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Feedback occurs when information about a product or service can be used to influence similar occurrences in the future. It is information about a bad meal that will be the basis of the next meal not repeating what ever made it bad. Every time you make a sale, you have an opportunity to learn something either positive or negative from your customer. In fact, your overall reputation is the total summation of feedback. In many cases, especially online businesses such as eBay, feedback has become an essential part of what has made them successful.
So feedback should be included as an important tool to improve performance as you grow. It will serve as a motivation for your employees. It can be an important tool in decision-making. Customer feedback can correct deficiencies and lead you to new products and services. Your decisions can be based on the marketplace and not on gut feelings, intuition or even pure judgment. New business opportunities will still need to be carefully screened. Here are three things to watch out for, from our Starting a Business course.
Some feedback is hard to come by. And each business has its own "best practices." For example, in the restaurant business the rule is "You're only as good as the last meal you served." But how is the restaurateur to know? The guest won't say because it would be an unpleasant experience. They just don't come back. And soon their friends don't come back. Word-of-mouth becomes a downward spiral and the owner doesn't have a clue why. The answer is feedback One method would be to watch the plats as they are returned to the kitchen. Or perhaps providing postage paid cards offering free desert for an honest appraisal.
So the best way to get feedback is to ask for it. Here are some suggestions:
Typically, feedback consists of a positive, negative, or neutral rating along with a short comment. Your customers provide you with valuable insights on coming demands, styles or preferences. Or they may have suggestions on what additional products they would like you to be carrying. For example, at a time before Jelly Bellys© became famous, a little girl once asked gift shop operator Daina Johnson why she didn't sell them. Daina picked up on this feedback and became one of the very the first Jelly Belly retailers. For years Jelly Bellys brought throngs of customers into the shop.
Suggest improvements to your present products
It took 100 years for the steam locomotive to be replaced by diesels. But today, landline phones, TV rental stores, bookstores, and many mom-and-pop retail store are becoming obsolete in just a few years. Feedback will help keep you posted on "where the puck is going."
Deter dishonesty and inappropriate behavior
Your best internal feedback will come from outstanding employees. So selecting the best people to begin with becomes critical. Here is a review of how to attract and screen the very best: from our Starting a Business session on managing employees.
The sign on the back of a delivery truck that states "How am I Driving?" together with a telephone number gives the driving public the opportunity of providing feedback on dangerous driving practices that could be costly to the employer.
What do your smart competitors do?
Feedback on the Internet can be damaging
Use the available online tools
The Internet has transformed feedback to a treasure trove of information anytime a customer buys (or decides not to buy) from your online business. There is an array of feedback tools on the market. Each time a customer buys they will share the experience.
You can engage more deeply with your customers and even bring a human element to your website. You can find out what your users think about your site with branded, intuitive and unobtrusive feedback. Online tools can help you:
Every time you make an online sale you have an opportunity to learn something either positive or negative from your customer. In fact your overall online reputation is the total summation of feedback. In many cases such as eBay, feedback has become an essential part of what has made them successful.
EBay members develop a feedback profile (or reputation) based on the comments and ratings left by other members. Usually feedback will consist of a positive, negative, or neutral rating, along with a short comment.
Employee feedback can be achieved either by giving constructive feedback to the employee or by giving an employee praise and criticism. The problem with praise and criticism is it relies on personal opinions regarding performance. On the other hand, constructive feedback deals specifically with information and issues. Here are some pointers about giving constructive feed back to your employees:
Employee feedback should be conducted on a regularly scheduled performance review basis, usually not less frequently than every three months. These reviews will also be useful in decisions on salary, promotion and the overall valuation of the employee in achieving company goals.
If you have employment contracts with any managers, the performance review process should be spelled out. The goals of a performance review should include furnishing the employee feedback on performance and the review of any training needs.
Your feedback program should be an ongoing part of your business to monitor tastes, problems, trends and potential threats of new competition.
|Deciding on a business | The business plan | Home based businesses | Financing the business | Business organization | Licenses and permits | Business insurance | Communication tools | Buying a business or franchise | Location and leasing | Accounting and cash flow | E-Commerce | Opening and marketing | Managing employees | Expanding and handling problems
Getting financial controls in place | Getting your team in place | Customer feedback | Achieving lowest expenses | Develop negotiating skills | Alternatives for capital allocation | Advanced E-Commerce | Growth by duplication | Vertical integration | Franchising your business | Global expansion | Buying businesses | Public ownership | Selling your business | Considerations for family succession
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