On bagels and feedback…

browningyork Communication lessons, Communication measurement, General communication

Bagel wrapperWhilst preparing my breakfast bagel this morning (served lightly toasted with honey, if you’re interested) I noticed this message on the wrapper. This brilliant example of demonstrating how the company have listened to – and acted upon – customer feedback, immediately struck me as being worthy of writing about here.

Gathering feedback is an important part of any communication strategy. Without it, your measurement and evaluation will be cold, impersonal and difficult to make really meaningful. Qualitative feedback is a great way to add colour and detail to your quantitative stats.

Although measuring communications is notoriously difficult, there are some basic steps that will make anything you do more effective. One of these is to have an idea before you start of what is or isn’t possible to do with the response. For example, there’s no point asking people if they would like a fancier communication channel if you haven’t got the budget or expertise to make it happen.

Equally, I always advise my clients to avoid asking questions along the lines of ‘do you understand our organisational strategy?’. It’s very easy for respondents to answer ‘yes’ because they think they should understand it and are too embarrassed to admit they don’t. Or to say ‘yes’ because they think they do, but in reality they have completely missed the point! Either way, you’re not much further forward.

Another very important part of gathering feedback is to be explicit about what you’ve done as a result. If you don’t clearly make the link between what people told you and what you’ve done now, they don’t always realise you took any notice at all. And if they think you didn’t do anything with what they said, they’ll be less likely to respond next time you’re looking for input.

Which brings us back to those bagels….

The message on the bagel wrapper clearly and simply gets across what they did in the first place (we sliced it), what people said (you didn’t like it) and what they’ve done about it (we ain’t slicing nothin’ no more). The message is quick and easy to absorb, at the point where I’m going to be receptive – whilst standing at the toaster. I now believe this is a company that listens to feedback so if they ask for more, I’ll probably respond. And I like the humorous tone, getting a serious point across (our customers are important to us) in a fun and engaging way.

How can you learn from this in your organisation? If you’d like help gathering and responding to feedback, get in touch and let’s see what we can do.

Until next time
Sarah