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When's the Last Time Vendors Asked for Your Feedback? When's the Last Time Vendors Asked for Your Feedback?

When's the Last Time Vendors Asked for Your Feedback?

by Casey Thompson
Casey Thompson Casey Thompson Web & Digital Media Manager
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Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: Vendors are not doing you a favor.  

There’s a trend in marketing messaging from all kinds of brands (edtech and non) and it goes something like this: “Hi! We’re Bananas Forever. We provide you with the finest artisanal bananas delivered right to your door. Just sign up and wait for your perfect potassium match. It’s that simple.”  

Except it’s not.  

User experience is the name of the game in any customer service situation. Good UX is never set-it-and-forget-it. By its nature, UX relies on one life-sustaining source of inspiration: customer feedback. It’s all well and good to have a great idea for a service, to work hard at bringing it to life—but it’s not effective if you never once ask customers to describe it from their perspective—what can be improved, what’s already working, and what’s just plain confusing. 

Customer feedback is not a one-time ask. Vendors who are truly dedicated to a better user experience will ask for your feedback so often it almost—but not quite—verges on annoying. This isn’t to say that UX feedback is insistent and disruptive, like a pop-up ad that emerges just when an article is getting to the meat of the subject. Rather, the opportunities for giving feedback must be plentiful, respectful, and myriad in their delivery. Some examples may include: 
  • An invitation to join a research panel 
  • A forum where ideas may be shared and voted upon by users 
  • Unobtrusive questions in the software itself 
  • Surveys 
  • Third-party review sites (bonus points if the vendor actually asks you to read them and provide your own story)
  • Conversations with customer support folks, sales reps, UX designers, and more 
These opportunities for meaningful interaction add up to build empathy within the vendor’s organization. Empathy by definition places the mindset into a mode focused on others. In this case, the vendor is focusing hard on what they can do to bring a better user experience to their customers. This shifts them away from the “we” and onto your needs as a customer.  

Why is this perspective shift so important? Well, for starters, we (see that word again?) humans like to think we know best. Like it or not though, vendors and creators have an extremely different perspective than customers do. As creators, it’s easy to believe with a full heart in your product that was created through hard work, vision, and sacrifice. So easy that blind spots pop up. 

Customer feedback obliterates those blind spots. Instead, vendors are hearing directly from their users, who keep them afloat, what they can do better. There’s no denying their feedback or explaining it away. See why subpar vendors might be tempted NOT to ask for customers’ honest feedback? By asking, they’re opening themselves up to the possibility their vision is not the be-all, end-all of solutions.

This will not scare a competent, service-oriented vendor. In fact, this will energize them. The customer feedback they receive is the life blood of their company. The simple truth fueling UX-oriented vendors is that they don’t know best. Their customers do. 

Are your vendors doing you a solid by simply existing on their terms? No, your edtech partners are providing you service and you’re paying a pretty penny. If the conversation is anything other than, “What can we do to serve you better?”, consider this the first sign a new partnership may be your best course of action. 

Follow-up resource: When is it time to call it quits?

Learn 3 red flags for any edtech partnership.


Casey Thompson Casey Thompson Web & Digital Media Manager
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