Occasionally, I see business owners who are afraid to be vulnerable about what they don’t know. For some reason, they think that they need to have all the answers; that customers come to them and expect them to be perfect. Now in an ideal world, we would be the absolute oracle on the industry we work in but that’s rarely the case. Yes, we will know more than most people and that’s why people trust us and buy our services/products, but there’s ALWAYS room to learn more. It’s having an openness to learning and feedback that’s what continues to allow your product or service to evolve.
How open are you to learning?
Answer me this:
- How often do you tap into colleagues to see what they’re doing? I’m thinking people in the same industry, sales reps of the products/services you sell, overseas companies doing similar things…
- How often do you complete workshops or courses to expand your thinking?
- How many business people do you have in your network that you bounce ideas off on a regular basis?
- How often do you do employee surveys of your performance?
- How often do you survey your customers to ask how you could improve? (Too often I see businesses using surveys to ask customers to tell them how good they were, as opposed to where they can be better)
- What feedback have you taken on in the last year and made changes as a result of it?
- Do you read books or articles on business or related to your industry?
I want you to consider this: you don’t know what you don’t know…
I was impressed to hear of a colleague’s recent interaction with MailChimp. MailChimp is one of the leading marketing software companies in the world and a company you’d expect to be at the forefront of marketing, due to their expertise and resources. But do they think they know it all and have nothing more to learn? No — it’s their openness to feedback that allows them to continue to develop better offerings to their customers. This colleague of mine was exporting some survey responses for a client and the only option was a CSV file, showing the data in written form. She wished you could download the data as it’s seen on MailChimp’s website — illustrated as bar graphs. Then she spied the “Got feedback?” tab on the website… She sent a quick response and didn’t expect to hear anything back. Within hours this email appeared in her inbox:
Appreciate you writing in and providing feedback about Mailchimp Surveys. I’m the product manager for the tool, and wanted to let you know that we’re working on a .pdf export. Should be live in the next week or two, and I’ll shoot you an update when it is! Hopefully that makes life a little easier!
Feel free to shoot me any other feedback you have. Love hearing directly from customers.
And what do you know — in a few weeks Trevor emailed her back to let her know the new functionality was live. I’m seriously impressed by the importance Trevor and MailChimp put on one customer’s feedback. Who knows how many improvements they’ve made to their offerings as a result of taking on customer suggestions?!
And another example: if Elon Musk can implement changes to his electric cars in response to a customer Tweet, so can you:
If I can implore you to do one thing to improve the way you do business, it’s to be open to learning and feedback.
If it’s customer feedback you want to start with, look into implementing these tools for collecting user feedback:
- An after-sale email survey
- Customer panels
- Loyalty programmes
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Social media hashtags
- Automatic redirects from your website to new windows encouraging customers to leave feedback: on Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp etc
- AI chat bots on your website for Communities/forums and dedicated customer feedback sites
Be brave — be open to learning what you don’t know, so you can elevate what you do.