• customer feedback
  • service experience

How customer feedback destroys the service experience

Product or service ratings have developed themselves as a currency in themselves and are a key pillar in the success of a product. New potential users profit from the ratings offered by others. But the experience can become less positive if the user is spammed with requests to rate the product or service.
Aug
04
2020

Holidays in Italy!

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation with my son in Italy. We traveled from Rome up to Venice with a camper van and organized the trip ourselves. I booked all services over the internet. An AirBnB in Rome, the camper, camping sites and lots of cultural activities via Getyourguide.

Everything went well until each service was finally delivered, then the spamming started:

Within eight days I received about 35 customer feedback emails for the 7 services I had booked. Only one service did not ask for feedback, and if not for other things, I loved this service most for not bothering me.

Some services only wrote one kind email, but most had an escalation scheme:

  1. A kind email for feedback.
  2. A reminder 24h (or less) later if not yet answered –outlining the importance of the feedback.
  3. Another email after another 24h with strong language appealing to my guilt that the service provider may be negatively impacted by not being rated.
  4. A “deadline” email suggesting my “last chance to rate” will be over soon.

A few services that lasted over a couple of days (i.e. the camping site rental) even asked for feedback in the course of the stay:

  1. A “give your first impressions” email even before I parked the van
  2. A follow up email after two days
  3. A final email after leaving

We also did some guided tours and the last 10 minutes were reserved for the guide to explain how important the ratings are, how well we need to rate so that it is positive for her, and that her salary depends on positive ratings!

This did not feel good

This amount of spam in combination with the persistence and appeals to guilt really had a negative impact on the experience itself, because I could not just enjoy the service. I was asked to build myself an opinion and interact with the service provider again, instead of just enjoying and looking forward to the next event.

In some cases, I even rated the service just because I knew that I would be prompted to do so over and over again. In one case, I rated negatively and that was a mistake, too. They of course followed up on issue, which brought something I tried to forget to my consciousness again.

“Give your users room to breathe – don’t send messages right after the experience or even during it.”

Consequences

As a user I draw a few conclusions from this:

  • I may not use some of those services again because I felt overly chased by emails in general (why do I need 10 emails for buying a skip-the-line-ticket?) and particularly the demand to rate.
  • I don’t want to have bad feelings because I choose to not rate an experience.
  • I have lost trust in the ratings because I assume that other also only rate services because the provider follows them up closely and that may only be positive because the customer fears they will be bothered otherwise.

Recommendations to service providers

  • Give your users room to breathe – don’t send messages right after the experience or even during it.
  • Don’t send reminders – if your users want to rate, they will do it, but maybe not immediately.
  • Be cautious with the language you use – don’t create pressure or guilt feelings.
  • Don’t actively invite every user for each event – make sure they don’t get more than x emails in a certain period of time, even if they have booked several services.

THE AUTHOR

Wolfgang Waxenberger

Wolfgang started working as a UX professional in 2004 after finishing his MA in Political Sciences and Sociology. In the last 10 years Wolfgang was managing SirValUse Consulting, GfKs UX department before co-founding uintent. Wolfgang’s focus is on automotive and healthcare research.
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