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“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” ~~ Ken Blanchard

The winds of change are always blowing.  Most business owners are too busy delivering products and services to take much notice.  Ignore it long enough, though, and you won’t know what hit you until it is too late.

It is essential to develop a system that solicits and deals with feedback on a regular basis.  There are five main reasons that most small business owners do not engage in this arena.

The biggest reason is a fear of negative feedback.  Humans are wired for approval and have a huge fear of rejection.  It may be hard to believe but all feedback is valuable and constructive.  Often there are side benefits of our service we didn’t expect and do not appreciate without the positive feedback that identifies it.  Once known, we can strengthen and systematize it for greater effect.  The same is true of negative feedback.

Your customers can identify new strategies and products that enhance your current offer, if you ask and listen.  They may have developed workarounds that are unnecessary with training or are worth addressing with redesign.

It is important to listen completely.  You should not ask for comment unless you are willing to accept negative responses.

Another set of reluctance reasons revolve around who to ask, when to ask, how to ask, and so on.  Human resource professionals often employ a 360-degree review that includes supervisors, peers, cross-staff, customers, support personnel, and so on.  As a business owner, consider asking everyone.  That would include customers (of course) as well as vendors, staff, business advisors, and the like.

When to ask is initially tied to touch points in the process.  After initial delivery, for instance, or upon project completion.

It is always advisable to build the feedback loop into your delivery process.  Cleaning companies will often checklist what they accomplished and encourage feedback.  Ideally, the same format is used with every visit.  You can solicit feedback on portions of your process as they occur.  How easy was it to place an order?  How helpful was our sales rep?

One last reservation that holds business owners back is a concern that they do not want to waste anyone’s time.  I submit that this is a cop-out.  If you solicit feedback every time you won’t see 100% response.  Adults will choose to respond or ignore it if they truly are too busy.  Silence is not golden, though, and you should always work for a high response rate.  Simplify the questions, incentivize the response, and value the feedback to raise the rate.

Your action this week is to take three specific actions.  First, examine your sales process and identify feedback points you can use.  Once marked, develop a simple tool (survey, perhaps) and began to gather and track results.  Finally, seek out 360-degree systems in place with your business partners and model their effort as possible.

The underlying key is to incorporate this into daily activity.

© 2011 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

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Written by bniguy

October 16, 2011 at 2:05 am

One Response

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  1. Thanks Steve for posting… great stuff for every business owner large and small!

    appreciatewithcards

    October 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm


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