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Humane and Effective Ways for Collecting Feedback

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This blogpost will probably change your mind if:

  • you think ratings matter while collecting feedback
  • feedback you gather isn’t based on dynamic parameters
  • your system doesn’t incentivize users giving honest and thoughtful feedback

Disclaimer: This blogpost is oriented towards systems providing services catered to a huge audience through various service providers. (e.g. Go-Jek, Amazon, Uber, etc.) The principles maybe applied to other systems as well.

Feedback is information about how a system is doing in its efforts to reach a long-term goal. A system would like to know what users want continued; stopped or improved. Keeping this in mind, lets explore what is wrong with the current feedback scenario, how to take better feedback and why incentivize users giving thoughtful feedback.

I will be taking an example of a ride hailing service. A driver is a service provider. The system under study offers its service to any user via a driver. A booking is an instance of the service provided to a user.

Major Problems with feedback collection:

I see 3 major problems with the current feedback system:

  1. Ratings don’t signify anything. They end up creating unnececesary stress amongst drivers, which in turn makes for a bad experience for users. Online product ratings average about 4.3 out of 5 stars all together, says PowerReviews, which runs ratings for more than 1,000 online shops. 1 For example, when I scored 35 off 50 in an examination, it doesn’t point to the root cause of the problem. There could be multiple reasons: I made a silly mistake; the time provided wasn’t sufficient; I hadn’t studied some concepts; some questions were very difficult for my understanding of the concept, etc. There is some problem if I score 35 marks on average across hundreds of examinations, but the root cause of the problem cannot be found merely with numbers.

  2. It is common knowledge that drivers' earnings are affected because of lower ratings on their feedback. Users give positive feedback even on bad experiences simply out of sympathy for the driver. A major cause for this sympathy is constant nagging of drivers to give positive feedback.

  3. Users do not revisit a platform immediately after completion of a booking. Some systems make it mandatory for the user to provide feedback for every booking. It is better to collect no data than end up getting inaccurate data.

How to take better feedback?

Here are some suggestions which might directly impact the quality of feedback a system gathers:

  • Keep the feedback parameters dynamic. I will take example of an alarm clock. Every morning I hit snooze/dismiss button almost involuntarily because I know where the button on my alarm clock is and I don’t put a lot of thought at that point of time. Don’t let users give valuable feedback involuntarily.

  • Let the users make as less decisions as possible when requested for feedback. I suggest 3 buttons. One indicates positive feedback, another negative. Upon clicking the negative button, request for further pre-defined standard tags to know reason of bad experience. The third button is dynamic; which is customized based on time, price, area and driver. For example, we can gather feedback for navigation in certain areas, route selection of ride during rush hours, rash drivings feedback for certain drivers, etc. This helps in finding the root cause of a problem.

  • Timing is important. Know when most honest and valid feedback can be obtained. For a taxi ride, a user can be requested for feedback if he/she revisits the platform immediately after the booking. For food deliveries, wait atleast for 12 hours so the user knows nothing’s wrong with his/her tummy before giving feedback. For non-consumable deliveries, wait for 1 month until the user finds out the durability of the product after decent amount of usage. When users doesn’t revisit the platform for a considerable amount of time, never prompt for feedback. This will solve the 3rd problem. If they want to give feedback, they can always visit the bookings history page and give feedback.

  • Communicate problem to the user if it is known beforehand. Delay in fulfillment of service due to bad weather, traffic, etc. if communicated to the user on the feedback screen will likely result in more accurate data. This combined with dynamic parameterization of feedback can probably solve the first two problems.

  • Text box is one of the most important part of a feedback screen. Users going out of their way to give different feedback provide useful information. What’s interesting is frequent comments can be turned into buttons!

Incentivizing users

Feedback refers to the past, or at best, to the present. Wouldn’t it be awesome if users shape the future of business? Identify users who are consistently giving accurate feedback; and take the pain of giving critical comments. Request these users for a detailed survey and incentivize them. This is very important. If a system has 1 million+ users, it should utilize extensive surveys to their advantage. On the plus side, users treating a platform with sincerity will stay delighted.


To sum it up:

  • Focus on relevant data while collecting feedback
  • Keep the process of giving feedback non-mechanical and dynamic
  • Put users in the driver seat of the system

After all, every system survives based solely on the loyalty of its users. When the users believe they are part of the system, loyalty grows.

I hope this blog was helpful 😀. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. You can reach out to me on email: akshat.iitj⚽gmail.com