Why is Direct Feedback from Your Customers Magical?
Updated: Sep 6
In our last blog we talked about the magical effect that customers can have on your employees. When customers directly share their experiences with employees it exponentially increases worker motivation. It has been found to be the most powerful managerial tool in the leadership toolbox.
What are the secrets behind this magic?
According to Adam Grant, organizational psychologist, there are three basic mechanisms that create this mystic dynamic.
Impact: For many companies, employees are removed by several layers from their clients. When employees can see and hear how their work directly impacts someone else, it creates a unique experience. Medtronic, a medical device company understands this. The majority of their workforce are engineers who design the equipment. At their annual holiday party, patients are invited to share their stories about how the company’s medical technologies changed their lives which humanizes the work for the engineers.
Appreciation: Hearing the gratitude that clients express makes employees feel more valued. Client accolades give employees a sense of how their day to day tasks fit into the big picture of serving the client’s needs. Let’s Go Publications, a travel guide company, has their managers circulate the feedback they receive from readers sharing their excitement and appreciation over navigating internationally to experience new cultures. This direct and specific expression of appreciation provides a unique connection between the employee’s daily work and its impact on end users.
Empathy: Employees develop a deeper understanding of customer’s problems leading to an empathetic commitment to their work when they directly connect to clients. Particularly in complex tasks, workers can become focused on developing elegant solutions that will impress colleagues. They can lose sight of what the customer needs. At Microsoft, researchers Michael Cusumano and Richard Selby interviewed a lab manager that explained the impact of in person feedback this way; “Rather than developers saying things like, ‘Well, they can just look in the manual if they don’t know how to use it,’. They immediately empathize with the person”. The manager went on to note that face-to-face connection with the end user motivated his team to design software that was more effective.
Impact, Appreciation and Empathy are the elements that make employee-customer interactions such a useful and powerful tool.
How can you develop these types of opportunities in your business? We will give you plenty of ideas in our next blog.