Last year (or the year before?) my friend Rebecca Caution made me rethink how I approach collecting feedback from my clients.
I’ll be honest- up until then, I’d asked for testimonials, and I *felt like* I was open to feedback. Occasionally, I’d be offered a little snippet from a client about something that could be improved upon. I would perform receptivity as best I could, then pour a glass of wine and cry into it. I know.
OF COURSE it is unsettling to receive some unsolicited info that challenges our (hard won, perhaps fragile) sense that we are doing a good job.
AND, in a world flooded with testimonials by other business owners’ top 10% of satisfied clients and customers, our read of constructive feedback and what it means about us- our competence, our cleverness, our conscientiousness- is way off.
NEWSFLASH BABIES. We cannot please everyone all the time. We cannot always even deliver 100% on the intentions and agreements we set. We are human and life is life. The more we hide away from this reality, the more terrifying constructive feedback is.
They say, “this product/ service/ your delivery of it is flawed/ isn’t what I was sold/ could be better”.
You hear, “YOU ARE A FAKE, A FRAUD, A LOSER, YOUR BUSINESS IS ABOUT TO FAIL, YOUR REPUTATION IS RUINED FOREVER”.
It was NOT EASY for me to seek out feedback from my Mastermind group last week. It was not easy to weight it heavily towards what could be improved, and to allow tonnes of space for anything and everything to be criticised. But it was also NOT TERRIFYING.
Because I knew that
- nothing that was shared meant anything about who I am
- honest conversations with our clients about their experiences are the route to their greater satisfaction- I want my clients to have a fucking good time with me. I don’t want to be able to pretend they are and deep down know things could be better.
AND as an outcome of that feedback seeking, I’ve been able to implement some changes to the rhythm of our work that I know will mean an elevated experience for everyone. I’ve done this kind of thing before, midway through courses. This felt higher stakes because the work is more intimate, more organic, and therefore it felt like it was closer to being ‘about me’.
And yet, I could still recognise that I am not this Mastermind. I am certainly not the first 9 weeks of a 52 week programme. I am a complex, multi faceted, some what paradoxical human being. Whilst this is very important to me, and I take my responsibilities to my clients very seriously indeed, it is also simply my current project. Even if they all said they hated it, that would not define who I am.
From this healthy perspective it becomes possible to ask the Qs. And I’ll tell you what- asking 9 weeks in is much better/ easier/ achievable than asking after 52 weeks when there is no opportunity for me to do anything about it.
Where could you be more proactive in seeking feedback from your clients and customers?
How can you consciously seek constructive input rather than pats on your back?
What might stop you?
What are the long term costs of not doing it?
I know you can do it, DM me if you need to share your struggles round it and I’ll create some kinda content to help.
PS – this was originally sent out to my Biz Shiz email community. If you wanna sign up for me emails, you can do so here.