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How important is Feedback vs Criticism

How important is Feedback vs Criticism

John says to me, “I had such a bad meal at a restaurant last night. I am definitely never ever going back there.”

I am thinking that I have never had a bad meal from this same restaurant. When I asked whether he sent the food back to the kitchen or called the waiter, chef or owner, he said no. He does not like to complain, he just will not go back.

There is a difference between complaining and giving feedback. How will the chef, owner or waiter know that there is a problem in the kitchen if they are not notified? How can they improve if nobody tells them that there is something not right?

Not too long ago we got take-aways from one of our restaurants and unfortunately suffered food poisoning. These things happen, especially when restaurants are not churning out the food and fresh ingredients expire. Reactions to food poisoning are numerous… splash it out in the media and tell all your friends, ask for the medical bills to be paid and demand for a refund. Let’s face it…food poisoning does make one very grumpy and angry. A lot of people do not say anything at all because they do not want to embarrass the owner.

I let the owner know immediately that there was a problem with the ham. She checked it out and admitted to me that it was not kosher. Yes, she was very embarrassed and apologized profusely, but thanked me at the same time as I saved further food poisoning and possibly a very irate client or more.

As it is on the onus of the receiver to give feedback on food and service, so the owner needs to admit fault, not make excuses or justifications, listen to the ranting and raving client and then simply apologize with a solution to the problem. Show appreciation for the feedback. Remember, the client is always correct.

I am in the marketing game with a lot of clients in many different sectors. We have clients that applaud us for the work that we do and give us regular feedback on successes through campaigns that we have come up with. But (yes, there is always a but), some clients will not tell you that your marketing is working for them. They want you to think that the money they spend with you is actually not working for them. Why is this? Why do people withhold recognition and appreciation?

We recently took on a restaurant that has been in St Francis Bay since 1996, fantastic position, food and service. He set us a challenge to get more feet into his restaurant and that he would not be advertising anywhere else. We hit the campaign hard. We knew that it was working because his staff told us. On Friday I get a call from him to congratulate us and that the campaign is working. “My heart feels warm again,” he said to me. That is music to our ears and makes me want to do even more for him, over and above.

What has also come through over the very many years of running businesses in St Francis Bay is that the people that have been in business for a very long time adhere to good business principles. These are the people that have our full attention. The fly-by-nighters disappear.

FEEDBACK is so incredibly important. Businesses cannot improve their quality and service if customers/clients do not give feedback. Again, is this fair? Especially in a small town like ours! We all need to do good business and ultimately survive. If we all survive, we are so much stronger. If we all do good business, the more people we will attract to our area.

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