A few weeks ago we hosted a bluegrass/jazz concert at Modern Studio ,right smack dab in the middle of a theatre production run. My business partner swung by to help, based on her intuition that we might need her help prepping the room. We assembled lighting, figured out how to hook up our sound system around the theatrical set, and even realized we were missing a very important electrical cable. In the end, everything worked out well and the show was successful. Luckily, two of the musicians that night sat down and dialogued with me about what we did well, and what needed improvement. As a business owner primarily focused on keeping the doors open, these conversations provided the best set of feedback we’d received all year, and taught us a few things in the process.
Feedback is GOOD
I don’t think this one is obvious based solely on how many people I’ve had to cajole and massage through a session where I’m providing feedback. If you run a business, feedback is your only pulse on your public perception and how you’re actually doing. I’m not talking about asking your closest pals for a recommendation or testimonial. I’m talking about shutting your mouth and genuinely listening as a customer shares their experience. The truth is that you may believe you’re the bomb diggity at certain things, but you won’t know until you ask your customers.
SHUT YOUR MOUTH
This one is important. You really have to come to a place where you’re not internalizing or taking anything personally when you receive feedback from your customers. You have to shed your desire to be defensive and counter every claim with an excuse or all the ways you’ve been awesome. Your job here is to ask questions, close your mouth, take notes, and finally implement the feedback. If you can’t do this, find someone who can funnel this information for you OR create a way that people can provide feedback online or through your social media.
I read somewhere that for every one customer who speaks up, there are two dozen more who have stayed quiet. Be grateful that someone cared enough to take time out of their day to have a conversation with you. As it turns out, both musicians we chatted with mentioned things we hadn’t considered based on their many years of performance experience. In the end, all of their feedback will make our venue better and stronger.
What are your tips for accepting feedback?