In today’s instant gratification world, many professional healthcare practices, B to B firms, and customer service business owners hear some version of this question with increasing regularity. Not a bad thing to be asked. Huh? Well. because there’s always room for an answer when you know what the question is.
In fact, NOT hearing some version of “Whaddayadonfermelately?” is far worse than being asked because the unasked question itself portends a “not much” answer.
Savvy proactive service business owners and managers never allow any form of this question to surface in the first place. Their secret? Regular, ongoing “How Goes It?” inventory exchanges. Meetings and discussions (note NOT text messages or emails, which are too superficial) that chunk up and evaluate workflow, deliverables, and performance.
These usually daily or weekly assessments (which generally best occur on Monday mornings to set up the week ahead) are typically followed by a call to action — adjustments in the timing, speed, quality, quantity, agility, relevance, attitude, goals, roles, responsibilities . . . whatever steps will help ensure productive forward motion from point to point.
And when you were a kid (no doubt possessing prototypical entrepreneurial characteristics such as resentment of authority in school and reluctance to follow rules), you might have thought report cards were nonsense — or perhaps unpleasant harbingers of parental lectures?
But “report card” dynamics in service businesses –especially when they’re self-imposed– have saved many client accounts and relationships from collapse. Instead, as some family elder likely forewarned us as children when we had clearly overstepped or under-achieved, it’s a good thing to “nip it in the bud” when it comes to following a problem direction.
When you, the service provider, take the initiative to nip problems “in the bud,” by requesting regular, ongoing feedback and assessment from your client/customer/patient, you are exercising a form of positive preventive maintenance. And this is not even to mention the other values attached to the client’s impression of your commitment.
Asking for feedback is an admirable posture all by itself but, more importantly, you are opening the communication expressway to allow for more give and take, and a healthier more communicative and more rewarding relationship that operates from a position of strength and confidence, instead of one of cowering and covering your butt.
How do YOU feel about doing business with s0meone who makes assumptions instead of asks? Or someone who disappears when the going gets tough or when you have issues to discuss? Hmmm?
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