Ep172: Navigating Negative Feedback

28 minutes

Received some negative feedback? Before you react or internalize the feedback, we have a few things to say that may change your mind about what it means. 

Why is that important for business? 

In business, you are bound to get feedback, solicited or not. And some of it is bound to be negative. If you are someone who cares about delivering value and not disappointing people, your instinct might be to internalize that feedback and make changes to aspects of your business. But there are a few things you should consider first. 

Are these outliers?

Determining whether the feedback, whether incredibly negative or incredibly positive, exist only on the margins is important context you need to give them. What percentage of the whole do they represent? Are you reacting to 6 reviews out of 50 as if they are the whole truth? The truth is nuanced and is not shaped just by people who have decided to speak up. Also, unless it is mandatory, you aren’t going to hear from the large middle of people who are satisfied. People give feedback when they have a strong emotional reaction to something, and that can skew perceptions. 

Is this feedback about you?

Feedback always tells you more about the person giving the feedback than it does about your thing. There is a balance that has to be struck between a need to receive feedback, and the need to filter that feedback. Feedback requires discernment. 

Is the feedback authentic or representative?

There is a difference between authentic feedback from individuals, and representative feedback of the whole. You need a sense of the representative in order to put the individual feedback in perspective.  

Are you reacting?

Feedback is hard. It’s like a body blow, and you should wait to decide how to react until the sting is no longer present. Once you are more mentally prepared to react, you can see areas where you can better fulfill (or clarify) expectations, and you can also just help ensure people feel heard. 

But before you change some aspect of your business in response to this feedback, consider it might be the audience that needs to change – you might be altering the wrong variable. It might be the perfect thing, unchanged, just for a different clientele. This is where discernment is again important.

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