Feedback : Do you ask the right questions at the right time?

I am always stunned at how poor businesses are at asking their customers the right questions.  Let me give you some recent examples:

  1. I recently was late on an EasyJet flight and I received a questionnaire entitled “We are sorry you got diverted.” I did not get diverted, it was late. Did I respond? No.
  2. A BA questionnaire about my recent web experience when I had actually spoken to a team member over the phone
  3. A large hotel group’s questionnaire that was so long the final third was all answered “Yes” just to get through it.

In each scenario the data is corrupt. The findings are useless and these businesses who invest large sums on research are making decisions based on fantasy.

I became even more disillusioned when I visit a lovely independent hotel. Let me explain.

I was due to speak at a conference and always try to stay in an independent hotel.  It was clear the hotel was really developing. They were adding new rooms, renovated the dining room, and adding the small touches that can make a real difference. However, there were things that were not quite right, for example…

In the bedroom:

  • The wi-fi did not work with ease
  • The iron flex was worn and could be dangerous
  • It was hard to open the bar fridge in the bedroom
  • I got soaked when I turned the bath on, as the setting was set on the hand help showerhead!
  • The TV in the bathroom had a flaky picture

At meal time:

  • My lamb at dinner was overcooked
  • The grapefruit at breakfast was off

My Opportunity

When I went to the checkout I thought this was the opportunity to tell the team all the things that could be improved.  My first impression was that it was clear the staff member was hassled. Customers checking out and phones were ringing.

The staff member with a quick glance asked “Was everything alright?” in a manner that “Yes” had to be the only answer!

So reluctantly, while going through the list in my mind I stated, “Yes fine thanks.” The staff member then told me the amount I owed.

Despite all the small wrong things, I quite liked this hotel and possibly when the changes had been made would try it again. So how sad it was not to give the customer the right conditions to gain an insight that could have a larger financial impact than new bedrooms and renovated dining rooms.

So what are the magic questions?

Well, the first thing is to allow your staff to have the right conditions to ask for feedback. So in this case, they either needed an extra staff member, a diverted phone or a different process for checking out.

And then there are the two magic questions…

  1. Was the best thing about your stay?
  1. What three things would you improve if it was your hotel?=

The consequence of these questions prove the staff are listening and they are going to the get the information they need to ensure the hotel can more easily pay for their renovations.

So if you gather feedback or are about to embark on this journey make sure the questions marry up the the customer’s actual experience and then ensure the right questions are asked, to give the best possibly chance to deliver a world class experience every time.

Do you share my frustration?  Please tell us in the comments below…..


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