Do you know how your employees feel about working for your company? Do you know how your clients feel about their experience working with you? And do you take the time to give your employees the feedback that helps them develop and grow in their role with your company?

Your clients and employees matter to the success of your business. If they’re unhappy your business will suffer. But if you take the time to find out what you could be doing better and develop your employees, you’ll be setting the stage for success. Bill Gates is quoted as saying, “We all need people who will give us feedback. It’s how we improve.” That statement couldn’t be more true. And any successful business person or team development expert will tell you that if you’re not giving and receiving feedback in your business, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity for improvement.

Feedback Matters

Every business owner knows it’s easier to keep a customer than to find a new one, but statistics show that 96 percent of unhappy customers will never bother to tell you they’re unhappy. They’ll just go somewhere else next time. And one of the biggest reasons good employees leave a company is, you guessed it, unspoken frustration with an employer who won’t do things to make their jobs easier or fails to acknowledge their contributions.

Feedback is more than constructive criticism. Think of it as a bridge of communication; a bridge that connects you with the most important people to your business – both internally and externally. Though it can sometimes be hard to take, feedback can help you streamline your efforts toward greater efficiency and purposeful productivity. And encouraging both positive and negative feedback, from customers and employees alike, can show you what you’re doing right, along with what you might want to change.

You need to open up those channels of communication. And part of opening up the channels of communication, with both clients and employees, is creating an environment where input will be heard, valued and responded to in a respectful, positive way. To accomplish this, you need to implement a system that gives people a voice. A system that allows them to be anonymous in their critique (if they prefer to be) is ideal. After all, anonymity encourages honesty and that’s the goal here.

And with respect to giving feedback to your employees, develop a mindset of praise for what they’re doing right in the day-to-day. Everyone appreciates being acknowledged for good performance. But you should also set up regularly scheduled times where you take the time to meet with employees one-on-one for a more in-depth discussion. This gives you the opportunity to again highlight what they’re doing well, but also to make suggestions for where they could improve. Most employees will appreciate the chance to develop new skills and hear an honest appraisal of their performance. Just remember that feedback should be specific, timely, and framed in a way that is constructive rather than negative.

Feedback Tools to Use

Unsure or uncomfortable with giving employees constructive feedback? There are resources to help. Click here for a good article on effectively giving employee feedback or contact me. I can help you create a format for those conversations.

Survey Monkey is a great option for inviting feedback from both clients and employees. The questionnaire you create can be sent via email and identities of respondents can be made private. There’s a free option, but this tool also offers the opportunity to add more questions and send to more people for a minimal charge.

You can also provide an easy-to-find link for feedback on your website. Make sure it’s available on all or most of your website pages. Also, make sure you have an autoresponder in place to let people know you’ve received their feedback, you appreciate them taking the time to give it, and you’ll be not only reviewing it but making the appropriate adjustments based on it. Then be sure to follow through!

So, embrace feedback and make use of this valuable tool for building strong relationships, growing your business, and increasing profitability. It’s just one more way you can stand out from the competition and build a solid reputation as a business that goes the extra mile. That’s a win-win for everybody!