Customer Feedback Lessons

4 Lessons in Customer Feedback from the Philadelphia Tragedy

CloudCherry | Featured | May 15, 2015


4 Lessons In Customer Feedback From The Philadelphia Tragedy


Amtrak, the public railroad company in the US, is going through difficult times due to the recent tragic accident in Philadelphia. The entire attention of international media is on this incident and they are going through a really difficult phase.

Customer Feedback – Not A Ubiquitous Routine.


Striving to ensure that customers have a memorable customer experience with your brand is one thing. But, there is a line that one needs to draw between when one can ask customers for feedback and when one cannot.

After a tragedy of this magnitude, and that too an incident which has no precedent in the last 5 decades, the entire public and especially the customers are in a state of shock. Grief, trauma, fear and shock are largely the emotions that revolve around the company at this point, albeit temporal.

Whatever one has to say at this point is quite likely to be subjective and based on this incident. Not just that, people who have no idea of what this company is, frame perceptions about the company because of this one rare incident.

With all odds against the company, it isn’t the best of ideas to send customer feedback forms, especially on the day of the tragedy. Safely assuming that nobody did it deliberately, we are left with no choice but to believe that the process of feedback collection was automated with little or no control on it.

As we know, it backfired pretty badly with people across the world taking on to social networking sites to register their frustration.

Here are some lessons to learn on customer feedback collection based on this incident:


1. Customer Feedback collection is a tactical exercise


Collating customer feedback isn’t a rigour that is done mechanically. It is a process that is highly tactical, with the core aim of improving customer experience management, and its execution changes depending on several factors.


2. Timing is key


If there’s one key thing that you need to focus on to get customer data, it is the timing. Only then can think and answer leisurely, and give valuable feedback that could benefit you. Anytime isn’t definitely a good time to collect feedback.



3. Actionable Customer Insight is the goal


The ultimate purpose of customer feedback is deriving insights that is actionable. The quality of your data needs to be good for this to happen. When emotion blinds logic, insight gets either missing or totally wrong.


4. Know when to stop asking for feedback


In a rare event such as this one, the first thing the company needs to do is stop collecting feedback. Empathy is key to customer delight. It could be perceived as sarcasm when you ask someone ‘How did you like your ride?’ when they have lost their near and dear ones or have hurt themselves real bad in the accident.

Let us hope brands keep these factors in mind before implementing a customer feedback system. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragedy.