Have you ever been stalked by British Gas? Had HubSpot ask for your feedback like a needy ex? Or had Intercom or Zendesk or LiveAgent or Amazonor some random website ask you to rate ‘how your enquiry was handled’?

Benjamin P. Taylor
2 min readMay 31, 2023

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Join the discussion on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/antlerboy_amazon-customerservice-customersatisfaction-activity-7069576489825935360-FeUL What’s your best story of being asked for pointless feedback?

Then you’ve experience FEEDBAIT- fake feedback (misleadback) that companies use for a variety of purposes, none of them good:

- to punish or reward #customerservice employees, usually working within a broken system, for how the customer feels about the whole thing

- to manage some internal dashboard for ‘#customersatisfaction’ which will give them metrillusions — if you measure pretendicators you are only seeing your feedback system, not real data

- to manipulate us into giving good feedback — because the human being we talked to has learned to be nice, and disarming, dealing with p*ssed-off customers because the company f*cked up *again* — so we end up thinking ‘oh the company’s not that bad if I slightly enjoyed that interaction

- to programme their new DOSbots (the denial-of-service #chatbots which pop up as yet another layer to prevent you from getting to someone who can fix your problem) with responses that ‘make customers happy’

But never, never to actually learn how to improve the underlying processes and outcomes.

How could they? The question ‘were you happy with our service’ fundamentally conflates two things:

1- did the poor miserable person who answered the phone or the chatbot come across as someone deserving my empathy and perhaps sympathy? Were they basically a nice human being, even though their company prevented them from being competent or able to fix my problem?

2- am I happy with what I’m actually getting from this transaction, and from the fact I needed to contact the company at all?

The problem with seeking feedfake is you never know which one you are getting an answer to — and so the whole purpose of feedback is broken. There’s no opportunity for improvement, so you just whip the customer services agents some more until fauxback improves.

The answer, of course, is to measure what you want to measure.

If you want to know if the agent tried hard and was nice, ask that.

If you want to know if my problem was really fixed, ASK THAT.

And if you want to know what I’d like to be different next time… I have some ideas for you!

What’s your best story of being asked for pointless feedback?

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