would have given you the code while you were at checkout if you had contacted them by chat. Dan actually left a note that while he was answering another inquiry, he saw your email and replied with a discount code, not knowing that you had already placed the order.
3. their admin department worked during the office hours, but customers could speak to a human being over a much longer stretch of time and resolve most issues/questions via chat. So they recommend that if you needed to get a simple question answered quickly, the chat would probably be the best place to start.
4. they took their customer feedback seriously and were pleased that with their hard work the majority of customers praised the products, service, and presentation. It concerned them that you seemed to already feel badly about them before they even delivered. So if you felt uncomfortable buying, they were disappointed, but completely understood and were happy to refund the order as they would never want to have a customer having an uncomfortable experience with them.

So why does this retailer not hear the feedback?

1. instead of fixing the site so that the code appears on the thank you screen or in the welcome email the retailer puts time and energy into writing four paragraphs of information none of which the client cares about at this stage. The client’s mind is fixed on being cheated out of the discount since he didn’t get the code. The client doesn’t care how old the retailer is and whether it proved to Google that it’s safe. And the client doesn’t care that the retailer is fully aware of scam sites and works hard to make shopping from it fun and safe. The client cares about the fact that the discount code didn’t appear when it should. That’s not fun shipping!
2. the fact that Dan was available on chat and would have given the discount code is irrelevant to the point of the feedback that the code should have appeared when the client signed up. Besides, if the retailer claims to make shopping from it fun, the client should not have to go through any hassle while ordering. He should have gotten the discount code to type it into the order at checkout and check out. Instead the retailer suggests an additional step for the client, which creates hassle! Plus the retailer clearly doesn’t see its operation from the client’s perspective because it doesn’t realise that the client may not be aware of the chat feature.
3. the retailer may recommend the chat, but a smooth fun shopping experience should equal not having to use the chat, because the client should not have to have questions and issues!
4. if the retailer took customers’ feedback seriously, it would not accuse the customer of labelling the retailer a scam. After all, the client did not do that! The client said that when the code doesn’t work it can look like a scam. Looking like a scam does not mean being a scam! But good old human nature makes 90% of population immediately take words negatively without thinking about what words mean.  And then there’s no wonder why people react badly.
Secondly, a client in the cheated mindset doesn’t care whether the majority of customers praise the retailer’s products and service.  In fact, this can add an insult to injury, because it makes the minority a villain and this client is in the minority. Does the fact that the client feels unhappy with their service before the retailer delivered really concern the retailer? Maybe, because it is scared of bad reviews online. But if it truly concerned the retailer, the retailer would thank for the feedback, fix the site, and refund the 10%.

Companies, retailers, don’t get negative and defensive, but hear and act on the point of feedback

Retail is detail. And the detail is in how we deal with things that don’t work as much as things that work. Pay attention to the point of feedback, especially if the feedback seems negative. If a client reports an error on the site, fix the error. Put time and energy into fixing the error instead of writing four paragraphs of irrelevant justifications. The client who feels disappointed at best, angry at worst, and cheated in either case doesn’t care about justifications which don’t address the point of his feedback. He cares about what you the retailer promised and didn’t deliver. The mindset of a consumer is selfish whether business owners and directors like it or not. Hence the consumer thinks only about what’s in it for him.

Besides, justifications will only dig you a deeper hole, because they maintain the opposite of what the client sees. If the majority of customers is happy with the products and service, well, this client is not.  Hence it can appear as artificial waffle which this client nor anyone will ever prove to be true. It therefore adds an insult to injury. So companies, retailers, hear feedback, pay attention to what you promise, and deliver promises.  Or don’t promise anything if you don’t want the hassle of delivering promises. That’s it.  A simple principle, a simple solution. NLP coaching for retail helps companies and retailers hear feedback and deal with it so that they appear honest and credible. Because retail is detail and NLP deals exactly with the detail.

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