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.

NZ Business - - TECH STUFF - MAT WYLIE IS CEO OF CUS­TOMER RADAR. FOR MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION ABOUT HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIF­FER­ENCE TO YOUR CUS­TOMER'S EX­PE­RI­ENCE AND BOT­TOM LINE GO TO WWW.CUS­TOMER­RADAR.COM

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.

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