Everyone and every business needs feedback, it is part of the life cycle. How else are you meant to grow if you do not know what you are doing wrong or right? If the product you have put out looks grotesque or tastes like cardboard? You could be drastically changing something that is working for the public already, because no one has told you how great your product actually is! What about your employees? Are they satisfied? Disgruntled? Well paid? So many questions, so little answers.
The issue generally is, getting the feedback that causes headaches. From both customers and employees, you must go about it in a way so as all you receive is applicable and actually worth your time. So how does one go about doing that? Here are some tips we have come up with!
1. Use more then one method to gather information
This is certain to ensure you will get what people are actually thinking. Surveys and face-to-face contact are too easily shunned and people may be apprehensive to give their actual thoughts in fear of judgment or being offensive. If you want customer feedback, monitor the online world using web analytic tools and social media. Employees may be more inclined to speak at town hall style meetings or an online portal. This does not mean do away with the classic suggestion/comment box, but expanding your methods means more information and more quality.
2. Ensure Participation
Difficult we know. We have all been guilty of hanging up on telemarketers, or dodging surveyors in the street. A tad hypocritical for us to be asking you to push participation in feedback responding, but oh well! Perhaps if they apply some tricks we would be more inclined? The simplest way is to offer incentives. Give the chance for an employee to be in a raffle for a prize or offer a customer a discount on their next purchase. For employees offer them anonymity for their comments, or ensure that they understand that it is a safe forum for them to do so. This will ensure you will get honest feedback, which is what the goal is.
3. Do your best to not make it anonymous.
This may only be relevant if you are trying to get feedback from your employees, but lately it has been advised that anonymous feedback is almost as useful as none at all according to The Harvard Business Review. Respondents were found to be too transparent, leaving no chances to follow up or leave people accountable. Sure, your workers (or customers) would be apprehensive to give their honest views, but that means you must change the culture of your workplace in order for people to feel comfortable in honestly responding. Putting a name to it can also open the chance to follow-up. Why did they say that? What do they actually mean? Putting a face to a comment can solve these issues.