Feedback forms are not the way to develop a relationship

Bob Young Fleet 2014Understanding your operation means spending time at the front line rather than relying on endless feedback forms

I recently read an article about corporate Britain’s obsession with feedback forms. Mark Mason in The Spectator bemoaned this practice whereby every business we engage with follows up with a feedback form in order to claim that it cares about what we have gone through.

I agree with Mason; the idea of sending countless surveys to everyone we deal with seems distasteful. As he mentions, if we need a series of tick-box questions in order to work out what is right and wrong with our service then we are probably in a heap of trouble.

Instead, I have always believed we can pick up the good, bad and ugly of our own operation by being at the front line ourselves and by actually listening to brokers.

Since our launch, we have been under no illusion that parts of our service proposition have gone well and others not so much. Indeed, we have engaged with advisers both directly and through online forums where the comments have sometimes been blunt to say the least.

However, to my mind this can only be of benefit because it tells us where things may not be as they should and where we may need to fix ongoing issues.

I am also a great believer in everyone answering the telephone. As a chief executive, if I am several steps removed from the people we deal with every day, how can I possibly know what is going on? Answering the telephone to brokers is just another way to gauge whether we are heading in the right direction or going up a blind alley.

With all of this in mind, why would we wait until the end of a case and then present a contrived questionnaire to an adviser? Let’s communicate and engage throughout the process; let’s sort things out as and when they come up; and let’s make sure we do not think feedback forms are the best way to get the most out of our professional relationships. They most certainly are not.

Bob Young is chief executive of Fleet Mortgages