One of the things I really (yes honestly) appreciate about service industry is there's always a huge scope for breaking the status-quo and improving the business operations - only if one pays true attention to the customers (Yeah they teach you all about Customer Satisfaction/Delight n stuff at college but I am talking about real life). And the best way to listen to customers is to offer them a way to communicate their candid opinion about your service. Thinking about feedback, I remember an elective on Control Theory I studied in my 3rd year of bachelors (O boy! Solving those complex numericals wasn't fun at all:)). Our faculty advocated that there are always two kinds of feedback mechanisms in life (Okay he meant electrical machines but I heard otherwise ;))
Open Ended: When you give an input power to the machine/black box and you get an output which might be in line with your expectations. In our case this scenario would be-You get wowed (or bugged up) by a product (new phone) or a service (restaurant/movie rental) and provide your feedback to the company and thats it. They might act on it-you hope so!
Close Ended: A sensor placed at the output monitors the system output and feeds the data back to a controller/computer which then acts and ensures a pre-defined system throughput with least error. Smart Technique-isn't it? In our case this would amount to the company (Service/Product Provider acknowledging the customers' feedback and then acting on them quickly thus Wowing the Customers even more.
And common sense says that by all means a close ended feedback (though has few overheads) ensures better and consistent quality over a period of time. And now the story (the reason why I am feeling so happy at the moment)...
Once upon a time (17th Sep, 2008 and you thought it was ages ago ;)) I flew with Lufthansa to India and I've said before that this trip was such a nice experience. I was quite impressed by their immaculate customer service on board and friendly crew (spc. the Captain who did talk to few passengers too asking howz everything-service, food etc) and since whenever something impresses me I need to write about it - I wrote them a note expressing my sincere gratitude. Period. And what an amazing company Lufthansa is - these guys acknowledged my feedback right away and sent the following letter in mail. One thing is for sure-this gesture on their part made my evening (Thanks Sabina & team) and I so much wish to book my next air ticket with Lufthansa now. See-getting true customer loyalty isn't rocket science :-D
"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live"