Ignore Feedback at your Peril

Think about the last time you asked someone for their feedback. Did you listen to their response? Really LISTEN? Organizational listening is a skill that requires intention, but when done right results in a culture of care that nurtures brand ambassadors.

Organizations with cultures of care cultivate leadership qualities that build people up, motivate growth and treat them like stakeholders. When employees’ performance development needs are met, they become brand ambassadors — emotionally and psychologically committed to their work, their colleagues and the organization. And that shows up clearly in the service they provide to customers.

Creating a culture of care is more than surveys asking for input or perks to make people feel happy.  While it’s true that engaged employees feel their opinions count and are typically happy to be at work, true engagement is about an alignment of values. Organizations that claim to value employees address their needs the same way they address customer needs. In fact, by treating their employees as their most important customers, they set the tone for the way employees interact with customers. The result of that level of care is the difference between people who show up and people who are brand ambassadors for the company.

Think about the employee who feels ignored or unappreciated. Maybe his manager continually cancels meetings or just blows them off without notification. Maybe he has asked for direction or feedback only to be met with crickets, or he is so micromanaged that he feels his leaders have no confidence in his ability. 

Now imagine if he treated his customers the same way. What if he blew off client meetings, ignored their questions, or didn’t respond to emails. What if he made the customer feel unimportant and unappreciated? What if a customer provided valuable feedback about the company only to be ignored or dismissed with a generic auto-response?

The irony is that most leaders wouldn’t tolerate an employee treating a customer the way so many employees report being treated by their leaders. And how many of them tout core values like trust, inclusion, kindness, and humility? 

How many times have leaders sent surveys with the statement

"your feedback is important to us"

only to completely disregard the feedback they don't like?  


A question for leaders: 

If your employees treat your customers with the same level of

care and respect as they feel their leaders treat them,

would your company thrive or struggle to stay alive?

The sad truth is that if you don't care about your employees... give them a forum to share their employee experience and really listen to them.... they won't care about your customers. How employees treat customers speaks volumes about that company's core values and organizational culture. 

No organization is perfect. As the saying goes, $hit happens. It’s inevitable that customers and employees will be disappointed, frustrated, even angry at times. Sometimes, the circumstances are beyond one's control. But the way organizations respond to those incidents are not. 

All feedback is a gift - positive and negative.  Hearing good news is rewarding, and it's important to know what IS working well. But when a customer or employee takes the time to share an experience that reflects poorly on the brand, it's not just intel... it's an opportunity to address issues that may not be apparent. 

Providing feedback takes effort, and when people spend the time and energy to share their experience with the company, they don't want to be placated; they want to be heard and have their experience acknowledged. Organizations that choose not to listen will lose both employees and customers. 

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