There are three prevelant myths about management tools that we meet again and again. They’re rife in every industry – and here’s where we lay them to rest once and for all.
1. ‘Nobody answers survey questions honestly’
Several of our customers originally thought that surveys were a waste of time, both for customers and employees. We beg to differ.
It’s not about honesty
Our experience is that that most people are quite honest. But if some of their answers aren’t, what does that really mean? The most important aspect of a survey is not necessarily the degree of honesty – it’s the conversations about the results and the specific goals the business is based on that matter most.
‘Conducting surveys is an excellent opportunity to start a dialogue with your employees about the desired focus area and their own aspirations about future performance.’
In addition, honesty is about a number of other factors. How the survey is formulated, frequency and the employee’s/customer’s reaction to follow-ups after conducting investigations help influence what responses you receive. We understand this very well, and work actively to ensure you make the most of your research.
2. ‘A lot of customer feedback is on things we can’t do anything about’
The feeling that customers provide feedback on areas that you can’t influence is one more reason that surveys seem like an unnecessary management tool.
Focus on the right place
There will probably be some feedback that does not directly affect you and your employees. But we also know that there are many more responses that will concern you and your working environment. These are the ones to emphasise.
‘Focus only on the feedback you can influence. We guarantee that it’s more than enough to work with.’
Customer feedback is important initially for finding focus areas, and then as a measuring instrument to see that all the hard work pays off. This also applies if parts of the information affect areas you have no influence on.
And discovering some things you can’t react to immediately can still be worthwhile. For example, knowing that some customers think prices are too high can be effective to keep in mind during customer interaction.
The points you actually can’t act on, you’re safe to ignore, or pass on up the chain. Perhaps top management can do something about it – but your focus should be on things you can change.
3. ‘Giving employees my feedback does more harm than good’
Some executives and middle managers may fear providing feedback to their employees. There is a feeling that it may undermine staff skills, or that honest feedback has more of a negative than a positive effect.
Feedback is essential – but must be given correctly
Feedback is a vital part of development and follow-up when you want behavioural change in your business. We have seen over and over again that frequent – and accurate – feedback leads to a number of positive consequences.
It is important to understand that independent work and feedback are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, we find that most people are highly motivated by constructive feedback from their leader. Motivation and guidance lead to more efficient and targeted employees, who work better both independently and in teams.
‘Saying “you have done well” is an ineffective way to provide feedback. Saying “you do well when you ask questions to uncover customers’ needs” is much more constructive’.
Feedback needs to be concrete, specific and focussed on behaviour that can be changed. With immediate delivery, feedback can be your most important management tool.