Finding the gold in customer feedback
My customers often see my business more clearly than I’m seeing it, offering me feedback, judgements and constructive opinions about what I should do. I’m not going to give examples of their feedback here because I don’t want them to feel singled out… and because I don’t want the feedback to ever stop even though sometimes I receive it like an attack.
Regardless of whether feedback is delivered in the form of a jibe, accusation or excited suggestion, if my mood is askew, if I’m already a little despondent or overwhelmed, the customer can feel like Statler & Waldorf commenting from the stalls in The Muppets (and I’m definitely Kermit the Frog).
But when I’m feeling positive and strong and in control of all the loose ends, I can see that from their position up in the stalls, they aren’t directing the action but can see it all in play. They have the distance to see important things and notice gaps in opportunity. They can feel the overall vibe, offer opinions and be moved to make jokes (mostly kind) about my performance. And at least I’ve created an environment where they feel like that’s ok to do. And so it is. Well done me.
So regardless of how and who throws me the feedback, I have to remember, there’s always some gold hidden in the pile of poo it’s landed in (my mood). I just need to dissolve my mood with the expectation of delight, so I’m willing to search for all that glitters beneath it. And if I can do this, my commentator, my customer, may well become my business’s best friend. When they see that their feedback is received, not with defensiveness and excuses, but with some gold being dug out of it and then thrown into bright shiny action, their efforts and care have been recognised. And out of this experience, they are likely to become the ‘sneezers‘ that all businesses should cherish.
How can a business owner stay open in the face of feedback? Tricky, huh. We all need strategies that will keep us out of the resentment and defensiveness that hides the gold inside the pile of poo. I’m going to have a think to see if I can dig some out for you.