Small Bits of Common Sense are Blissful

Other people’s common sense might be the biggest driver of my happiness. There’s nothing like the absence of frustrations. I smile whenever I come across new things that are simpler and smarter than the dumb way it was being done before. Customer feedback requests are one small detail that usually drive me nuts but Crate & Barrel recently made me very happy:


I hate customer service feedback requests. They almost seem so stupid that you would think smart people sat down at a table and said:

“How can we make our request ignored?”

But the opposite happened, a bunch of dumb people sat down at a table and said:

“How should we maximize customer feedback?”

And what did most companies decide? To print a URL at the bottom of a receipt and have the cashier point to it saying something like:

“Please take this survey on your experience by going to the address at the bottom of your receipt, www dot blah blah blah”.

Unrealistic on every level. It’s a showcase of the fact that stupid people work at the company you’re shopping at. They might as well put up a sign that says:


That is why I love the Crate and Barrel feedback request so much:


They hit almost every objection I have to normal feedback requests:

  • I assume my comments usually end up in cyberspace or an unimportant person’s alt inbox
    • The sign specially states the text will go directly to the store manager
  • I won’t go out of my way to pull out the receipt, sit down at my computer, and type in the URL
    • A text is simple to do. A ten digit number, plus an open ended comment
  • I usually expect I’ll have to fill out preliminary info, which I don’t want to do
    • Texting implies that you don’t have to fill out a form. How would you?
  • Unless I’m pissed about my experience, I’m not going to remember to take the survey
    • By offering a text option, I don’t have to remember. I can do it easily right then

Feedback is about resolving common problems, improving store experiences, firing bad employees, and simply making the customer feel as though they have a voice. So why do companies often stick a URL on the bottom of a receipt like it’s an after-thought? They should be hiring creative agencies and behavioral psychologists to give input on how to get everyone giving input.


Email Requests

Even email feedback requests are half assed. An email request with a clickable link is better but still shows no actual effort by the company. Anytime a company asks you to do something, it’s an advertisement! Their request looks like this:

“Take this five minute survey to tell us how we did.”

Any amount of time, five minutes or two, spent doing something that is boring, won’t be done. Why would it? Experience surveys are generally boring questions, even if yours isn’t. That’s a hurdle. Recognize it and overcome!

“Did we suck? Rip us a new one here.”

“Want your comment displayed on the TVs in all of our executive’s offices? Leave it here.”

In the name of more feedback and better understanding your customer, antagonize them if need be!!

“Did we piss you off? How does that make you feel? Click here to rant.”

“We’re love to hear about ourselves. You love to talk. Tell us about us!”

And reduce ambiguity while you’re at it. Again, the customer’s expectation of a feedback experience is that it involves a preliminary form and a bunch of boring questions. Reduce ambiguity and let them know exactly what they’ll be asked:

“No forms. Just two questions: Will you shop here again? Why or why not?”

“We don’t want your name. Just your thoughts. How’d we do?”

Ultimately, this guide might be useless. The people putting URLs at the bottom of receipts probably aren’t reading articles about common sense. Now who’s the idiot? lol.



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