Nothing random for October 6

I don’t have a lot today. It’s been a very emotional week in many ways. Because I’m an oversharer you will hear about it eventually. I can’t promise it won’t come as twaddle but it will be cathartic for me.

To say or not to say – I’m old school. When I’m not happy I prefer to give feedback. A business can’t fix something if they don’t know it’s broke. I also don’t like to hide behind an anonymous on-line review. I like them to know who I am so they can ask follow-up questions (or put me on a black list).

I try to give solid suggestions for improvement. Doing this without obscenities, accusations or sarcasm works best. This comes from over 40 years working in the business world. I’ve had my share of snarky one-liners flung at me like cow dung. They never help.

In one situation I wrote an old school letter which I mailed by snail mail. There wasn’t a satisfactory email option on their website that assured me it would go to the right person. It was worth the trouble as I want the business to survive and grow. They are nearby and offer a service I occasionally need.

The second situation received on-line feedback. It was a very positive experience where the staff went way above and beyond. I know it will be printed, copied and circulated among the staff. There is nothing more important than sending a “feel good” letter to brighten someone’s day. Also, you want to reinforce positive behavior.

For the last feedback situation, I chose a face-to-face discussion. There is nothing like looking someone in the eye for communication. I fear this art is lost these days. It’s very effective. Unfortunately this was a negative one but it was quickly resolved as soon as they knew about it. Lickety split as I like to say.

Negative feedback isn’t any easier for me. It comprised a good part of my job for many years. I learned to say the truth as articulately as possible. Keep to the facts in an even voice. Keep emotion and non-essentials (like you are really stupid) out of it. Delivery is always key. And speed. Do it as soon as you can and as quickly as you can otherwise you agonize too much. You get better at it with experience.

I only do feedback for things that matter to me. There are many times it’s easier to stop patronizing a business. Sometimes the things that annoy cannot be fixed like an overly noisy restaurant or bad food. I’ve switched doctors because of their staff. There are alternative options but giving feedback is always a good one.

How about you? Feedback or beat feet?

Here’s hoping this coming week will be more peaceful and non-confrontational.

66 thoughts on “Nothing random for October 6

  1. I often feel too busy to give feedback. I did when I was in the hospital though, nominating a nurse’s aide for a big award. My actual nurses were pretty awful, but she went above and beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I very rarely give negative, or any form of constructive criticism/feedback, because I have determined it’s mostly a waste of my time. I really don’t like admitting that. I know it’s very pessimistic, but I never hear a response when I do, so that’s determined my inaction. Maybe I should think more about that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are not wrong. I sent a letter out last week and no one reached out to me. These days it’s rare for me to go to the trouble except when I want something to change. It seems to be a waste of time but if someone on the other end thinks before acting next time, I wouldn’t know. That change would be worth it.

      Like

  3. This was never my forte. When I was supervisor I tried very hard to be very intentional about these interactions and I think I mostly did OK. Not great. Not inspiring. But I don’t think I said things off the cuff that were not necessary or were insults.
    Since my emotional well being has broken down, I’m terrible at it. I tried to give some feed back to a person in our office who isn’t flourishing. My job is a sort of unintentional catch all for everyone else’s mistakes. My intention was to tell her that she needed to develop a personal plan and process to mitigate her repeated mistakes. What I said was “Trying harder isn’t good enough” I also said she needs to work out an actual improvement plan, but of course not much else got by that statement. She didn’t cry in front of me but she was verging. She went into hysterics after I left her. Instead of encouraging a positive change, I created a sense of overwhelming hopelessness.
    About the only thing I am competent at is apologies. So that helped later. But I’m not good on feedback. sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not everybody’s forte. Some do it even when they are bad at it! (really bad) I did a lot of conflict management training so I understand the mechanics but that doesn’t mean that the person on the receiving end is ready or open to hear it. In the work place it’s easier because that’s what people get paid for. If she doesn’t figure it out, she may lose her job. In relationships, it’s much harder.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So, did all those “feedback” situations happen last week?

    As you may have guessed about me, I don’t hold back. When I was young, I used to offer feedback about everything. I wasn’t tactful either. I had a lot of growing up to do.

    Now, I’m totally in step with how you give feedback. I’ve learned to pick my battles, give feedback kindly and tactfully to services that need a bit of ‘tweaking,’ and I also like to offer positive feedback when I get good service. When my husband was working in the service arena, he said he actually liked to get feedback so he knew how to make things better. He called it an “opportunity.”

    Funny you should write this today. I just drafted a post with a similar but not exact topic. Not sure if or when I’ll post it, though. Been busy.

    I hope things are going better for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, all in one week. I was in communication overload! When I worked I always appreciated feedback because sometimes you don’t know how you come across. When I was young I often would avoid giving negative feedback but I ended up in a profession where I had to do it often. Once you learn the technique, it’s not so bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I usually ignore the bad situations because I haven’t had much luck confronting them. I was inspired to do so recently–the mess of a product I received in an online order was so horrid, I thought it was product tampering. Well, between the thank yous and the we’re sorries and the blowing me off, I am again going to ignore future problems. I’ll just never buy from them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry to hear that life has been tough. I hope it improves, Kate… I agree with your last commenter, and by never being grumpy or critical, just saying gently how it was, I’ve never had a bad experience when giving negative feedback. And I really believe in giving people credit.. like telling the doctor’s receptionist how much I appreciate the way they do their job, answering the phone, shepherding people in and out of the different doctors, the nurse, the blood centre and so on, while all the time taking payments and organising prescriptions. They always glow when I show my appreciation and tell them why…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Positive feedback is always fun to give, is always received well and is rarely the problem. This past week I had a staff person throw her hands in my face and say “Don’t tell me!” I wasn’t angry at that point. She was my connection to the business so if I couldn’t tell her who could I tell. I wrote a letter to her boss. For the most part, people in businesses aren’t like that. If something unusual is going and you are affected, they will let you know. This type of situation happens so rarely. I did end the week on a very positive situation. I needed special treatment and I got it (without any negativity on my part). I thanked everyone including the janitor!

      Like

  7. I believe in feedback too – I will give unsolicited kudos too, but I hate when companies ask for constant feedback and “stroking” via surveys that take more than the suggested “few minutes” to complete them. Then I get angry. The angriest I get is at Comcast and I speak my mind when they solicit me to get the bundle (to include phone and cable which I don’t want either right now – I only have internet). I want my landline phone as long as I am working as I use my speaker phone all the time and don’t want internet phone – we have it at work (also Comcast) and it often goes out. I asked Comcast to update my profile so they don’t call back … they call anyway. Sometimes they disguise the phone number or it says Comcast other times. Quarerly they begin anew with trying to get me signed up They ring off the hook and call back every few hours … I usually take the phone off the hook a second and replace it, but when they have irritated me when I’m already in a bad mood, then I lash out and hang up and hope they don’t take it out on my internet connection since I need it for work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those “just a few minutes” surveys make me laugh. Periodically I get one from Starbucks but it’s less than 5 questions. Since my experience locally is good I’ve never had to give negative feedback on it but I wondered if I did, if it would open into further questions to delve into the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always figure if they are anonymous that there is some way they can trace your response, unless they use a third-party survey company. Our energy provider asks way too many questions and they repeat themselves on top of it!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s a mix for me. I always give positive feedback if I have a very positive experience. For negative situations, I will mostly just stop patronizing the business. Sometimes I give feedback if I feel like there’s any chance it will be helpful or received as intended. Like you, I try to keep it fact based and not emotional or abusive. Neither of those things helps anybody!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I try to give feedback when it is warranted (good or bad). I often ignore those annoying automatic requests surveys that are emailed to us after an event, though. Two of the most satisfying opportunities to provide feedback happened to me recently. The bad: my husband and I ordered and picked up a pizza from a large chain. I was able to tell them (via one of those follow-up surveys) that our pizza had almost no toppings on it and that we won’t be back. The good: I wrote a heartfelt letter of thanks to a doctor – who wasn’t even my primary – who went above and beyond to get me some information from another doctor (who was retired and had moved away) that I needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your second story. I have a great story about a local vet that I had never patronized going the extra mile for me. That will be my Friday post. As for pizza, we were getting it delivered from a local place. It was always good, then it wasn’t. I hate when it’s over baked and the cheese is dark brown. I started to make the delivery guy wait until I checked it but in the end we switched pizza places. Life is too short.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Feedback takes skill.
    Sadly so many places now don’t care to hear you. People you can reach can’t do anything about it many times – and their not interested attitude stems from that. (They aren’t worth getting aggravated over)
    I do try to get positive feedback to where it may benefit the person down the line as well as telling them in person at the time. Seems few bother to interact with others these days and many are surprise if you comment on their skill/action. What a world we’ve become

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m bad about face-to-face encounters when I need to complain about something, but I do think you’re right that sometimes that’s the best way. I’m better on the phone, but I think you’re right that sometimes it’s best for them to see you in the flesh. There is nothing like eye-contact.

    I have received very little feedback from any comment I’ve left online or even with emails. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • My snail mail went out at the beginning of last week to the owner of a company. I’m curious if I will get any response or reach out. I read their mission statement on line and they weren’t living it!

      Like

  12. I vote with my feet. Whether it is a personal friend/relationship or a business if it isn’t working I walk… beat feet. Emails, texts, even comments on blogs are all too easily misunderstood or misinterpreted. I don’t like hurt feelings. I worked retail most of my life and I always make sure that when treated well I say “thank you” and give a positive response. Hope you have a better week, Kate. Based on our past week I could have typed and typed here but I kept it short… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. If I have a strong opinion about something I’ll give feedback. My strong opinion may be negative or positive, but I have to care. People doing a good job, I’ll tell them such, but I say *whatever* more often than I ever would have thought I’d say it. Indifference has turned me into a “beat feet” person.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Bill and I are both passive, non-confrontational people who blame ourselves first for failures and quietly accept things. However, we have learned recently (from our son) to reach the top man responsible for problem solving in a company and not be afraid to move from reasonable complaints to escalating discussions backed up by emails. We just had a shower updated and there was standing water in the base. After squeegies and open door strategies and still having standing water, we finally emailed the owner, and talked about the danger of mold and disease, etc., as well as a possible Better Business Bureau report. We also held back some payment. The shower base is now dry.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Feedback is important when like you said, its a situation that really matters. Confrontation isn’t easy for me, but if I want the situation to change, I need to say something , for they can’t read my mind.
    I love how you sent some positive feedback in a letter, for it seems that too many are more consumed with giving negative feedback. That when a company or someone goes above and beyond, we say Thanks, but don’t give it as much attention as we should! Its just as important to let people know that they are doing a great job as it is to let people know about problems!
    Hugs to you on your week, hope this coming week brings more good things your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You can always catch more flies with honey than vinegar. I’m a firm believer in sharing thoughts, both positive and negative fairly. Over the top superlatives aren’t necessary with either. An honest not accusatory comment has the opportunity to brighten a spirit or change someone’s behavior for the good every time. Bravo to you for recognizing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This past weekend my husband and I went for a quick get-away to Seattle. Before we had returned home, I had received six on-line surveys requesting feedback (the ferry, the hotel, the stadium and three restaurants where we had used our credit card). I don’t usually respond to that kind fo survey. But when service is exceptionally good, or exceptionally poor, I do try to share an honest, constructive opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Six is a lot! Even with Amazon, if there are 1200 reviews on an item and mine would be no different I rarely review. If there are 2, that’s different story. Someone may be sitting on the fence about it so I do review. The kind of request you got doesn’t always give you a lot to say unless something was outstanding or bad. Much of time I comment that it was as I expected.

      Like

  18. I like to give both positive and…um…constructive feedback. Depending on how it is received will determine my next move. However I will pick my battles. Sometimes the person is not worth the effort. Casting pearls before swine and all that…

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I rarely ever give feedback or leave reviews, but I’ve tried to do both — good and bad. I really should leave more positive reviews because it does make people feel better! It has to be a really bad experience for me to take the time to give negative feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree for negative. Slight disappointments aren’t cause for me to give feedback (unless asked). It has to be something BIG and something that I care about because I want to patronize again.

      Like

  20. I believe in giving feedback too, good or bad, usually by means of a letter, though my recent treatment and attendance at the breast clinic resulted in hugs as well as thanks.
    I remember many years ago my Mum had been visiting a friend in Devon and was returning to Poole on the coach. Hubby and I were on pick up duty. The coach was delayed, but no-one in the office could tell us by how long or what was going on, so we went home and checked on the internet/website for updates. Realising the coach would arrive at the depot now before us, I rang the security office and asked them to look out for my Mum until we got there. We found Mum engaged in animated conversation with a bear of a man who having seen some young louts loitering around the bus station, stayed with her until we arrived. He then carried her case (too heavy for us to wheel, let alone lift, so it gives you an idea of how big he was) to our car and went back on duty. Not only did I write to the security company expressing my thanks, but I also wrote to the local paper. Both were copied and put up on the staff notice board as they boosted morale no end. Mum had been thrilled to have her personal bodyguard for about half an hour, having no idea of the potential danger she may have been in.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I worked in hospital administration for years – where people go to complain, not compliment – so I got very used to listening and helping if I could. Kind of made me feel differently about complaining unless it was really something BIG to complain about. I’m at an age where I let the little stuff go. Maybe that makes me a “weinie” but life is simpler. It’s also not perfect (unfortunately) so I will certainly not let something ridiculous pass me by but most stuff I just deal with. I also am one to compliment those who deserve it and I guess I do that a whole lot more than complain.

    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    • No you are not a weinie! You pick your battles wisely. What made this week so extraordinary was that I have 3 instances of feedback. I will go a year without any because the small stuff isn’t worth the time. I’m more concerned when it involves health issues, larger money issues or abuse of time.

      Like

  22. Feedback is important. Sadly, some people are too defensive to take even the gentlest critique or criticism in stride. When that happens, I head for the nearest EXIT.

    Sorry you had a tough week, Kate. Share what you want when you’re ready.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I believe feedback is important for growth. But, it also seems like people are way more sensitive and defensive nowadays, even when a negative is given artfully.
    Years ago I had read something that I still use when giving feedback. It works the majority of the time. Start the conversation with something nice, tactfully say the negative, but always end conversation with a positive.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. This is an ongoing argument between the husband and me. He is anti-feedback. Like you, I think you can only fix something if you know there’s an issue. But he is the son of immigrants, who believe in keeping your head down and not making waves, while I am the daughter of a privileged white woman who was an attorney and lived for “let me speak to your manager” situations.

    Once we had a kid, though, a whole new realm of situations and issues opened. How do you cope with a problematic teacher/ coach/ child watch employee without having it blowback on your child? When do you intervene and at what age do you have to teach your kid how to cope with adults who have issues?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I believe giving feedback – positive or negative – should be done in a cordial way. When I give negative feedback, I always start with positive praise – something I did like, some employee who was awesome. For negative feedback, I start sentences that are non-blaming/non-finger-pointing, such as, “Maybe you’re too busy to notice this, but I noticed it and wanted to call your attention to it.” Like you, I want my feedback to provide the business with the opportunity to learn and grow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That technique is the gold standard. Too many people don’t express themselves when they first notice something. Instead they let it build until they blow. I believe in letting people know when they are awesome all the time.

      Like

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s