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The Importance of Good Feedback

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by Oystrich
Getting good feedback from customers and employees is vital for any business that expects to grow.  Without knowledge, business leaders can not make educated decisions.  Uneducated decisions lead to a higher rate of failure, which can have detrimental impacts on a business.  Without high quality information, a business owner is flying blind.

When flying an airplane, pilots depend on their instrumentation to tell them how they’re doing, where they are going, and where they need to go.  The artificial horizon helps them control their altitude, a compass helps them navigate, and other instruments give them vital information.  Even data received over the radio from airports  is crucial.  All this information is vital for the safety and success of the flight.

Just as a pilot needs feedback, so do business owners.  A pilot would never fly blind except in extreme situations, and a business owner is doing the exact same thing if they don’t educate themselves before making important decisions.  Of course, the best way to educate oneself is to ask the experts.  In a business situation, the very best experts to ask are your customers.  After all, they’re the ones who are buying whatever it is you’re selling.

Grabbing data is one thing, but grabbing the right kind of data is entirely another.  When the title of this article says "Good Feedback," it means high quality feedback, not just positive feedback.  Negative feedback can be of high quality and is often more crucial for businesses than positive feedback.

Anyone serious about making educated decisions should have a great, scalable survey solution in place.  Scalable means you can use it for a small business all the way to an enterprise level system.  A survey solution should give you full control over the types of questions and the types of answers you can use (i.e. multiple choice, essay, etc.).  This will give you the ability to customize the type of feedback you receive.

The best way to form a good survey is to start with your ultimate goal in mind.  Think about what types of information you will need to build your ultimate report.  Ask them same questions a few different ways to account for errors, and lay out your format in the simplest, easiest way possible.  The easier the survey is to fill out, the more likely people will fill it out with accurate information.  Accurate information is the key to good data.

With a well though out survey and lots of information, we can now start running reports on the data.  If you got enough information, you should be able to figure out several things with the data you have.  If you only want the answer to one question, a few additional questions can give you more answers as well, even if they are unrelated to your most important questions.

Any good survey system worth it’s own weight will have a great reporting system.  Different ways of aggregating the data can show different trends and information, so it should be easy to manage every aspect of your survey campaign.  Your flexibility for reports should match the flexibility of the survey itself.

Surveys can be sent out via your email list (just make sure people know when they sign up that they might be getting these types of emails), filled out online as an opt-in during the checkout process, or sent out to rented lists.  Whatever way you decide to go, just be sure that your survey is targeting the demographics you are most intereted in.

With a good survey, you can increase your knowledge manyfold.  Decisions will become clear.  For small outfits to enterprise level operations, collecting data and feedback is the ultimate way to make educated decisions.

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