By Matthew Collis for AGBeat
Many business professionals underestimate the importance of feedback and the value that it can bring to their business.
No one likes receiving criticism, but feedback, both the positive and negative variety, can teach us a whole lot. It often serves to bring us more in-tune with our business and better understand what our clients perceive, feel and expect.
Positive feedback frequently confirms that what you’re doing is working and can be a great indicator that you’re building loyalty with clients.
Conversely, negative feedback lets you know what’s not working and gives you the opportunity to make changes and improvements that will ultimately benefit both you and your clients. As author Jack Canfield states in his book, “The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are to Where You Want To Be” “To reach your goals more quickly, you need to welcome, receive and embrace all the feedback that comes your way.”
Why negative feedback should be welcomed
Small business owners often avoid seeking feedback because they undervalue its importance to their business or they’re afraid of what they may hear. If you can relate, it’s essential to take a step back, change your mindset and realize that negative feedback is something that should be welcomed and appreciated. In fact, you should ask for feedback every time you have an opportunity to do so.
When you do receive feedback, make sure you have a system in place to organize and manage the data. An industry-specific CRM is key in this regard.
One great idea to better understand what clients think of you and learn how to improve is to conduct a reputation survey.
Many times, clients perceive you and your business in a completely different way than how you perceive it and how you think they perceive it.
You can conduct a reputation survey in a number of ways. The first is an informal approach and involves casually asking your clients for their opinion of your services during your next face-to-face interaction with them. You may want to bring up the subject by mentioning that you’re looking for ways to improve your service to clients.
Another way to collect feedback and conduct a reputation survey is through a formal email, letter or phone call. Whether you choose to conduct it by email, letter, or phone, note that each one of these methods has different pros and cons, such as quality of the feedback, response times, and response levels. It’s a good idea to experiment to see which works best. A key benefit to conducting the survey formally is that people can provide feedback anonymously. And if it’s anonymous, you may get more responses, and ones that are more open and candid.
There are many services, such as SurveyMonkey, that will let you create a survey for your clients to complete online. With SurveyMonkey, you can easily provide a link to your survey via email, your website, your blog and social media sites and then analyze the results in real time.
Don’t guess your reputation
When you ask for feedback from your clients, you’re demonstrating to them that you’re committed to excellence and value constant improvement. Clients value this and will view your attempt to gain honest feedback favorably.
Don’t guess your reputation. You need to know what resonates with your clients and what you can do to provide world-class service. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way to a business where clients will come back time and again and referrals will flow your way.
Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Collis works with REALTORS to help them achieve their goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a Web-based real estate contact management and marketing system designed to help Realtors get more referrals and manage the transaction side of their business.
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