In this world where service organisations live or die by their customers’ social media critiques, here’s another way of looking at things:
The other day I heard a radio interview between host Graham Norton and the actor Meera Syal. Norton asked Syal whether she was affected by reviews of her work. “No,” she answered, “I don’t read them; if I did I’d become too self-conscious.”
I started to think about the logic behind this statement: every actor puts herself in a very exposed place every time she goes on stage, or appears in a TV or film production. Whilst not all follow Syal and ignore their reviews, at the same time they must have the confidence and self-belief to deliver the best performance they can. At least in part, this means channelling their skill, technique and their own unique personality, in order to deliver what they believe is their best work, and most suited to their audience.
Although I have spent many years urging businesses to read their reviews, to ask their Customers, Partners and (above all!) their Teams for feedback, it strikes me that there are two key riders to that obviously vital habit.
The first, is that you need to be absolutely clear what you stand for – what makes you and your business special, unique; your Purpose – so that you have a context for customer feedback. In the social age, it’s even more important to find your niche and strive to be the best in that niche; it follows therefore that reviewers who understand and appreciate that niche are the ones whose feedback you must seek out and nurture and respond to. (That, obviously, implies that your Team should be one of your key audiences/reviewers!)
The second point is that reviews always need to be read with a sense of perspective. We are all familiar with the TripAdvisor syndrome whereby a single bad review can be blown out of all proportion, leading to needless angst and even a disproportionate response. I call these “Refuse Reviews” – refuse to let them get to you, and put them in the refuse!
If you know you are good at what you do, use reviews as part of your “Leader’s Compass” – that is, as one of a range of indicators of how well you are doing. Don’t be deflected by “rogue” reviews, and don’t let them drain the positive energy out of your organisation.
Of course, if the majority of your reviews are bad, you either have the wrong product or you’re targeting the wrong customers. On the other hand, as actors and restaurateurs have always known, whilst a bad review may be bad for business, it may also indicate that you’re merely upsetting the right people!
I’d love to know what you think about this – why not leave a comment below?