Creating a sustainable environment where customers feel comfortable to provide feedback requires a safe and easy way for them to communicate their thoughts.

A recent NHS project we have undertaken involved creating a system for patients to provide feedback for their experiences and to allow them an easy process to pass on their thoughts in the new Friends & Family Test (FFT). Many ways were considered: simple paper questionnaires, completion of postcards or verbal feedback. After many lengthy discussions attempting to change the archaic ways of working of the assembled few it was decided to pursue the use of technology to collate the data required.

The full range of technology was considered and eventually it was decided to use a wide selection to allow for real time collection of data. Laptop cubicles were installed for private completion of on-line questionnaires; i-pads were purchased to allow real time data collection at the point of discharge; ‘old fashioned’ PDAs also allowed for on the spot data collection. Feedback suggested that the use of technology to gather data was totally appropriate for any 21st Century organisation and proved a winner in most cases. The only issue that did arise was one of confidentiality of completed forms and what systems did the organisation have in place to protect both the information and the provider details (although this was not a mandatory requirement to provide).

At the time the usual documentary security precautions were taken and these are considered appropriate, by the organisation, for the data collected, although the provider of the information voiced their opinion of a more secure system. PEAR have searched out, and now work alongside, a company ( that has developed a innovative piece of software that protects documents where ever they may be in the world! It basically works off a process of assigning privileges to the document and this either allows, or not, access to the document. Even if the data is downloaded onto a memory stick and plugged into another device on the other side of the world the documents still cannot be viewed unless the owner allows access.

This is definitely the way forward for protecting our customer’s feedback and personal data. It provides a totally secure and safe environment to gather information and also prevents misuse or protection against mistaken transmission or mislaid memory sticks! This technology also provides a system by which we can protect all our organisations documents and not just data feedback.

Only the reader of this article can decide whether this the way they should be protecting their customer feedback and personal details? All PEAR would offer is that any organisation that has a responsibility to protect information should consider the use of this cutting edge technology.

peter inkpen


Peter Inkpen (along with Terry Pizzey) is the founding partner of PEAR Business & Training Solutions. Very recently they have committed to working alongside ‘Sealpath’ ( to work with organisations to deliver a documentary security strategy as well as a customer focused strategy. Together they are forging forward in the customer data protection arena and would be delighted to offer a free demonstration to any organisation with a passion for both customers and security.

PEAR Business & Training Solutions LLP
Peter Inkpen:
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