feedback – it’s powerful stuff
Receiving criticism probably sits near the bottom of your list of favourite things. We don’t like it either. But criticism isn’t all bad. When it’s constructive, it’s helpful. And even if it’s scathing, it can provide the wake-up call necessary to kickstart change.
Since 2018, we’ve been asking our clients to look at our performance and let us know – in no uncertain terms, if necessary – what they think. As you’d expect, there have been times when analysing the feedback has been painful. We don’t set out to disappoint, but occasionally we have. The good news is that identifying where we’ve messed up is the first stage in making sure it doesn’t happen again.
If a client’s assessment appears, at first sight, to be unduly harsh, we’d be foolish to dismiss it. We only know one side of the story and it’s hard to be fully self-aware. Our work should be looked at from above, below and sideways to get the full picture. That apparently-harsh criticism could be misplaced or completely justified but we won’t know until we take it seriously. So, we do.
To help us get a clear picture, we ask for what we call 360o feedback. Clients are asked to rate our performance in 6 areas:
- Programme (adherence to schedules)
- Environmental Issues
- Commercial matters
Within these categories, clients can rate our performance as either A: No issues, B: Minor issues, or C: Major issues.
Would we love it if every feedback form came back to us with six straight A’s? The answer to that might surprise you. It’s “Yes and no”. Here’s why.
While we’d like to give faultless service every time, as a business committed to continuous improvement, we need to be aware of anywhere we’re slipping up, and from time to time, there will be problems. We are human. Sometimes there’s a missed communication or a misunderstanding.
Sometimes third parties cause problems. We want clients to give us an honest and fair evaluation of our performance. We don’t want them to treat the feedback form as a box-ticking exercise because their feedback is valuable.
Feedback helps us make decisions. It helps us see where we need to invest, where our training might need reinforcing, where we can provide better information, where we can offer better value, where quality is an issue and, crucially, it highlights any safety considerations. If any of these areas need our attention, we don’t want an A-rating. We want to know what needs fixing, and when we know, we’ll sort it.
As we said earlier, criticism can be unpleasant but here’s what taking it onboard can achieve.
|In 2019, our ratings were as follows:||A: 68% B: 25% C: 7%|
|In 2020, the statistics showed:||A: 89% B: 10 % C: 1%|
|In 2021, the numbers were:||A: 92% B: 8% C: 0%|
It’s clear progress. But if we achieve 100% A ratings, we’ll still ask for feedback, because this is a changing world. As one client commented alongside their A-rating: “No incidents to report, long may it continue.”