The Best Company Feedback is the Toughest to Hear

by Jeannie Walters

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Feedback is essential to your business.

As an employer, you need to consistently provide feedback to employees to ensure they stay focused, know what their goals are, to recognize them for what they’re doing well and point out what they could be doing better. Customer feedback gives us an advantage in finding ways to prevent little snags in the customer journey from becoming reasons to leave.

The hardest part of my job?

Gathering and then reporting negative feedback to clients about their customer experience is undoubtedly the toughest part of any Customer Experience Investigation™.

Company Feedback

Imagine having to utter some of these awesomely horrific things a client:

  • Your employees are unhappy in their jobs. They feel powerless and frustrated. They reported not getting enough direction or feedback to do their jobs – or even to care enough about them.
  • Your customers have been ignored, having requested the same improvement on the web site or application many times. They don’t understand why you have not made it a priority and your competitor is stealing your customers by delivering on it right now.
  • Your teams are divided. Your marketing group has an adversarial relationship with your sales team. They are essentially working against each other and the customers are paying for it when their expectations aren’t met.
  • You communicate poorly with customers. They aren’t receiving enough useful communication from you, and they’ve reported leaving because of it. They need to hear from you about things that make things better for them– not just your marketing newsletters and ad copy designed to upsell them.
  • You communicate poorly with employees. Your communications within the organization are little more than demands of your employees. Demanding they attend training for training’s sake doesn’t serve anyone.
  • Your website is out-dated or subpar. Your sales associates avoid showing your website to prospects at all costs. It’s, well… embarrassing!
  • You’ve been hiring the wrong people. They possess the necessary skills to get the job done – but not with a focus on the customer.
  • Your social media channels are stagnant. Customers are begging for feedback and you’re not providing them with any good reason to interact.

I could keep going, and the list would get longer and longer…

I’ll just say it like it is. It’s not easy to provide negative company feedback, especially to a client. I had one CEO refuse to hear it. He insisted I had been speaking to the wrong customers. There was another who got so excited about honest company feedback she asked me to hold a training session on customer-centric attitudes to get their people on board right away.

Guess who was able to make significant improvements?

Company Feedback

“To avoid criticism, DO nothing, SAY nothing, and BE nothing.”

– Elbert Hubbard

Negative feedback is as hard to swallow as it is to serve. We’ve all had that sinking feeling that the ugly truth is hanging out like dirty laundry for the world to see. It’s easier to ignore, defend and shield ourselves from it. It’s easier to fall back into that familiar groove and carry on with the status quo.

Be courageous!

Take an honest look. Check your pride at the door and understand that feedback, in all its unsightly glory, allows you to improve proactively instead of waiting passively for your competitors to steal your show, and your customers.

What do you think? Are there organizations and leaders out there who are ignoring the feedback that could help them stand out against the competition?

Image credits: Elvert BarnesDavid Monniaux via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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