I admit it. It can be more than a little terrifying to find out what other people think of you. Up until that point you can pretend that all is well and you’re doing absolutely nothing wrong. The moment you say “What do you think about…?” your world might totally shatter. Therefore it’s a little nerve-wracking to ask.
So why ask for feedback if it’s just going to shatter your ego? Plenty of reasons!
Why Feedback is Important
Like ripping off a Band-Aid, getting feedback from your customers, clients, co-workers or employers is important, no matter if it could be a little hurtful. However, like tearing off a bandage, the pain quickly goes away and you forget what you were so worried about.
The people you ask for feedback are going to give you some of the most detailed notes on what works and doesn’t work with your business. If you’re truly concerned about the longevity of your business, you’ll want this feedback. It can make the difference between staying in business for years rather than months.
For example, you may have never realized that you’re constantly finishing work past deadline. Sure, you notice once in a while that you’re late, but never thought it was a big deal. However, if you ask your clients or colleagues, they’ll tell you it’s become almost a common occurrence that you’re at least a day late turning in assignments.
Had you discovered this down the line a bit, your tardiness may have already tarnished the relationship. However if you ask, you have time to change – and to salvage those important business relationships for the future.
How to Get Feedback
If you are in business for yourself, you are in luck. Asking for feedback is as easy as posting something on the Internet. Hop on your website, Facebook page, or wherever you most frequently interact with your clients. If need be, send out an email to point everyone to the page where you’ve set your feedback page or online poll up to get their attention.
Make sure you have some specific questions for your clients to answer. “Tell me how I’m doing!” really doesn’t give any specifics for people to answer and they’ll be less likely to write anything at all. However, “Do you find I turn assignments in on time?” is a question with an easy answer.
If you’re having trouble getting people to give you feedback (and let’s face it, you probably will), provide some incentive. Make it a contest where someone can win a prize – preferably something from one of your clients for extra goodwill! Or you can give everyone who participates a deal on their next project, a coupon for a percentage off of the typical rate might do the trick.
If you work with the same employer and colleagues every day, asking for feedback will seem especially daunting. This is where you want to frame you request for feedback as a desire to improve yourself, your department, and your workplace. Who knows? Maybe your simple request will inspire a workplace-wide self-evaluation, leading to an improved work environment.
When was the last time you asked for feedback from a client, employer or colleague? Did you learn from the experience?