I’m going to start off by saying that all feedback is important. Great feedback from your service users that you can instantly share with the world to let everyone know what you can offer is a fantastic marketing tool. Plus, it makes you feel good about what you have achieved. Win win.
Do you sense a ‘but’ might be coming up…?
But, negative feedback can be so much more important. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with the phrase ‘We learn from our mistakes‘ or some variant along those lines. It’s true. If people ask me what Active Outcomes do well I can explain the services I offer and direct them toward testimonials from previous clients that will help new customers understand what they can expect to achieve when working with us. What is harder to know, is what people might not like about working with us. Hopefully nothing, we really do try and take care of all our customers – but if we (or you) were getting something wrong – wouldn’t you rather know about it and fix the issue?
What is harder to know, is what people might not like about working with us. Hopefully nothing, we really do try and go above and beyond to take great care of all our customers – but if we (or you, for that matter) were getting something wrong – wouldn’t you rather know about it and fix the issue?
That’s why we think negative feedback is so vital. If you never get any negative feedback you might want to ask yourself why? Are you really hitting every target, or could you be doing anything better? If you get any negative feedback, be open to it, think carefully about how to respond to it and whether you need to take action to address it.
It might seem counterintuitive, but nobody is perfect and we think it is important to gain more negative feedback. You can try to prod gently when asking for feedback to see if there is anything you could improve, anything else they would like to see you offer. Give some examples of things you think are not working so well and see what your customers have to say.
We work with a lot of charities and we find that when we consult with their service users, the people who have been helped by the charity are so grateful for their support that they don’t want to say anything negative about them. Sometimes they simply can’t think of a single negative experience they could report, at others, they don’t want to offend.
In the case of charities, lay your cards on the table and tell your service users how important it is to your organisation that you gain negative feedback so that you can show funders that you are constantly working to improve the service you offer and are acting on suggestions from your service users.
We will be sharing more advice on consultation here on our blog and we have some videos on our YouTube channel to help you with designing consultation activities. To watch our Top Tips for Planning Consultation and Engagement Activities see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY-F5qR17yo
If you’d like some support consulting your customers, Active Outcomes can help, we are completely impartial and experienced in conducting consultation and community engagement activities. We can provide you with completely independent feedback to provide to funding bodies or to help inform strategic planning.