(Abridged from upcoming, self-published book, Don’t Throw Underwear on the Table & Other Lessons Learned at Work.)
If you fail to receive feedback on how you are doing, you might wish to assume that everything is hunky-dory. Which might not be the case. Experts in customer service relationships know that it is infinitely better to hear a customer complain about poor service than to have a displeased customer walk away in silence…and then complain about you or your company to everyone he or she knows.
Oftentimes, customers ask to “speak to a manager” only if they receive incredibly GOOD or incredibly BAD service. What about those who suffer in silence? The ones who don’t take the time to complain? The ones who will not do business with you again? The same ones who will bad-mouth your company to anyone with ears?
Customer service gurus know that you cannot put a price on criticism because what one person SAYS, another hundred may have FELT but didn’t say. Feedback and criticism give you an opportunity to get it right or make it right.
If you are going about your day in a feedback vacuum, it might be that you are doing a good job. Maybe the absence of feedback or criticism is a sign that things are okay. Or maybe you are hearing silence because people don’t know that you want–or are receptive to–feedback.
Want to improve your performance? Ask for feedback on a regular basis from your significant other, your children, your employees, your coworkers, your bosses, or your customers. You can’t fix what you can’t see. Increase your ability to resolve any potential issues while they are small instead of waiting for them to evolve into big problems for you down the road.
Asking for feedback doesn’t have to be difficult. If your goal is to receive honest, objective insight into how you are performing and how you can improve, the words of King Solomon still ring true: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Find those people who care enough about you to share things that might be difficult to hear.
And the rewards might extend beyond improved performance; it can also build closer relationships.