The value of feedback

Flicking through the TV channels recently I came across another product of the reality TV age, Undercover Boss.

Even if you haven’t seen the show, there’s a good chance you’re aware of the concept in which the owner of a company disguises themselves and joins their employees on the job for a day to find out what’s really happening inside their business.

While my attention span for this sort of programme is relatively short, what I saw left me thinking about the value to businesses of honest feedback – not just from staff, but also current and potential customers.

These days, particularly in Christchurch’s ever evolving market where competition is more fierce than ever, managing reputational risk is, or should be, a key component of any business strategy.

In the past, a media statement in the top drawer might have been considered enough. Not anymore. Social media and mainstream media – once upon a time just good friends – are now in a committed relationship with each other and the pillow talk can be very damaging, with one person’s online gripe being news within minutes.

But wearing a wig and fake glasses and going undercover is not the only way to find out what people are saying about your business or organisation. Other ways of keeping an ear to the ground include:

  • Asking your friends and trusted advisors what they are hearing out in the community
  • Giving your clients opportunities to provide feedback about their experiences
  • Using Google Alerts to monitor online chat about your business or organisation
  • Undertaking formal market research

Then, once you know what you don’t know, you will have the foundation of a communications strategy that will deliver genuine benefits to your business or organisation.

– Amy Carter, Partner