What do you do when customers call with feedback?
I offered feedback to a local restaurant operator last year. He happens to be one of the most thoughtful manager/leaders I know. He thanked me for my suggestion and, more importantly, took it seriously enough to address. Recently he sent me this note:
“I had to share the recent fulfillment of a vision you gave me about a year ago. You shared with me last year how difficult it had been to purchase food at the store on a busy Saturday. Chaos is the word that describes our counter when we are busy. I have often worked on ways to make the counter less chaotic but nothing seemed to work all day, everyday. Your kind sharing of a continuing frustration for you and other customers prompted me to dig deeper for an answer. Through a series of events and various attempts to improve things we have arrived at a wonderful solution. We have a queue system in the store that brings order to chaos ….. and it’s ultimately because of you and your willingness to share about your experience at the store. I’m pleased to tell you I receive many compliments on organizing the chaos at the counter. Thanks for being willing to offer me a ‘carefrontation’ after your visit many months ago.”
It is easy to complain but it takes effort to give a service provider feedback they can use. I’ve found it powerful to offer positive and negative feedback, and not always at the same time. Because I’d made it a point to offer positive feedback to this operator in the past, he knew my intent when I pointed out an ongoing frustration. He accepted it as an opportunity and looked for a solution.
It takes both useful feedback and a receptive listener to improve. Carefrontation, as my friend calls it, is powerful