Naga Chokkanathan

The Curious Case Of Filter Coffee Feedback

Posted on: June 2, 2016

Our office canteen serves fantastic filter coffee, made fresh (by a human being) in front of our eyes. We had to cross many miles (and tolerate horrible machine coffees) in this journey before we reached this destination.


Today, a Beverage Services Company has taken over the coffee section of our canteen, and they are serving filter coffee (and few other beverages, but who cares about them!). It is a free demo, and they are collecting feedback from employees so that they can pitch for a long-term service.

I walked in few minutes back, they asked me for my choice (strong, with milk, without sugar) and served it promptly. I sat at a table and tried to judge its aroma.

Immediately, a feedback form was thrown at me. ‘Sir, can you please share your feedback about the coffee?’

Mistake #1: I haven’t even experienced the coffee yet. Why ask for a feedback NOW? Why not wait for few minutes, till I finish half of the cup at least?

This may sound like a small error. But in reality, it can be a SERIOUS problem: I tried the first few sips of the coffee, it was average, So I gave them a “3” rating (out of 5) and returned the feedback sheet.

Guess what, after few more sips, I actually liked the coffee. I would have given a “5” rating (or at least “4”) if they gave the form little later.

Another example of ‘bad timing’ in feedback: Ola and Uber. They both are collecting immediate feedback after a taxi trip is completed. But, ONLY if you open their app.

Usually, when do people open these apps?

When they have to take a new trip. Right?

So, I take a trip on Monday, Open the app again on Friday, and you are asking me to provide feedback about the Monday Trip? Wierd!

Guess what; I HAVE TO fill a feedback for Monday trip before I book my Friday trip. So I just fill something that comes to my mind and move on. That’s all.

So, Uber and Ola end up getting a lot of feedback, But will it be realistic? I guess not.

Coming back to my filter coffee, the feedback form given was too short (just three questions), but they wasted a full A4 sheet for that, with nothing printed on the back side.

Even those questions were too generic: “Would you recommend our coffee to your office?” and the answers were Yes and No.

Come on, Where is the “maybe” option? That’s what I wanted to select. Many people may not be able to make a decision based on one cup of coffee. In fact, I wrote “maybe” in the sheet and picked it.

I know companies want Yes or No answers. But then, don’t try to put your customers on Black and White buckets. You need to include few shades of gray in between.

Also, when you are serving employees of an IT company, Why not send a Google Forms (or equivalent) feedback link to them (via office admin) so that you can get all the feedback in one place quickly? Why waste paper and manpower? (someone has to consolidate those feedback sheets and calculate the overall feedback, it can take couple of hours)

Of course, I agree that getting the feedback then and there is likely to be much more realistic. In that case, I would expect them to carry tablets, give it to folks for filling it out.

“More” supermarkets have an excellent “Feedback Panel” in the checkout area. After they bill and collect money, they ask you to touch it and provide the feedback. These buttons are in English AND Kannada. Excellent execution:

  • Simple & Quick Feedback form (But, Only one question: in case of checkout experience, it may be okay!)
  • Right form factor (No paper, No Email, No Tablet, Just click a button and you are done)
  • Feedback Linked to the checkout clerk (Supermarket knows who was on the table when you filled the feedback; So it can be linked to an individual’s performance)
  • Right time (They ask for feedback AFTER the checkout process is completed)
  • Immediate update to their database (I assume this is the case, Most likely, all these feedback panels will be talking to a cloud database)

Customer feedback is important. But it needs careful design at every level for it to be realistic and useful.


N. Chokkan …

02 06 2016

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