Ask for feedback, but only if it’s good.

So this measurement wonk took an Eastern Caribean cruise over the New Year.  I’ve cruised many times with many different cruise lines.  They are not all created equal.  I knew that.  You get what you pay for.  I forgot that one.  We admitedly cheaped out a bit given the pricey time of year. 

So, come time to provide feedback (which every single crew member repeatedly urged us to do) I went to work on the feedback form.  I’m encouraged that they asked for feedback.  It’s a brilliant piece of strategy (or perhaps characteristic of the line’s complete keystone cop calamity approach to service) that they give you the feedback form after you’ve tipped and before you get the final bill.

The form itself was well-constructed and seem to ask all the right questions.  The trouble is though (and hat tip to the Don Stacks of this world) their scale was set-up to be beneficial to them.  They were asking for feedback but only let you provide positive feedback. Hello?! 

Please rate us on our food:  Exceeded expectation, met expectation, room for improvement. 

What?!  Where’s the ‘neither exceeded nor met’?  Where’s the ‘did not meet’ and the (poorly worded but you get the idea) ‘did not come close to meeting expectations’?  We can praise them to the high heavens, but only slam them with a flacid ‘room for improvement.’  It’s a bit like asking your loved one to tell you what they think of you and then turning up the car radio so you have to hear the answer.   



4 responses to “Ask for feedback, but only if it’s good.

  1. Lisa Caroline Leung

    Haha, can you elaborate on what the “complete keystone cop calamity approach” is?

    As for feedback options: honestly, sometimes (oftentimes) I end up writing in my own categories. How much does that irk you as a measurement director?

    (Great spotlight lecture on Tuesday, by the way! It’s really exciting to see measurement truly coming up in Canadian PR.)

  2. It irks me plenty, but then I feel like a dork and move on. But not after adding in my own categories like you do. 🙂

  3. Mr. Chumley – like the choir master you are this really struck a chord. There are too many to mention out there that ask for feedback with the intent of having their respondents do so ONLY in the positive.

    The mantra of “We love feedback as long as it’s good” is quite hypocritical in my experience since it is as you say asking your loved one for feedback and not wanting to hear it. These same people it seems would be the first to complain in the proverbial shoe was on the other foot.

    I’m sure you agree that the only true way we can measure and most importantly improve is feedback – positive and negative – otherwise business as usual will inevitably lead to us going out of it. Great forum here my friend – looking forward to your next post. Cheers,


  4. You’ve really stroke the right cord Mr Chumley. They asked for feedback. That’s all, nothing more and nothing less. I really don’t think that they are going to do anything else with the answers received. They have learnt the basic customer care lesson: ask for feedback. Unfortunately, they haven’t moved to the second lesson: let the feedback provided really help you improve the service you give. I guess that in a couple of cruise trips they learn it.

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