Last month we gave some tips about how to get practical about your client feedback programme. This month we’re focusing on the most important aspect of all: getting people to take action.
All too often recipients do not use client feedback to improve their service. They read it and put it on one side. This is understandable, but unhelpful in two very significant ways.
- However difficult feedback may be to receive, it’s wasteful and counter-productive not to change and improve your service when you have carefully gathered information that will help you do it.
- The process of gathering feedback gives clients an expectation that you’ll listen to them and do something about what they say. If you do nothing, the best you can hope for is cynicism from your clients. At worst it is actively destructive of relationships.
How can you ensure that relationship owners pay attention to what their clients have said and take appropriate action? This is a behavioural change issue, and so how you approach it will depend on the resources available and the culture and norms of your organisation.
At the “encourage and enable” end of the spectrum are activities like communications from leadership about the feedback exercise and its outcomes, publicizing successes, and workshops to share results and brainstorm service improvements.
At the “check and challenge” end are setting client feedback annual objectives, maintaining central logs of feedback and actions, performance reviews, and withholding bonuses.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that feedback without action is less valuable than no feedback at all. Don’t waste your efforts!