The other day, I interviewed one of Casengo’s software developers about what made him tick. I asked him what kind of feedback from beta testers he’s looking for, and his answer struck a chord with me: Jaime wanted to know how Casengo's beta testers actually feel. Feel? Yes: feel. If they feelthat a weight’s been taken off their shoulders, that the steps from point A to point D come easy and logical, then we know we’re on the right track. They don’t necessarily need to provide us with tips on how to improve something; we’re quite happy to hear about their emotional reactions to what’s on the screen, and figure out what the best solution for elevating that mood is.
Yes, I thought, that’s the key! I’d love people to actually do this. I want you to trial our product and tell me what you were trying to achieve when you felt a particular emotion, good or bad. Sure, a satisfaction rating is excellent for benchmarking, and we all need to track service performance over time – but what does a 6, 7, 8 or 10 out of 10 truly tell us? Think about the surveys you distribute, with questions such as: “In regards to your most recent online purchase, please rate our delivery service from 1 to 5, where 5 means highly satisfied”. In regards to my most recent online purchase, I’d rate the delivery a 3 out of 5. Basically I was delighted with the speed of dispatch (I’d give that one 5 out of 5), but I wasn’t impressed that the delivery guy left my parcel at the corner store four doors down because I wasn’t home to accept it (1 out of 5). My parcel was waiting for me all right, but it seemed to be waiting for anyone: other customers could reach it just as easily as I could. That’s it for me; I’m not going to buy anything from this vendor anymore. My trust is gone. Which is too bad, really, because if they knew how I felt, maybe they’d make registered post an option for international orders. If you’re endeavouring to get qualitative feedback from customers, don’t ask for their thoughts on something. Ask for their feelings. Ultimately, each one of us connects, or disconnects, with a brand because of the feelings they give us. By assessing these feelings, you can then probe further to investigate what elements of your product or service contribute to those feelings – and make it even better. And this is just as important in the good times. Without this information even growing companies risk losing customers if they change any of the elements of the product or service that people love.
As a startup company in beta, this information is more crucial than ever. So, bring it on. Trial my product; tell me what you feel. I’m all ears.