How To Ask For And Use Feedback About Your Business

Part Two: What The Heck To Do With All This Feedback?

Feedback is an essential component to improving your products, services, and client relationships. In this three-part blog series, I’ll explain how to gather, assess, and implement feedback to make your business even better!

If you read my previous blog post about how to gather relevant and actionable feedback to improve your business, then by this week you should have a fair amount of valuable information just waiting for your review and assessment.

Don’t slow down now! Feedback is only useful if you take the time to review and understand it before trying to use it to improve your business. In this post, I’ll give you my top tips for sifting and filtering your feedback for the key insights, themes, and action items.

Review the feedback sooner rather than later. You’ve taken the time to gather feedback, and people have invested theirs to help you. Don’t put the information on the shelf until you have time to mull through it. Information is power when you understand it and apply it wisely to improve your business. Take a look at the feedback now while it’s still fresh and start gathering insights.

Ask for clarification. If the information you received is unclear or incomplete, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if possible. If you’re facilitating a focus group or meeting with an individual or group in person, you have the advantage of asking for further detail in real time. Don’t feel that you have to stick just to the questions you brought. If a response sparks addition questions, ask them.

If you requested feedback in survey form or in an email, follow up if you have additional questions or want clarification. This is why it’s a good idea to ask survey respondents to identify themselves unless you feel this would lead to less honest answers to your survey.

Organize and store the information. You may want to revisit the feedback at a later date, so be sure to document it in a way that will allow quick access and easy review. Scribbling on a notepad at your meeting with a past client will suffice for immediately capturing the feedback, but you’ll want to at least type up the key takeaways from those notes. Otherwise, you may glance at it a week later and wonder what you meant. You might not even be able to read your own handwriting!

I strongly suggest typing all your notes and keeping them together in a folder. You may even want to put them in a single document so that you can just scroll through. Highlight the answers that are the most useful or insightful so you don’t have to read through your entire document if you’re looking for a specific answer.

Review with an open mind. When you’ve gathered, clarified and organized all of your information, it’s time to sit down and actually review it. Bring an open mind and positive attitude to this task. I also suggest finding a quiet and comfortable environment. Read the feedback and try not to immediately judge, defend, or dismiss. Just accept the information and let it settle. Once you’ve read through everything once, go back through and begin to filter. You’ll start to see which feedback is truly useful to helping you improve your business and which is not so relevant. Focus on identifying trends and understanding what each person was trying to tell you.

Give yourself time to let the feedback take seed. Soon though, you’ll want to start harvesting some ideas and implementing changes to improve your business. The next post in this series offers tips on using your feedback to take action.

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