Feedback and …Not the machine kind
Getting real, honest and (especially) unvarnished feedback may be the best source to learn how to better our customer offering. But it’s also anything but easy. Ask for it in a general way and you’ll generally get vague information.
But ask in a targeted way and maybe you’ll actually learn something valuable. That’s not accomplished by asking a general question like, “How can I improve my offering to you?”. Approached like that you could learn something useful, but it’s more likely you won’t.
Alternatively by starting with a more targeted one like, “Do you feel my once per month service schedule is adequate?”, you might get a more concrete reply. You can pose any number of similar questions that focus on things like deliveries, invoicing and even specific results issues like glassware appearance.
Of course there’s still a valid place for those open-ended ones like, “Is there any service or product that I don’t provide now that you’d like to be receiving?”. But the place for those is after you’ve posed the specific ones that don’t require the buyer to get creative or search his or her imagination to respond.
Oh, and expect to get a lot of vague feedback that you’ll need to help them reduce to an actionable idea. And finally, no matter what they say, we want to validate that suggestion versus “mansplaining” why they really don’t need what they say they want!
The fine print…And reading it
With the litigious world we live in and all its’ regulations and rules, it seems like almost daily we’re presented with some leagalize agreement. And we either accept it, or we can “do without” whatever it served as gatekeeper for access. So, for the most part we just skip to the bottom and either sign it or click the accept button.
And while that may be the reasonable thing to do when it’s a new on-line app or chat group, when it comes to most paper agreements, reading them from top to bottom might be a better idea. When we do, it’s amazing how one-sided many of those are. Take that repair shop’s service agreement when we drop off the van. Does it say they aren’t responsible for any damage while it’s in their care, or that anything stolen from it is also excluded? Here’s the rub: Even though state’s laws probably say they’re on the hook, if you sign it, they’re likely not.
Setting aside our personal situation, there are employment agreements, banking and insurance forms, health code regulations and many more that we’re subject to and which we need to actually read. We might not be able to amend some of them, but at the least we need to understand what we’re signing since it’s very likely that what it says limits our rights versus guaranteeing them.