Twenty-two years ago, when Joanne Chang opened Flour Bakery + Cafe in Boston’s South End, she installed a suggestion box, where she collected handwritten feedback. “I had a big bulletin board where I posted the suggestions and my responses,” she says. Today, the bakery has nine locations and Chang has a higher-tech version of her box: Through a third-party payment platform called LevelUp, a random sample of her customers receive a survey immediately after they’ve paid.
“As much as I cringe” when the comments are negative, she says, “I’m also kind of excited because I get to solve something. I get to figure out what the heck is going on.”
I called Chang to talk about feedback because I’ve felt overwhelmed by requests for it. These past few years, but particularly these past few months, I’ve been inundated with texts and emails and pop-ups from stores and gyms and restaurants asking for stars and smiles and upward-pointing thumbs. Surveys are coming to my phone seconds after I finish a workout, to the table while I’m still eating dessert, to my inbox when I’m still in the parking lot. “Overfishing,” says George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, when I ask him about the surge.Read more at Boston Globe.