Man walks upright. Man learns to make fire. Man complains about how a business treats him.

On display at the British Museum sits a tablet made of clay. The tablet, which comes from Mesopotamia and dates back to 1750 BCE is about 4.6 inches tall and 2 inches wide. And although the tablet is slightly damaged it is in otherwise good condition. So what ancient secrets can we decipher from this rare artifact that has existed for almost 3800 years? What ancient stories from long ago does it reveal?

Actually, it’s a customer complaint tablet! That’s right, the very first of its kind, the original Yelp. This publicly written complaint by Nanni is about a merchant named Ea-nasir over a purchase of copper he had made. Nanni goes on to describe the substandard quality of the copper and his unhappiness with the way his servants were treated by the merchant.

So why is feedback so essential to us as humans that even 3,800 years ago people were chiseling out their frustrations on stone tablets? Sure, people want to be heard. But something else is going on as well. Feedback creates a relationship between a customer and a business. The customer giving the feedback and the business receiving it connect over a shared experience, be it good or bad.

In this day and age, with so many prevalent public forums like Yelp and Trip Advisor, Twitter and Facebook, feedback is seen as negative entirely because it can do so much damage to a business. In fact, the word “feedback” itself has been corrupted and its meaning blurred. But feedback for any business is actually a gift. It represents a customer opting to take time out of their life to comment on the engagement they had with your product and/or your services. Not only are there great learnings in each piece of information but in its truest sense it is the beginning of a relationship built on honest communication, trust and a desire to improve.

So why are we still collecting feedback on public sites where fraudulent reviews run rampant? Why is the relationship between the giver and the receiver open to the masses who have no connection to this shared experience? Isn’t it time for feedback to evolve as man has? Bringing feedback into a private realm, which reestablishes that relationship built on an honest exchange of trust and information, where the giver has no axe-to-grind or soapbox from which to inflict significant damage on the receiver. With the goal in mind of giving feedback in this way as one that can help move both parties to an amicable resolution.

95% of all customers who voice criticism of a business are looking for just a few simple outcomes. They want:

  • To be heard
  • To be believed
  • Some type of fair settlement
  • Their complaint to be settled easily and quickly

 If those 4 things are accomplished, a business has a 95% chance of seeing that customer return. Pretty simple, right? But if the information isn’t being collected in an efficient and effective way, the feedback cannot successfully nurture the ideal customer ­business relationship.

That’s why Tattle is fighting to bring digital customer feedback into the private realm where relationships can be built, retention can be increased and the truest form of the feedback relationship can be strengthened.

 Now if only Ea-nasir had a way to reach back out to Nanni….

Alexander Pavone