While there are no sure bets in life, the chances that your email to a customer asking for feedback is going to be ignored is pretty darn close to it.
Don't believe me? Are you one of those lucky ones whose emails get answered? Well, my friend, you are alone on this one. The rest of us are with this guy on IndieHackers.
Can we do better?
This post would be moot if I didn't believe we can do better. And like my other recent post on hacking Twitter to reach quality relevant audiences, I am willing to run experiments to verify that the strategy I am going to tell you about actually works.
Here's preliminary proof that the suggestion works. I asked someone who was in the middle of changing jobs if they would review some fiction I wrote and give feedback. Most times, such messages disappear into ether (maybe I'm just a terrible writer 🤔) but not this time.
Error-correcting for typos, my friend is saying she'll take a look over the weekend because she's busy with the last few days at her job.
I'll take this response over radio silence ANY day of the week.
So what was the difference?
The trick was to use language which put the other person in the driver's seat. You offered them the chance to fix things for you, smack you upside the head for making silly mistakes, generally be the wise old teacher doling out advice.
So, my advice is simple. Give up the steering wheel to the person you are talking to and let them show you how to do things.
Instead of asking - "Did you like this feature?" ask "What would you have done differently about this feature?"
Instead of asking - "What can I do that better?" ask "How would you have done that better?"
Despite the flippant tone of this post, I believe it gets to a very salient truth about communication which often gets obscured in daily life.
People LOVE the sound of their own voice even if it is on email or text or an upvote or downvote on a Reddit post. Getting people to talk is more than just asking questions. You have to ask questions which invite people to fill in silences.