2 Feb 2018  •  Marketing and Design  •  3min read By  • Les Jones

Feedback Fatigue

A few weeks ago my car went into the garage for some routine work. The work was carried out well, I even had a little video report sent to me by email so that I could see the work that had been done before I picked the car up. And, as an added bonus, the car was cleaned and valeted. Brilliant!

When I picked the car up, I commented to the guy in the service department about how pleased I was with the service. But of course…that wasn’t enough.

Fast forward three days, it’s 7pm in the evening, I’m in the kitchen cooking our evening meal – pots are simmering away and I’m busy preparing a salad. The phone rings – I pick it up and wedge it between my ear and my shoulder.

A very polite lady tells me she’s calling on behalf of the garage to get some feedback on the service I received. Her first question is… ‘how satisfied are you with the overall service you received?’. To which I reply, ‘very satisfied…right up until this moment!’. The lady is taken aback. I carry on… ‘the service was great, but being disturbed at home in the evening while I’m cooking our evening meal has taken the gloss off it, to be honest’. She apologises, but ploughs on regardless and explains that the rest of her questionnaire will take no longer that four or five minutes. I politely decline, but tell her that she can mark me as a five out of five for every question if that helps.


She thanks me for the little time I have given her and signs off by telling me that, shortly, I will receive an email with a few questions so that I can give my feedback on the call I’ve just received!!  Feedback about the feedback call!

I start to wonder where this might end. Will I get a text survey about the email I’m about to get? Then a telephone call about the text? This could be the rest of my life!

Clearly, we live in the feedback society, but is it just me that is getting feedback fatigue?

I was recently sent an email to fill out a feedback form for the airport car park after a recent trip – I drove to the car park, the barrier went up, I parked my car…er…that’s it!

Of course, dentistry is not untouched by all of this feedback fever and there’s no doubt it can be extremely valuable in reassuring a prospective patient as well as satisfying the Friends and Family Test. But there will surely come a time when the methods for gathering feedback will render the results meaningless as well as having a negative impact on the patient experience.

I’d much rather read the personal and spontaneous handwritten comments in the visitors’ book at a practice than the solicited and amalgamated results of an online survey.

Anyway, rant over, thanks for reading, I feel a lot better now.

In a few days’ time you will receive an email questionnaire asking you to provide your feedback on this article. I trust you will do the right thing!

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