Ask for Feedback. Don’t Avoid It.

In a new book titled “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well” authors Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen state that the receiver of feedback is in control of what information he or she lets in – regardless of how well it is delivered or how persistent the messenger is.

For example, over the course of the day, people tell Sally that she’s pretty mean, pretty rude, and pretty stupid. As a result, Sally thinks she is ridiculously gorgeous. Perhaps this is an exaggerated example, however, the authors report that our desire to be loved and accepted can easily overpower our desire to improve or change.

So when confronted with constructive feedback, our brains tend to diminish the information by questioning its validity or the integrity of the source – especially if it does not match our self-image. Unfortunately, those natural reactions can hold us back.

The authors suggest practicing “feedback containment,” taking the feedback and sorting out what it means and what it doesn’t mean. If somebody says, “I think your blouse is shocking” it doesn’t mean that you have poor taste. It simply means that something about your wardrobe was unsettling. So rather than get defensive, ask what about your blouse is shocking. You might be surprised and happy to learn that you have lost a button and your bra is showing or that you have baby spit up on your shoulder.

Of course, you might learn that this person simply thinks you have lousy taste, so keep in mind that not all feedback is useful. But even if 10 percent of feedback is helpful, that’s information worth examining.

The same principles could be applied to customer feedback. Unfortunately, not enough businesses seek out feedback from a very important source – their customers. Sure, they hear rave reviews from their loyal customers and tolerate complaints from customers they have disappointed – but the true insight lies within the customers who like the business and return, but might become brand ambassadors if only a few things were changed.

Customer feedback surveys are a useful tool to discover opportunities to create loyal customers from merely satisfied customers. You may think you know why your customers use your service or exactly what appeals most to them, but often a few open ended questions such as “Why do you continue to use our services?” and “What do you like best about our services?” may be an eye-opening moment for you.

You may think they appreciate the extra cheese you put on their sandwich only to learn it’s your quick service and convenient location. UGH! Think of all that cheese you wasted!

Are you ready to find out what your customers truly think about your business and its service delivery? Contact Electrum Branding and find out.