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Newsletter #844: The “Get Great Feedback” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

One of the best ways to make better products and deliver better services is to get honest opinions of them. But getting great feedback requires more than putting up a comment box. How some great brands are doing it:

1. With product roasts
2. With billboards
3. With bacon
4. Check it out: Doodle.ly

1. With product roasts

Giving feedback can sometimes be just as hard as receiving it — especially when it’s feedback on the work of your friends and co-workers. At 37signals, they’ve been able to overcome this hesitation with a product roast. At their employee get-together, everyone takes turns getting up in front of their peers to take jabs at quirks and errors in the company’s products. Bugs they hadn’t got around to fixing because customers hadn’t complained yet suddenly stand out as multiple people bring them up. Instead of feeling bad about pointing out flaws, this goofy roast helps it become part of everyone’s job.

The lesson: Few people know a product as well as those that work on them every day. Your job is to make it easy and inviting for them to point out what’s broken — before a customer does.

Learn more: 37signals

2. With billboards

You get better feedback when your reviewers know you’re listening to the good, the bad, and the oh-man-this-is-awful reviews. Domino’s is becoming known for their commitment to seeking open and honest customer feedback. So much so, they’re streaming unfiltered comments across their Times Square billboard. Each customer whose feedback is featured also gets sent a video of it scrolling across the billboard. It’s a concept that works on multiple levels: Customers are more likely to give honest feedback (because Domino’s is clearly listening regardless of the sentiment), and the billboard becomes much more interesting for everyone who sees it.

The lesson: Only honest, genuine reviews from real customers can help you make better products and earn the trust and respect of potential customers.

Learn more: Mashable

3. With bacon

Loyal fans love the opportunity to sample new products, be beta testers, and give you feedback — especially if it involves bacon. Look to sandwich shop Potbelly for an example of how to do this. They recently emailed customers inviting them to a bacon taste test. They kept it simple for participants — just a few minutes, plenty of bacon, and a sandwich voucher for their time — but everyone who got the email forwarded it on to a few friends. All these fans were talking about the event (and that Potbelly had some new bacon), and all for something that most marketers would have quietly done with a focus group.

The lesson: If you get fans involved in the process, the testing and trial periods can be a fantastic opportunity to get people talking about the great new things you’re doing.

4. Check it out: Doodle.ly

Described as the Twitter of simple drawings, at Doodle.ly anyone can create a sketch and share it with the world.

Learn more: Doodle.ly

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