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if you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that i like to give critical but constructive feedback to companies who’s products i like or services that i use regularily, no matter if it is the feed-reader i use, my favorite search-engine, the city i live in or the blogs i read.

mostly my feedback is being thanked for, and in some cases – just look at the bloglines-example above – it might even be taken as a literal instruction for improvement. once langenscheidt surprised me with goods worth €80 for sending them a list of keywords their german-spanish dictionary was missing. many big and old-school companies however tend to reply with standard-phrases (if at all) and bury customer-input in digital graveyards of bureaucracy. that’s why they won’t get my feedback.

sometimes however people seem to take feedback personal, as it naturally often addresses mistakes (supposed ones – my feedback is only a single piece of opinion). i just received a cynical and offended reply to a cautiously worded and constructive input i gave on a web-based community that i care about. that’s sad as the guy else is a master at his trade and the community specializes on marketing-related topics and is a #1 resource in its field worldwide. the issue i addressed is nothing major but the way they deal with user-feedback makes me worry.

seth just pointed to an interesting article about that – “defending the mistake“:

defending the mistake might sooth the ego for awhile, but the long term consequences of the action are seldom pleasant.

and here goes thesis #1 of the famous cluetrain manifesto again:

markets are conversations.”

related: “a prescription for turning a culture of complaint into an agenda for change”.

ps. i must admit: some years ago, when i had to put up a customer care department for the international youth community i was responsible for, i didn’t get it perfectly right. many committed users have received standard-replies, few of their suggestions got through to me. but hey, we’re on earth to learn after all ;-)


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