Find out how to use feedback to improve the way that you do things.
Do you view negative feedback and complaints as a learning opportunity? It's often hard to do so!
Most of us instinctively have negative reactions to complaints, whether they're internal (from co-workers, employees or managers) or external (from customers). And if the complaint is about something we did or created, or someone that we are responsible for, we can often become defensive, or view the complaint as unjustified or not our fault.
But, what exactly is a complaint? And should we view them as something negative?
In their classic customer service book, "A Complaint Is a Gift," Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller define a complaint as "a statement about expectations that have not been met." So feedback and complaints are actually really important. They're an opportunity for us to improve ourselves, our products, our services, and our processes – if we act on the feedback that we receive.
In this article, we'll explore managing complaints and feedback effectively. We'll look at different examples of complaints, and we'll identify how you can use the closed-loop feedback process to ensure that you learn from the feedback and complaints that you receive.
Many of us will receive complaints and feedback as part of our job.
For example, you might lead a customer service team whose main role is to handle customer complaints. You might work in human resources, processing internal feedback from employees and management. Or, perhaps you need to use your boss's feedback from your last performance review to improve how your team provides its monthly reports to the board.
Whatever your role, processing complaints and feedback effectively is essential for improving the way that you do things.
There are several benefits of implementing a feedback process:
Many people spend time collecting feedback from people such as customers and employees. They may use a suggestion box or surveys, or even hire consultants to measure employee and customer satisfaction in a more scientific way.
The problem is that people often don't act on this useful feedback. Therefore, company or personal performance never improves. This is politely known as an open-loop feedback process. (Less politely, it's called a broken feedback process.)
A more effective solution to deal with feedback is a closed-loop feedback process (see Figure 1)
This ensures that you don’t lose your plan.
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