Opinion

Brands must stop pestering us for ‘feedback’ – it’s irritating, worthless and buys no loyalty

Data collection masquerading as customer feedback does nothing but irritate and antagonise and leads to a sub-standard experience, argues Bob Hoffman.

We can’t do anything these days without someone annoying the shit out of us for feedback.

Buy a cell phone? Pretty soon you’ll get an email inquiring about your buying experience. Visit the doctor? In a few days the ceo of the “system” will be asking you to rate your visit. Take a flight? You’ll get some free miles if you just complete the survey.

Every morning I go to a coffee shop called Peet’s. Every morning they ask me if I have their app. Every morning I say no. Every morning they tell me I should download the app because I can accumulate points and get a free cup of coffee. Every morning I tell them that if I wanted a free cup of coffee I would stay the fuck home and make it myself.

The whole business of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has evolved into not much more than a contest for who can collect the most data by constantly pestering the hell out of us.

It might be acceptable if these people were actually doing something useful with their data. But they’re not. The amount of time, energy, and money they are spending irritating us with data collection schemes disguised as feedback inquiries is way out of proportion to the actual application of this data to anything of value.

A recent article in Marketing Week was headlined “Customer Experience Investment Fails To Pay Off As Performance Hits All-Time Low”

The article says

KPMG Nunwood’s annual Customer Experience Excellence study shows that rather than improving, the overall performance score for British brands has hit the lowest level in the eight-year history of the report

In other words, the more feedback they are getting from us, the worse they are performing. One of the executives at the company that did the research said…

“…part of the issue is that organisations are not structured to think effectively about the customer…”

I don’t know what that bullshit means, but here’s what I do know. Most companies are living in a fantasy world in which they think that if they engage (i.e: bother) us enough they can get us to “love” their brand.

Consumers, on the other hand, mostly don’t give a good flying shit about their brand. They want a cup of coffee and they want it now. And they don’t want to stand in line while the barista wastes everybody’s time trying to peddle a useless app to every bleary-eyed bastard who’s late for the bus.

If companies would stop wasting their time implementing their marketing department’s idiotic ideas about brand engagement and just provide better service, maybe customer satisfaction wouldn’t be at an all-time low.

This means they need to forget the juvenile delusion that we are all in love with brands. They need to stop trying to get us to love them by annoying the living shit out of us with emails, apps, social media contrivances, idiotic “content” and other engagement gimmicks that cost them a fortune and buy them not an ounce of loyalty.

Here’s the thing Ms Marketer – most of you are collecting data to “better understand” your customer. This is just code for sending us more useless, annoying crap. It is a colossal waste of your time, money and energy. And, as the research indicates, it has had the exact opposite of its intended effect.

The only value in data is if you actually do something useful with it. Annoying us with a relentless torrent of horseshit is the antithesis of useful.

 

Bob Hoffman has been the CEO of two independent agencies and is the author of the Ad Contrarian blog

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