You Only Get Better With Feedback

Unless somebody tells you what you're doing right and wrong, you're going to have a tough time deciding what to do more and what to stop doing altogether.

learn more about Karen Mishra

By Karen Mishra • Dec 6, 2016

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When is the last time you asked your customers for feedback? Did you encourage open and honest feedback? Did you find a way to thank them for their honest opinions?

When you do ask for feedback, do you take it seriously and make changes, as a result of what you learn?

1. Have a way for customers to give feedback.

I love buying groceries online from Harris Teeter, but I really wish they would provide a link to a survey each time I shop. Most of the time, they are doing a great job, but every once in awhile, I need to provide feedback and I don't want to call the store number and get transferred three times until I get the right person. They already confirm my shopping via email, so it would be quite easy to send a link to a survey along, too. Make a way for customers to tell you what they think.

Related: Five Steps for Giving Productive Feedback

2. Don't seek feedback if you won't use it.

Too many companies ask for feedback from clients and then never use it. You may not agree with everything your customers tell you, but if you are going to spend their time asking, make sure you show them you are using it. It could be something as simple as an email thank you, or a sign in the store, mentioning that customers drove a change in your products or services. It shows that you are willing to listen, learn, and adjust.

3. Make asking for feedback a regular thing.

If you don't normally ask for feedback, your customers might not trust that you are serious. Find ways to continually ask and provide space for customers to share their opinions and insights with you. It could be as simple as including a comment card in their bag, or emailing a survey (since so many companies ask for an email address these days). Do something useful with that email, instead of bombarding customers with useless promotion. Make a regular practice of asking how things are going.

Related: Stop Avoiding It: 4 Tips for Delivering Tough Feedback

Two Men and a Truck, International asks for feedback on every single move. This information goes directly to headquarters who thank movers publicly as a result of positive feedback. Their 96 percent referral rate reinforces in a positive way how feedback can help grow a business.

4. Don't forget feedback from your employees.

Employees see what works with customers and what might need to change. If it is not easy to get client feedback, check in with your employees and ask them how things are working with your customers. They are the frontline with your customers and probably hear more about what should change than you might. Use your employees as a positive resource to make changes that will surprise and delight your customers.

Related: 4 Ways to Get Truly Honest Feedback From Employees

It is hard for all of us to receive feedback, but if it comes in the spirit of making a product or service better, then it ends up being a win/win for everyone.

Karen Mishra

Marketing Consultant

Karen Mishra teaches marketing at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She also runs a leadership and marketing consulting firm, Total Trust, in Durham, N.C.

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