Job Market Paper
Academic researchers, as well as industry practitioners, recognize that the voice of the customer is a powerful tool that businesses can leverage to enhance their performance. Thus companies routinely solicit and obtain feedback from a subset of their customers. Whether the feedback then has any effect on the non-solicited customers depends both on whether the company makes organization- level changes, as opposed to responding just to the solicited customers, and whether these changes, if any resonate with those customers. This research seeks to assess the impact of customer feedback on firm learning about dimensions to improve and as a result, understand the spillovers it can cause to non-solicited customers. I conduct a randomized controlled field experiment in Rwanda to study the impact of customer feedback on a sample of small-scale entrepreneurs. I hypothesize that customer feedback could operate through two broad mechanisms - (1) the act of seeking feedback itself could have a direct effect on the customers who were reached out to, or (2) the feedback could cause firms to learn from it and respond by improving the products and experiences they offer, which in-turn could cause spillovers across customers. My study attempts to tease these effects apart.