Permission to Yap Cuts Both Ways

When a customer gives you permission to market, you probably don’t waste much time.

Many sites have invested in the technology to get that outbound marketing targeted and firing with minimum delay.

But what about giving your customers permission to talk to you as well? Relationships don’t do too well when communications flow only one way.

You expect to be able to send all those promotional emails into their inboxes. How about giving them the opportunity to talk back?

I’m not talking about live chat.

I’m not talking about knowledgebase-driven automated email systems.

And I’m not talking about toll-free call centers.

This is all stuff to make, save or grow sales today. It’s the CRM thing.

I’m talking about giving your visitors permission to yap at you.

Open their hearts. Vent their anger. Express their frustrations.

There used to be a great page at the site that offered visitors a number of ways to channel their feedback. Some feedback was related to specific events-like ordering a product. And then they gave two choices for general feedback. General feedback that required a response. And general feedback that required no response.

I loved that last one.

No response required. But an implicit permission to yap.

Pity they changed the page and dumped that option.

Because sometimes, in any relationships, it’s nice to be able to get one’s feeling out in the open.

It’s a bit like the camel-driver’s coat.

Maybe this is just an apocryphal story. But I was told once that camels have a short temper. To allow the camel to vent its anger, the camel-driver would, from time to time, take off his coat and throw it to the camel’s feet. The camel would then stomp on and tear at the jacket until it was reduced to shreds.

Thereby clearing the air between the camel and its driver.

Whether this actually happens or not, you get the idea.

I think it’s a great idea to have this “no-response- required” feedback option available on your site. (And if anyone from would like to let me know why this option was removed, I’d love to hear about it.)

What should you do with all the feedback that is sent your way? Read it. Get a sense of what your customers are feeling.

Watch for patterns and threads.

True, no response is required. But within that context, you might find that people tell you more. If they feel that nobody is going to hold them accountable for what they write, they may well be more open with their opinions.

Read all that feedback carefully and you may discover things about your site that need changing. Important things.

Feedback is fundamental to the way the web works.

So it makes sense to facilitate it and encourage it. Give your visitors permission to yap back. And listen carefully to what they say.

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