Monday, September 22, 2008

Consumer Comments

Today at work I was culling my rather large collection of consumer feedback that our company receives via email, searching for complimentary comments about our products that we can post on our site. The messages date back probably about a year and a half, and to be honest, most of them are complaints. Not that our products suck or something... I think it's just that most people aren't ever moved to send companies feedback, and if and when they are, it is because something went wrong rather than for a job well done.

However there are a handful of thoughtful people out there who take the time to tell you when they like what you are doing, and they write for no other reason than to let you know. Naturally it is a pleasure to receive these brief missives. One thing I noticed while working on this little project today is the people who tend to send these sorts of messages are women.

Of course there is no shortage of women who write to complain, but I'll be darned if I came across a single message from a man who wrote simply to say that in his book, we are on the right track. That's not to say men don't write nice things to us about our products -- they do -- but their compliments invariably are in the company of either a complaint or some other question. For instance: "I love your pies, especially your blueberry! But the last 2 or 3 pies were not so good! They seemed to not have as many blueberries as usual, just more saucy filling..." or "I love your crumblettes, they are a great product, but I don't see a recycling symbol on your packaging. Are the packages recyclable?"

Perhaps it's just a matter of statistics. I also noticed that far more of the feedback comes from women, and only a small percentage are straight-up compliments. Because significantly fewer men write to us, perhaps we simply haven't received that compliments-only message that will make up the percentage gap -- at least we haven't received it on my watch.

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