Monday, 26 May 2014

How Costa prompts feedback

Having a post-gym breakfast at my local Costa last week, I saw a poster asking for customer feedback which went beyond the ordinary.

One difficulty, when asking for any kind of feedback, is to prompt people to think without pre-disposing them in any particular direction. Another is to get them to give positive feedback, instead of only giving feedback when they've a complaint to make! What Costa have done - as part of the poster design, not the overt message - is to provide a set of stems, so that they tacitly suggest ways you might start your feedback while leaving the actual feedback up to you.

The stems include: "We found ...", "We were ...", "I wish ...", "Glad to see ...", "Thank you for ...", "Hope it ...", "I really felt ...", "Could you ...", "Really enjoyed ...".

This reminded me of Andrew Ravenscroft's Academic Talk / InterLoc project, which experimented with an online discussion interface which forced students to contribute to the discussion using one of a limited set of stems. (For example: “I think that…”, “I disagree because…”, “Is there any evidence that…”, “Why do you think that…”.) Interestingly, students found the constraint of their responses didn't inhibit them but actually enabled them to engage in more and deeper discussion.

I like Costa, so I hope the poster works just as well for them. My own feedback: great graphic design, and a model of customer engagement!

Simon McAlister, Andrew Ravenscroft, Eileen Scanlon, “Combining interaction and context design to support collaborative argumentation using a tool for synchronous CMC”, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20 (2004), pp 194-204.

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