On the first day of your vacation, as you finish checking in, the hotel clerk hands you a customer-feedback form, smiles and wishes you a pleasant stay.The routine may seem harmless, but according to recent research in consumer marketing, the hotel's management is making an important mistake. By requesting your feedback from the outset, it has lowered the level of satisfaction you're likely to experience and report.That's the conclusion of a study published in May in the Journal of Marketing Research. Participants who expected to evaluate a product or service gave it less favorable ratings in nearly 90% of the roughly 20 studies the authors carried out. After surveying 100 customers at a software-service center, for example, the researchers found that individuals who had not been told that they would be asked for feedback had a mean satisfaction rating of 4.2 out of 5. Customers who had been forewarned were significantly less satisfied, with a mean score of 3.7.It's possible that customers who expected to do an evaluation simply provided more-accurate feedback. But additional studies, incorporating variations in product quality and customers' expectations, suggested such was not the case.