Improving Support through Feedback

“How well are we providing service?” is a question that we frequently may be asking ourselves as service providers. In many cases the way to find out may be through a “how are we doing” button or survey.

The challenge is that while the intent to solicit great feedback this way may not produce the results we are looking for because we haven’t fully built out a feedback strategy. The old saying goes, the more you put into it the more you get out of it.

Here are a few points to consider, but as always feel free to share which areas have worked well, or not so well for you.

 

Understand your why

In other words what does success look like from your feedback initiative. Figuring out what you expect to gain from this initiative will allow you to ask the right questions which will give the information to make lasting improvements. In some cases you may be starting from scratch so if you don’t fully understand the business needs you may what to start by getting the information from them directly rather than having a survey. A quick coffee chat can pay big dividends in the long haul when getting to know your business.

Communicate the program

We have all seen cases where the communication around the feedback program was great in the beginning but then started to fall off as time went on. When this happens you will also see a corollary between communication and the feedback you receive. Remember, people want to contribute so ensure the audience is aware of how they can do that. The trick here is to create a balance on information you are sharing and the appetite that the business has to consume it. Again understanding the business goes a long way to making this component successful. So if your business wants to go to site to pull information across rather than getting emailed every week than that should be taken into consideration.

 

Understand the channels for feedback

As mentioned above be open to finding out how your audience wants to communicate with you on feedback. There are many ways to communicate (social media, tools, phone, email, etc.) so make sure that you manage which ever ones you choose to leverage accordingly. It could be very easy for us to assume that this would best be done via email or directly from an application. However the idea that we are assuming anything rather than asking is counter-intuitive to the feedback process in the first place…..

Feedback Management

Now that we are receiving the feedback we need to make sure that we manage the information that we are getting appropriately. Being in a position to take the feedback and report to the submitter that we have their information and that we are in fact doing something with it is important.

 

Far too often the reason cited for not submitting feedback is that “they aren’t going to do anything with it anyways”. While many tools have a canned response after the information is submitted people really want to have some direct communication that their feedback is being considered in some way or another.

 

Set Expectations

While your response may not have all the answers just yet, ensuring that the submitters are aware that you are looking into something is a good start. Providing further responses with some timelines for any other corrective measures from a personal perspective lets the submitter know that there is actually someone looking at their concern rather than a black hole. If the information is sent in and they never hear back they will be less likely to participate the next time.

Feedback Findings

Where ever possible share the findings of the feedback regularly to the targeted audience to drive further submissions. Even in cases where you may think a resolution is not possible sharing this information may generate some further discussions or ideas that may resolve the issue that may have never been considered before. Inciting this type of dialog enables a better working relationship as a service provider.

 

Report on the feedback

Establish regular reporting on the feedback you are collecting. Include things like who is responding which business units do not. Are there questions that are generating better responses than others? All this information will ensure that you continually improve how you support your business as well as how you solicit information on how to improve.

 

Overall, have a well-defined scope on the information you are soliciting. Engage the target audience with regular updates and set expectations around those. Build out some reporting on how well (or not) your feedback initiative is going to ensure you stay on target. All of these will help to manage the feedback over the long term and make lasting improvements your business needs

 

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