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Matching Performance Standards and Customer Feedback 7 Ways To Put the Perform in Performance

A Close Link. When customers provide feedback they're also telling you how well your staff are meeting performance standards. Sometimes we forget that the standards and feedback are closely linked. And we miss a major opportunity to discover whether our staff performance standards are adequate.

1. Feedback and Performance: Not Form Filling. No one likes filling out forms. Your customers are no exception. So don't ask them. If you must use a form for customer feedback find an inducement so that they'll complete and return it. A brief personal talk or a phone call will gain you more useful information than a form.

2. Show Customers You Are Serious. Leaving a blank form in a "prominent" place and doing nothing else tells customers you don't really value their opinion. Form design is important too. It's easier for customers to tick boxes than to write statements. A telephone or face to face interview shows your genuine interest.

3. Ask The Right Questions. You want your customers to tell you four things * what they enjoyed about dealing with you * what they didn't like about dealing with you * how you could improve the transaction * whether your staff met your performance standards

The meeting or not of performance standards may also be part of the first three objectives.

4. Be Specific. Make sure that your questions are absolutely specific. Say "Did the technician wear a clean uniform?" not "Was the technician clean and presentable?" or "Did he clean up to your satisfaction?" not "Did he leave a mess?" To make things easier for the customer, you could use Yes/No responses or seek "percentage" answers e.g. "If you were rating the serviceman on a 1-10 scale, what score would you give for keeping you well informed?" Avoid generalizations.

5. Doing It. List the performance standards that customers should experience. Write questions relating to each standard. Be careful to include all standards even if they seem small. What's small to you may be big to customers. Prepare a script incorporating the questions. A script is essential. Determine what you want your staff to say, the exact words to use, questions to ask and the order in which they should ask them. Get answers to all your questions. And before you conclude, always ask customers if there's anything else they'd like to say.

6. Using A Form. If you do use a form, still seek answers to specific questions. But leave plenty of room for "Any other comments". Remember, leave plenty of room not two lines squeezed in at the bottom of the page.

7. Review. If you've prepared your questions well and phrased them carefully, you'll obtain very valuable information. Use it prudently to improve staff performance, review and improve performance standards and as a basis to reward staff. Never use it as a "blunt instrument to beat people over the head with".

Conclusion. In a nutshell, performance standards make good business sense. They also help to ensure that customers get what they want. It makes sense to involve customers to help you assess staff performance. It also shows that in your business, staff performance and customer opinion are closely related.

About Author Leon Noone :

Leon Noone helps managers in small-medium business to improve on-job staff performance without training courses. Some say his ideas are too unconventional. Find out for yourself by reading his free Special Report “49 Practical Tips For Better People Management In Small-Medium Business”. Simply visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> and download your free copy now.

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Article Added on Friday, October 30, 2009
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