Are feedback requests worth it, even when they’re annoying?
A university study finds requesting feedback from online users can favorably influence their behavior, even when they disregard the requests.
The researchers led by France’s INSEAD said most consumers consult reviews and ratings before purchasing a product or service, but a wide majority don’t leave their own reviews. If prompted to “rate their experience,” most similarly click “No thanks.”
The study explored the question, “If most users do not reply, what is the point in asking them for feedback?”
The researchers collaborated with an international website to explore how feedback requests influenced the likelihood a user would upgrade from a “freemium” model offering a basic, free service to a “premium” model with additional features for a fee.
The study found consumers who declined to rate a website when prompted were significantly more likely to upgrade from free to paid services than those not asked to provide feedback. Moreover, those declining to give feedback were as likely to upgrade as those who left a rating.
Researchers concluded that feedback requests can be a subtle way of signaling that a company cares — even for the non-feedback providers. The researchers wrote in a press release, “Even if the request is automated, consumers are more likely to believe that someone is listening and that the company wants to provide a positive experience.”
The favorable view comes despite numerous articles and studies over the years exploring “feedback fatigue” from requests that brands often make post-purchase.
A New York Times article from 2012 documented how the “onslaught” of online customer satisfaction surveys was driving declining response rates over the last decade.
A Wall Street Journal article from 2020 cited studies suggesting repeated surveys cause customers to delay purchases or make them reluctant to return.
Andrea Godfrey Flynn, a marketing professor at the University of San Diego School of Business, told the Journal, “It’s hard to break the instinct that, like in our interpersonal relationships, the more we can communicate with each other, the better that’s going to be. It’s hard for it to sink in that it can actually drive your customers away.”
- Online Feedback Requests Are Effective, Even if Ignored – INSEAD
- It’s Time to Face Up to ‘Feedback Fatigue’ – The Wall Street Journal
- When Businesses Can’t Stop Asking, ‘How Am I Doing?’ – The New York Times
- Sorry Retailers, Your Customers Hate Your Surveys – Medium
- Consumer Satisfaction Survey Fatigue? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you find online customer feedback requests to be more positive than negative to the online shopping experience? Do you see enough value in prompting customers for feedback even though most don’t reply and some are annoyed by them?