How To Generate and Receive Effective Feedback

Customer Surveys
One way to generate feedback is to create a survey for your customers to fill out. The survey should be thorough enough to gain knowledge about both strengths and problems, but simple enough so customers will actually complete it. Questions need to cover what you feel your business excels in and what you need to work on. It is essential to include at least one question dealing with customer service as this is a crucial component of any successful small business. Providing customers with a rating scale format ensures easy feedback. Offering open ended questions also allows customers to provide feedback in their own words.

Adding Incentives
Another way to generate feedback is to add incentives to surveys. Some businesses provide customers with rebates or a drawing for a chance to win a variety of products. Having the incentive encourages your customers complete the survey, give you feedback about your business, and receive benefits simultaneously.

Organizing Data
Once you have your feedback, you must organize it objectively to be able to judge your business' progress. Average the scores on a rating scale, read the open ended comments, and summarize to how your business is doing before proceeding. Acknowledge the differences between your business' strong points and weak points. Once you have all your information, it is time to take action. 

Putting the Data to Work
Respond to your criticism in a positive manner. Start off slowly by brainstorming ideas on how to correct your problems while improving on your business' strong points. Encourage your employees to take part in acting upon criticism to strengthen your business. Remember, a team is only as strong as its weakest player, therefore everyone needs to contribute to change. Refusing to acknowledge constructive criticism will not correct any problems your business may be experiencing. There is no such thing as a perfect business and there is always something that can be improved.

Remember: constructive criticism will help build your business morale and service. Hearing direct feedback from your customers allows you to make changes to benefit both your business as well as your customer's experience. Some feedback will be positive and some will be negative – but it is up to you to how you will react and respond to criticism.