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The Joy of Feedback

Posted on 19 November 2015 by cradmin

By Denise Lones

Asking for feedback.

It’s tough. It really is. Deep down, we really don’t want to hear what people truly think about us. It’s a scary prospect. What if they don’t like us? What if we made a huge mistake with them? What if they think we’re incompetent?

Makes you want to run and hide rather than find out, doesn’t it?

It’s time to stop hiding. As business owners, we must face our clients – and ourselves. We should strive to get as much feedback as possible on a regular basis. I can tell you from experience that it’s difficult only at the beginning. But once you get into the habit of doing it, you discover the incredible value of your clients’ insights.

Everybody looks at you a different way. Everybody has a different perspective. Everybody experiences and processes things differently. And because of this, that old saying is true: You can’t please everybody.

You can’t. Nobody can. It’s impossible. People are too dynamic and unique for one entity to fulfill the expectations of so many. Instead, strive to find the best way to serve the majority of your clients as best you can with your own talents. But in order to do this, you must be diligent in asking for feedback.

So what are the best ways to ask for feedback?

First of all, let’s talk about the approach. How you approach someone can make the difference between them telling you what you want to hear or the truth. One of the best ways to do this is to ask for their advice. Ask them to rate the process, not you. What did they think was frustrating about the selection, buying, installation or overall process? What did they think was rewarding? Then, ask them how the process could be improved.

Now, they’re warmed up. You haven’t discussed you at all yet. You’ve kept the subject on the process, and you’ve gotten them into an advice-giving mood. Next, tell them that you’re interested in improving your services. You want to help make the transaction easier and smoother. The time they invest to rate your services will have a positive end result. People do care about this. Now is the time to ask about how you handled their transaction.

You can do this in person, on the phone or by sending a ‘Rate-My-Services’ document. The last method is excellent if you’re at all nervous about asking them directly. Many of my clients have had great success with this method.

And the beauty of such a document is that it encourages the truth because you can offer your clients the option of sending it back anonymously. Here’s an example of a typical Rate-My-Services document that you can send out to your clients:

RATE MY SERVICE

Dear Client:

I am always striving to improve my service and better understand the needs of my clients. Every client experiences the countertop purchasing process differently based on his or her needs. I would really appreciate your opinion and comments about both my services and the countertop buying/installation process through your eyes. If you could take a brief moment to answer a few questions, it would provide me with invaluable insight.

  1. What part of the process was the most frustrating for you?
  2. What part of the process was the most rewarding for you?
  3. What do you think could have been done for you to make the process easier for you?
  4. What would you recommend I do to improve my services?
  5. If I could add one service to help other clients, what would it be?
  6. What did you like the most about my services?
  7. What did you like the least about my services?

Note that the first three questions are process-focused. We don’t even talk about the company until Question no. 4.

Don’t be afraid of feedback – ever. Whenever somebody gives you a critique, you always remember it. For example, has someone ever critiqued your hairstyle? I bet they have. You always remember that, don’t you? But I’m willing to bet you don’t remember all the compliments people gave you. The negative feedback sticks in your mind.

The people that gave you such negative feedback are often your true friends. When someone can tell you honestly what he or she thinks – even if it’s a negative – then you know you can trust them. It is only by learning what is negative that we can ever hope to be our best selves. Without this knowledge, we’d never know what to change.

When somebody rates your services as a countertop fabricator, it forces you to take a good hard look at the way you do business. Sure, it bites and stings at first. But you’re tough. You can take it.

In my own business, I ask for feedback about everything. And truth be told, I am also unable to please everybody, but in a way, I welcome their unhappiness.

In fact, I’m appreciative when a client takes the time to email me with a negative comment or complaint. When the comment or complaint is constructive and demonstrates what is perceived to be a true deficiency, I thank them. I categorize these people among my greatest allies.

For example, we recently added a lot of new technology to our services. It’s easier now for clients to access information and process orders online. But one client called me and said, “Denise, I hate technology! I don’t want to have to go online to do all this. Why do you have to put your business in a format that I don’t like to use?”

This made me think of ways we could improve this process, and I asked him a magical question: “What would you like?”

My client replied, “I just want to see samples in my own hands with my own eyes and place orders over the phone like I always have. Can you just FedEx me a package, and I’ll give you a call when I decide?”

Ding. Problem solved. Ever since that phone call, I’ve given all my clients the option of going through the longer, hands-on processes.

See the power of feedback? Embrace feedback. Feedback is your friend. Have the guts to ask your clients to rate your services. You will be amazed at the results.

About the Author

Denise Lones, president of the Lones Group Inc., is dedicated to helping people find innovative ways to increase their business and still have a life outside of it. She draws from her professional and personal experiences and believes that the key to business success is all about people, systems and follow-through.

Copyright© 2015, Denise Lones. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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