Built into our brains are mechanisms designed to defend against criticism. That’s why we don’t like it. Possessing the ability to overcome our own mental infrastructure, to then encourage, accept and act on criticism from customers (employees, suppliers, etc.) is an amazing gift to give to your business. Striving for business excellence requires taking advantage of every idea for improvement that we can locate. Asking for criticism assists that. But it takes courage.
People are nice. Too nice for our own good. Sure, we ask for “feedback” and sometimes receive some. But it’s usually general in nature, often complimentary and light on substance. Most don’t want to offend so nothing much is learned. Feedback may provide some value, but criticism can be golden.
What to do? Don’t ask for feedback. Ask for criticism. Insist that customers and employees tell you how you can improve your company. People own something that you can never have: their perspective. By getting them to share it, a chance now exists to make areas of your company better.
The best source of criticism is often the most obnoxious and the most “unreasonable” customer. Even if (when?) we decide that we don’t want them as a customer any longer, valid points may be camouflaged within what seems to be their unreasonableness. They can be great allies in disguise.
We may have employees who are not quite as client oriented as we believe. There could be areas within our products, services or processes that hold room for improvement. Depending on the industry, business type and size, the list of things that could be causing damage without our knowledge may be lengthy.
Like all other types of opportunities, ideas for improvement can come from many sources. Yes, we do need to be able to hear things that aren’t said, but it’s much quicker if we can get others to say them…..
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“The source of all business success is the attraction of customers.” In-The-Flow Marketing