Time to ditch your fear of feedback
TO RUN A CUSTOMER- CENTRIC BUSINESS, MAT WYLIE SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO FACE YOUR FEAR OF NEGATIVE FEEDBACK.
OPENING THE DOOR to feedback can seem a bit daunting to some people. I think everyone’s a little bit scared of asking what their customers think just in case what they get back is all bad.
But why are businesses so scared of knowing how their customers experience the business?
Naturally, people avoid feedback because they hate being criticised. This aversion traces back to deep psychological foundations, where our self-preservationist instinct drives us to avoid experiencing harm or social humiliation.
Not only that; studies have shown that our minds perceive one piece of negative feedback with the same degree of importance as five pieces of positive feedback. So it’s easy to dwell on the negatives, and forget the positives.
Because we tend to remember the negatives, we often assume the worst, and just avoid the process of getting feedback altogether. We fear we won’t have the resource to deal with a complaint properly, we might find something out about our business we don’t want to know, or we might come face-to-face with an irate customer again.
However, to be truly customercentric, you’ve got to face your fear of feedback.
THANKFULLY, IT’S NOT ALL BAD
Let’s face it – your business must be doing something right. Today’s marketplace is too competitive and value-driven for businesses who provide no value to survive. So I don’t find it that surprising that most of our clients who are truly customer-centric find the majority of their customers are really happy when they ask for feedback – even if it’s a surprise to our clients!
Being able to understand what your customers love about your business is one of the greatest benefits of gathering instant, validated feedback. Many of our clients who were initially terrified to ask for feedback have now found a renewed sense of confidence in their business’s performance.
Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.
FEEDBACK IS KEY TO IMPROVING YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Though positive feedback occurs much more than we expect, there will inevitably still be a degree of negative feedback. Even the best businesses in the world receive criticism. What’s great is that our most unhappy customers are our greatest source of learning. They provide an opportunity to make business improvements, and increase customer retention.
Research from TARP found that for every one customer who complains, 26 will not – that’s a big proportion of customers quietly walking away, with no chance for you to address their concerns.
Gathering instant, actionable feedback is the best way to fix someone’s experience and make customer-centric, continuous improvement a central pillar of your business to avoid people walking away in the future.
YOUR EMPLOYEES WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT
Getting customer praise is a real boost. Gathering positive feedback helps to increase employees’ morale, while negative or constructive feedback provides a path to improving service.
Seeking out feedback proactively means that your business gets the full picture – validated, reliable data, rather than just outliers which bubble to the surface.
Employees become more engaged, and feel more accountable when they know their service is getting feedback. Some of our clients have even gamified this, rewarding employees who get improved feedback, or turning it into a competition between different branches of a store.
Your business can’t afford for feedback to sit at the bottom of your priority list. It’s an enabler of continuous improvement, a proven gateway to more engaged customers and happier employees, and ultimately the path to a better performing business.