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Good Feedback


The south Dublin café owner is proud of the business he’s growing, and rightly so. In just twelve months he’s built a thriving small business that’s become a meeting place for locals. The kind of place people recommend to their friends. A café people want to return to and talk about.

If you spend any time there, you’ll notice that he asks every customer for feedback.

‘What did you think of the coffee? How was the breakfast? Did you enjoy that?’

He gets the same response every time. Everything is always ‘brilliant’ or ‘lovely’ according to the customers at this cafe. It seems that there’s no room for improvement. Of course, that can’t possibly be true. There are many tiny tweaks the owner could make to improve the customer experience.

Why we ask for feedback changes how we ask for it.
And how we ask for feedback changes the feedback we get.

Many people, even paying customers, are too polite or too busy to criticise and give generous feedback. It’s not in our nature to want to look someone in the eye and tell them they got it wrong, especially when we sense they are doing their best to get it right. Not all good feedback is good feedback. We improve by seeking out generous bad feedback. We do that by being honest about why we want feedback in the first place. And then by asking the right questions, of the right people, at the right time. Questions that sometimes get responses we don’t want to hear.

Image by Garry Knight

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