It’s deceptively easy to sail through life avoiding criticism. Indeed, most of us set up systems to prevent us from having to deal with critique – that way, we can be more satisfied with our lives and our businesses in peaceful ignorance.

In reality, it’s vital to set up feedback loops.

In the words of renowned business magnate Elon Musk: “It’s very important to have a feedback loop where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

  • Does your business actively seek feedback?

It’s easy enough to say that you aren’t adverse to feedback. You might be thinking right now, “I am completely open to feedback.” But there is a difference between being open to feedback and actively seeking it out. Being open to feedback is like ‘being open’ to using environmentally sustainable products; it sounds nice but doesn’t actually help save any animals or plant any trees.

Your business may have email contact forms and Facebook messaging systems that allow your customers to communicate with you but are you encouraging them to use them? This is an important question to reflect upon.

By being ‘open to feedback’ but not actively seeking it out, you are effectively delegating the process of improving your business to your consumers. You are placing the onus for reaching your potential on them, rather than yourself.

  • Why does your business want feedback?

The only way to improve is to know what you aren’t doing to the best of your potential. Sometimes it is possible to self-determine these issues, but let’s be honest, that isn’t usually the case.

Doing things poorly isn’t something to be ashamed about, so long as you are able to acknowledge this fact and work towards improving. Think about negative feedback as an opportunity rather than a failure; an opportunity to improve your business, that wouldn’t have existed if you were ignorant to your shortcomings.

Feedback isn’t necessarily bad – sometimes it reaffirms what you are doing well, which is also hugely valuable information. You may think your business offers value in one area, when really customers love you for something completely different. This is the important information you need to know.

Being seen as actively seeking feedback also helps improve your business image among your consumers. It shows that your business is serious about improving the way you serve them and addressing their concerns.

  • How can your business start to actively seek feedback?

Fortunately, there are heaps of ways your business can actively seek out honest feedback from your customers. If you have a subscriber database, consider attaching a plea for feedback at the end of your weekly newsletter or sending out an EDM especially calling for feedback.

Similar campaigns can be undertaken through your social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, you should be wary of the fact that responses could be public.

You can do similar things in your bricks-and-mortar business. For instance, if you run a fitness studio, you might want to opt for a suggestion box. You could learn that timetabling is confusing some clients or there’s a need for more early morning classes. Being able to better satisfy your current customers can help to attract new ones.

It’s important not to be passive in business and to actively set out feedback loops between yourself and your customers. This is one of the most effective strategies to help better satisfy their needs and desires, while continuously improving your business.

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