Tag Archives: Connecting Communities

9 Deadly Mistakes When Handling Community Feedback


In this connected world, Community Feedback is growing in importance, and thought must be put into the time and effort required to manage it effectively in order to get the desired result.

With more than 25 years’ experience managing Environmental and Community data for large enterprises and all levels of Government, we’ve seen the same mistakes made time and time again, and lessons learned the hard way.

Below we list the 9 deadly mistakes that prompted SRA to develop the latest technology solution in Community Engagement, and how you can avoid making these mistakes yourself.

1 – Terrible contact forms…
How does someone actually submit feedback to your organisation?  Most still use a single contact form on their website which unfortunately offers nothing in the way of information about lodging feedback.  Will they hear back?  How soon?  Could they be directed to information to self-serve their request?  Can they use their mobile devices? Can they attach files or pictures?

2 – Single point of failure…
Once something is submitted, where does it go?  Many organisations still rely on a single person or shared inbox to catch all feedback including sales leads, complaints, and requests for information etc.  If it’s all on one person, how do you know that someone has seen the complaint amongst the clutter?  What happens when the responsible person is away?  Some organisations even have obligations or regulatory requirements to follow up on feedback within a certain time frame, so a single point of failure just doesn’t cut it anymore.

3 – Categories anyone..?
Too often we see organisations blanket all feedback with a single category (contact) or create complex categories (compliment, complaint, feedback request, quote, enquiry etc). Different feedback requires different follow-up so a clear decision needs to be made here. Complaints usually have a policy or operating procedure to be followed by the relevant party or team, requests for information will need to be directed to the correct area.  You can’t expect your community to know exactly how to navigate your organisation and almost everyone makes it difficult to find the right area in the right time.

4 – Are you using Spreadsheets..?
Spreadsheets are the world’s best system for collecting anything and the world’s worst system for doing anything with it.  Almost everyone we speak with in Government or Enterprise is required to keep a register.  Most end up in a spreadsheet which is controlled (or not) by the last update.  Save, Save As, Which Version of MS Office, Macros, “this file is locked for editing”, v1/2/3/4/5 etc.  Need we say more?

Step away from spreadsheets – C3 is your cloud-based community feedback solution

5 – Where do you store the information..?
As if the spreadsheet wasn’t bad enough, where do you store it?  Who has access?  What sort of access?  Is it on an individual PC, a file server, a hard drive, the cloud – which cloud? Is there a password?  Who saved it last?  Is it corrupted?  Which version is current?

6 – Reporting..?
Even if we assume you have solved the concerns with collecting feedback, categorising it, getting it to the right person and storing it – how do you report on feedback?  Most people we speak with need to create a report, at least annually, to meet Community Social Responsibility requirements, but many need to provide management with quarterly, monthly or even weekly snapshots of feedback.  This creates issues if you can’t trust the information or don’t have access to all of it in one place.  Worst case, you just select your data in a spreadsheet and insert a chart hoping no-one asks any questions.

7 – Do you reply to everyone that provides feedback…?
We still hear horror stories from people who don’t even receive acknowledgement of their feedback.  One of the above mistakes has broken the process and is actively hurting your reputation.  It’s rare that this is intentional as most of the time we just didn’t know someone wanted feedback or we didn’t know what feedback to give.  If you don’t have a process, this mistake can really damage your brand.

8 – Efficiency, productivity, responsiveness, pro-active..?
Let’s face it, in today’s world we are all being asked to do more with less.  If you can’t measure the effort being used to handle community feedback within your organisation then you can’t improve it.  If you do start to measure these activities, you start to see trends and potentially opportunities to streamline, simplify or even get on the front foot and be pro-active.

9 – Do you even keep a register?
Sounds like a no-brainer, but when SRA started the journey of developing a Community Engagement System, it was after feedback from some very large organisations stating they needed a starting point. Simply “winging-it” doesn’t cut it anymore and is often the catalyst for all 8 of the previous mistakes.

There is no SILVER BULLET software solution to mitigate the above mistakes. So SRA developed a software platform to support and compliment your feedback management and workflow, allowing staff to focus on what’s important – actioning feedback in concert you’re your community. 

Never forget the human element in community engagement, and let C3 take care of the mechanics with complete repeatability, auditability, measurability and efficiency.