Should you use customer feedback forms?

I was talking to a business owner recently about client feedback forms. They have embarked on an exercise where they ask clients to give feedback on the staff member that provides them with the service.

In this scenario, it is the individual staff member who has about 99% of the contact with the client. The feedback is specifically about the staff member, not the company in general.


This entire exercise is fraught with danger and the most likely outcome is to upset the staff member.

At the time of writing this the school exam results have just been released. The poor kid that gets 7 As and one B, will mostly hear about the B. The attention; their attention and their parents attention naturally goes to the B.

Same goes for feedback. The attention will only be on the issues that the staff member scores lower on.

Reliable Source

The other question you have to ask is “is the client a reliable source?”

At best it’s an opinion. Albeit the client’s opinion is important, what they provide in a feedback form and what they actually feel or experience will not necessarily match.

Staff First, Then Clients

This is like the old argument about what came first, the chicken or the egg?

I adhere to the school of thought that prioritises on having happy staff. I don’t believe it is possible to sustain high levels of service if you don’t have happy staff.

There are other schools of thought that say the customer comes first. Although I understand the sentiment, I disagree about its sustainability. It’s not possible to have happy customers for long, if you do not have happy staff. So the priority should always be on happy staff.

While scared staff, intimidated staff and bullied staff will perform for a while, they will not be able to sustain high levels of performance as long as happy staff.

If you want happy customers, then focus on creating happy staff.

If you want higher performance and lower staff turnover, then focus on happy staff. Happy staff can’t help but create happy customers. Happy customers are a natural byproduct of happy staff.

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