No, I won't rate you!
Brick and mortar stores have tried to use feedback as a means of driving customer engagement for a while. Anyone who’s shopped at a big chain here in the US knows what I mean. You buy a pack of gum and end up with a 2 foot long receipt. At the bottom of the receipt there is a URL and bar code. The cashier circles the bar code and cheerfully tells you to go online and tell corporate about their service.
If you go to the website, they ask you for specific specific purchase information (time, date, store number, amount, cashier) and ask a bunch of questions about the store. Then, they offer you a chance to win something (gift card, something) if you’ll provide them with your personal information.
Note: This particular form does not allow you to continue at all unless you’ve filled in the information request. Even if you check “prefer not to answer” the page throws up an error message and tells you to provide a valid phone number.
More recently email marketers have jumped on the asking for feedback bandwagon. Over the last few weeks multiple companies have sent me emails asking how my visit to their website was. It… was a website? I mean I went to your website and checked my credit card bill, it told me how much I owed. Your tech support told me they couldn’t fix my problem over chat, I’d have to take my laptop in for repairs. My package arrived and if it didn’t you can be sure I would have reached out to you.
And it’s not just online services that do this. Hotels send followup surveys, which if you’re a frequent traveler turns into a full time job. Yes, I visited your hotel it’s very nice. If I’m in town and that’s where the conference I’m attending is hosted, I’ll probably be back.
I get it, the more chances you provide for people to interact with your brand the more engaged they are and the more likely they are to purchase from you. But a simple search of my mailbox shows over a dozen messages from companies over the last few weeks, all of them asking me for feedback on their services. I’d like a little less email, please. The bank, the mortgage company, the credit card company, the food delivery service I used, the clothing website, the travel website, the ride share service, the hotel… the list goes on and on.
If only a few companies did this, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But as more and more companies adopt the triggered email followup (and the followup reminder and the final reminder and the final final reminder), recipients are going to get tired of the messages. Some of the requests don’t even have opt-outs, although the majority of the ones in my mailbox do.
I get that each company is only responsible for the mail they, in particular, are sending. But the user has a different frame of reference, and maybe it’s time to consider that using surveys and triggered emails to drive engagement may not be a long term sustainable business model. The rest of the companies out there using the same strategy are going to ruin it for everyone.