Habits of Amazing People: Ask Directly For Feedback

Habits of Amazing People: Ask Directly For Feedback

"If you think you don't need to hear constructive criticism, you're the person who needs it the most."

Feedback, both good and bad, can and should be used to improve your processes or yourself. We trigger feedback queues around us all the time, but most of us are not aware we are doing it. A frown when a person is not happy or a smile when they are shows us how people are feeling, and we typically adjust how we are speaking to them based on that visual feedback. These visual cues are a type of feedback we use in our daily lives to improve ourselves and our environment. If you look at business feedback in this same way, you can take significant steps to improve your professional self and your business.

Applying What We Learn

While this book is about creating amazing customer service experiences, I find myself applying these to my personal growth, too. Asking for and receiving constructive feedback is one of the best ways I know to grow and improve. I try to look at all input from the lens of how I can grow from it. While none of us like to hear negative feedback, this is the feedback we most need to hear and understand. I have tried to take any negative feedback in my life and career and turn it into a “how can I fix it?” scenario.

Feedback is essential to growth. How are you going to know how you are doing if you don’t ask? Asking for feedback can put you in a very vulnerable position, but you need to ask if you genuinely want to know how you’re doing. How many times have you finished a client call and thought, "That was the worst call ever," only to have the customer tell you they thought it was very productive? Or even worse, the opposite, where the client did not feel you accomplished anything. Take this opportunity to ask for feedback on why they thought your call was a failure or a success.

Be sure to listen to the feedback with an open mind and without any pre-conceived ideas about why the responses are good or bad. It can be a very humbling experience and emotionally painful, but remember, if you ask for it, be prepared for what you will hear and be sure to truly listen. We are human, so some of this soul searching can only happen after dealing with any good or bad feelings associated with the feedback. If you need to step away, do so before you make a rash change or pat yourself on the back. I try to listen to what the person is saying and not respond right away, letting them know I want to take some time to digest their feedback. If I know it is something I do not want to hear, I also know it is something I should listen to even more. The key is to find a way to make improvements based on what you hear.

Make It Count

Now, let's get real for a minute. I cannot listen with a smile on my face and a thank you if the feedback is hurtful or negative. I am also not going to say that when told I am doing a great job that I do not smile and think, I am fantastic. It’s hard to hear someone tell say you are doing a lousy job or that you are unorganized or the company has weak documentation or whatever. It feels good when you get feedback on something you do well. The key is to remember it is not meant to hurt you or help boost your ego, but to help you grow.

Feedback is the key to personal and organizational growth. Remember that it is acceptable to ask for feedback; you just need to prepare yourself for the good and the bad. Keep an open mind, and you can use any feedback you receive to help improve your performance and relationships professionally and personally.

How can you start including a request for feedback in your interactions with customers? Does your company have a process for gathering and addressing feedback? Please share your thoughts with us and with your company; then call us to see how our customer service offerings can help you.

In Be Amazing or Go Home, Shep Hyken discusses habits “Amazing People” share. Read about the habits we've reviewed previously:

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