The importance of feedback from clients and staff
The importance of feedback begins in our formative years. Our parents/guardians tell us right from wrong by ‘feeding back’ to us, rewarding good behaviours to reinforce and instil, while correcting the bad. At school, you learn through tests, lessons and marking, and you receive feedback on your work to improve or encourage. Working life is no different. Feedback from colleagues and clients can help to improve and enhance our performance on an individual level or collectively as an agency.
Providing positive anecdotal feedback regarding an individual is authentic and can boost morale. Never underestimate the power of positive feedback and its ripple effect.
Cath Foster, Account Director
Why we should give feedback
Feedback is everywhere - at Fresh Egg, we use feedback via our clients’ data, user testing, audience interviews and stakeholder interview, placing the customer at the heart of everything we do, underpinning and refining our recommendations using this feedback.
Welcoming and encouraging direct feedback from clients has provided many benefits over the years of working within Client Services. It helps to:
- Foster effective communication
- Build trust and healthy relationships
- Build honesty and transparency
- Avoids issues festering
- Identify areas of improvement
- Provide a basis of collaborative problem solving
- Develop a better understanding and appreciation of each other’s situation
All of the above benefits can positively influence team motivation, engagement and collaboration. However, while feedback (in all its various guises) is crucially important and can lead to many constructive outcomes, it needs to be ‘good’ feedback. I don’t mean that all feedback can only be positive; I refer to how feedback is collected or provided. Feedback provided in the wrong way or poorly communicated can end up becoming destructive rather than constructive.
Top-tips for smart feedback
Here are a few pointers on providing ‘smart’ feedback that the Fresh Egg Client Services team have learned along the way:
- Requesting permission to provide feedback and extend the opportunity to receive feedback: This allows both parties to be ready to receive or provide reciprocal feedback, don’t catch them off guard.
- Preparation: Don’t blindly go into a conversation with little thought. Consider the other parties and be empathetic to their situation, particularly when there is an occasion where you are giving tricky feedback. Structure the feedback in a clear and concise method, making notes ahead of the session.
- Provide examples: Always anticipate people will want to understand the feedback through real examples, have these to hand – this helps to keep the conversation factual and avoids any vagueness.
- Objective and constructive: Deliver feedback that can allow for constructive growth, aim to focus around the work rather than individual if possible.
- Consider the frequency: Over time, it may become a natural element to the relationship, but it is always helpful to have regular points at which feedback can be collected and provided. The frequency depends on any given situation, but quarterly is likely a solid place to start from a client/agency relationship. Having said that, if there are clear points that need discussion, do this in a timely fashion and don’t wait for the next ‘quarterly session’ to discuss.
- Don’t rush: Allow enough time to discuss all points; rushing could lead to undoing all the brilliant planning efforts!
The value of positive feedback
Ideally, suggesting working together to create solutions to any issues raised during feedback will help instil and extend the benefits of feedback sessions. Providing feedback positively can help individuals or collectives evaluate, improve, learn, and enhance future performance.
However, from my experience, I feel that positive anecdotal feedback regarding an individual requires a lot less planning and given whenever there is a suitable meeting/discussion. It is authentic and can boost morale all-round; never underestimate the power of positive feedback and its ripple effect.
During a recent client meeting, I provided some ad-hoc positive feedback to a new team member. The comments were warmly received and passed on. To my delight, a matter of days later, a post on LinkedIn appeared about the feedback. The post referenced the positive impact my comments had made, with the new team member stating it had 'made their day!' It is the small moments like that, really make the job.
So, with continual improvement in mind, have you recently asked people for feedback on your performance or of your team?