Absolute Truth: Getting Feedback, No Matter How Painful It Is
In business, the idea of getting the absolute truth from your customers and your employees is something that we know, deep down, to be essential, but when we take the appropriate steps to get feedback, we do it with our hands over our eyes, peeking through our fingers.
- Well, what if the results are not what you expect them to be?
The truth hurts, and when we are desperate for some tangible information as to how we are doing, we need the cold hard facts, but how can we get valid feedback, and turn something that may very well hurt into something constructive and productive?
Harnessing The Appropriate Methods
Nowadays we’ve got metrics, analytics and every form of CRM that can give data as to how we are progressing in a general way. But these are only best used in the internal proceedings. When we’re trying to get adequate feedback, especially from customers, the ways of gathering opinions from people that buy products is something as old as the hills.
Market research, questionnaires and surveys and any customer satisfaction tool that can give you quantifiable data in which to build or rebuild your business are incredibly useful. But the big mistake so many of us make when we’re working to get feedback from customers is by doing it in such a manner that we are explicitly saying to the customer that we don’t really want negative press. But nowadays, negative press and how we fight it are integral to satisfaction from the customer.
With forums, online platforms, and social media giving customers numerous outlets in which to vent their frustrations about you, by name, by product, or by the person that served them, your business can be dealt blow after blow. But you can work at in proving your business, not just by firefighting this one troublesome customer, but actually getting to the root of why they think ill of your company. Get it right, even through a simple Tweet, and you may get supporters from the unlikeliest of places.
Operate Within An Ethical Standpoint
When we are looking for reasons that our company isn’t as successful as we want it to be, when we are engaging with customers or employees, we have to look at how we stand, not just in terms of the facts and figures, but how we operate from an ethical perspective.
We are now in an age where a business can be demolished in the space of an afternoon if someone makes an ill-advised tweet or posting on social media that is taken the wrong way, or is without any taste, that everything associated with that person goes down the tubes. A very good example recently is Roseanne Barr, and she was integral to the success of her own show, yet the network removed her from it!
Ethics need to be at the forefront of your company ideologies, and if you have issues building company and culture together, the perspective, inside and out, of your business will not be favorable.
It’s not just about catering to the minorities, but it’s about the people you hire that, when it all comes together, operate as one solid entity which effortlessly communicates your ethical standpoints.
The perspective of your business from the outside when you are operating ethically means that you will have more customers that trust in your brand.
Just look at all of the organic products out there, and the customers that swear strict allegiance to certain brands. It’s not just an idea of being ethical for the sake of it; it is good business sense also!
Formulating The Culture Of Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism is vital for anybody to heal and grow. In business, you can get criticism from a customer, and it can hurt. They can tell you what is bad about every aspect of your company, but do not offer solutions. Likewise, employees can feel that they are being attacked when we focus on the negative aspects of a team or person. What does this lead to across the board?
We feel, post-attack, a major sense of negativity in our abilities to do anything. But this is where we have to structure criticism in a constructive way so that we can build upon these mistakes. When it comes to getting feedback from a customer there is one overused question…
If you could change anything about your experience, what would you do, and why?
Well, technically it’s two, but if a customer provides feedback that’s detailed, but constructed in such a way that you can either reach out to them or use their comments as a springboard for good, this is invaluable.
The same goes when looking for feedback from an employee. To get honest feedback that really drills deep into the heart of our failings is incredibly difficult. It requires finesse, and there are numerous tactics that we can take advantage of, from informal meetings, or a one-to-one session where the employee is relaxed enough to feel that they can explain what they really think.
The big problem in getting feedback from employees is that they don’t want to rock the boat. If you really want an honest opinion, you have to encourage it out of them.
The truth may hurt, and it could very well make you stop and think that what you are doing and how you are going about it is completely wrong, but you’ve made it this far, it’s all about the fine tuning now.
The truth hurts. When we get feedback from customers or employees, we have to be prepared for the worst possible opinions. If we go through our business lives thinking that we’re doing a good job, we are probably not.
It’s a particularly awkward scenario, when we have to ask others for their no-holds-barred opinions on every little detail about our business, but whether it’s the customer or employee, treating them both with care, and encouraging constructive criticism means that you will get valid opinions and comments that you will be able to learn from. And this, fundamentally, is the hallmark to any good business, knowing when they need to improve.
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