Why do businesses fail? Sometimes it's bad management or poor execution, but more often it's a simple inability to create a product that people actually want to buy. And how do you know what people want to buy? You ask them, of course.
That sounds simple enough, but in practice, getting high-quality feedback from customers can be tricky. What, after all, does an answer of "three" (on a five-point scale) really tell you when the question is, "How satisfied were you with your experience?" It's better than no feedback at all, but it's unlikely to translate into actionable insights about how to improve your business.
According to a new Medium post from Sean Smith, co-founder of SimpleTiger, there is a single question that can solve your customer feedback woes. It's a trick he picked up from a business that aims to be no less than the happiest place on earth -- yup, Disney.
While on vacation, he reports, he visited a recreation of the tavern from the movie Beauty and the Beast. There he was approached by a clipboard-wielding employee who asked this magical question:
"What was less than extraordinary about your experience here?"
"Pure genius," Smith says of this question. But why is such a simple inquiry so impressive? He dubs it "feedback perfection" for a pair of reasons. First, the answer is almost guaranteed to be specific and actionable rather than vague and impressionistic.
"Had he just said 'How'd you like your experience' I would have simply stated 'It was great' and moved on from there," Smith points out. "This holds an entirely different connotation, to which I replied with an actual constructive answer."
But that isn't the only reason this simple question impressed Smith so much. He also very much liked what it telegraphed about the company's aspirations.
"Not only does it improve your service offering, it shows the expectations of the business as well -- that they want to be absolutely extraordinary in everything they do," he explains. "This made me feel better about where I was. It gave me a certain trust value as well, that I know everything is being done to make me have the absolute best time I can for the money I spent."
Could this question make your customers a little bit happier and your product a little bit better?