Comment cards are a common tool for getting customers to tell you what's on their mind, but they're far from perfect. There are a few ways to improve them, but not all issues can be solved by using comment cards alone.
1. They Don't Fix The Problem for This Customer
Comment cards allow you to discover problems to fix, whether the problem is with the facility (cleanliness, comfort), service (wait times, staff politeness), or product quality. Once fixed, future patrons will have a better experience. But for the customer that wrote it, the experience and first impression were flawed. It's too late for them, especially if you're waiting until shift change to read cards.
In short, comment cards fix the future, not the present.
2. They Are Often Out of Sight
If your comment cards are in a kiosk next to the salad bar, condiment stand, or hostess station, it's most likely your customer won't see them, and therefore won't use them. Out of sight, out of mind means that the customer will leave, taking their opinions with them, and off to Yelp, Facebook or wherever they prefer to complain. The real insult is if they are sitting in your establishment writing that bad review from their smartphone.
3. Every Step To Completing a Card Will Lead to Fewer Submissions
At each step in filling out a card, people will fail to go to the next step. So for each step or hindrance along the way will result in a severe drop-off in numbers of cards you will receive.
Here are few spots along the process where customers will just give up:
- Finding the card. If it's not on the table or with the guest check, it will likely be missed.
- Length of card. The longer the card and more involved it is, the less likely you'll ever get it.
- Too much work. Filling in a card, complete with essay question at the end, is not at all enjoyable.
- Not worth the effort. If it's a small bit of feedback, such as "liked the tater tots", it's not worth the effort. It's only worth the effort when the experience was terrible or magnificent, not in-between. No one fills in a card for "meh".
- Suggesting the customer enter their name, phone number, email, or address. A lot of people don't want to give their name and contact info. They want to remain anonymous. They just want to drop in their opinion and be on their way.
Most will not enter their contact info because they don't want to get a phone call or end up on your mailing list.
- Requiring the customer to mail it. The comment card pictured at the top of this post required the customer to place a stamp on it and mail it. What? Why not let the customer use business reply mail, and save them a stamp?
4. Not Allowing the Customer to Be Anonymous Will Lead to Fewer Responses
Like I mentioned above, some folks will not give you their address because either they want to be anonymous or they are afraid you'll send them junk mail. Requiring their name and address will lead to the customer scrapping the card.
5. Anonymous Comments Don't Let You Contact the Customer to Fix The Issue
If the customer is anonymous, you have no way to respond and assure them you will fix the situation, therefore no way to fix the relationship with that customer.
A Better Way
You can dump comment cards and use our awesome solution, which actually makes commenting fun, quick and easy, as well as anonymous (but with the ability to respond).