Business takes feedback in one of two extremes, either they completely dismiss it or they use it as the basis for punitive action for their staff. In being too far on either side, you miss a valuable lesson in feedback. Feedback is the only place where you learn what isn’t working without having to deal with ego or personalities. It’s a rare glimpse into company from someone who has no vested interest in its success. This information is a gold mine, because sometimes owner’s perceptions couldn’t be farther from the truth. These four tips will help you find the value in criticism and how to turn that negative comment into a positive change.
Ignore the delivery and hear the problem
The problem with feedback is that no one likes hearing it and your staff is human, they get offended. When the feedback is negative, they get defensive and that’s normal behavior. The silver lining in feedback is honing the ability to hear the actual problem and zone out the delivery. If a customer explodes because a product was two weeks late, the problem is the delivery time not that the customer is just yelling. It’s hard, I know, but there is always a reason why a customer is upset so that’s what you need to find.
Don’t belittle the problem
Sometimes customers will complain over the most inane things, but even if you think that it’s silly you shouldn’t treat the complaint that way. Most customers are unreasonable because they feel like they are not being listened to or because your organization has shown them the only way to be taken seriously is to be an irate customer. If it’s important enough for them to call about, it’s important enough to affect your future sales.
Build a culture of customer service
Now this seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many businesses don’t deal with their customers after a sale has been
made; even more treat their customers like a problem when there is a complaint involved. No one likes to be ignored, especially when you pay for a service. When a situation is escalating, remind your staff that if the customer is not happy we need to find out why they aren’t happy and how we can make them happy. Stop telling customers what you can’t do and offer them the solutions you are prepared to make right now to help the situation. Put them in the driver seat by saying” I’m sorry, we’re going to do everything we can to fix this right now’.
The best endorsement is how you handled a challenging situation
Many companies shy aware from negative experiences preferring to pretend that they don’t happen; I believe that truly great companies embrace these situations and looked for lessons learned. The most satisfied customer is one who used to be an angry one. The more complaints you can turn into endorsements the higher your quality will go.
Without customers you have no business and that is what should be the bottom line. So like it or not, you need their feedback good, bad or indifferent. Hearing the hard stuff and creating a way to change the problems is what makes you a leader. So get in there and roll your sleeves up!