Ignorance is bliss

Negative feedback makes us either bitter or better.

If you are anything like me, you probably don’t enjoy receiving negative feedback. Even today, I still struggle to assimilate it and would much rather just put my fingers in my ears and ignore it. But as confronting as it is, I’ve grown to realise that an inability to tolerate negative feedback is an inability to allow personal growth.

Let’s face it; our industry has a propensity to fish for compliments. We often impel our clients into eulogising our service; but rather than seeking only good feedback, we should start seeking just feedback. Many of us have fragile egos and are not particularly receptive to constructive criticism, but it is often unwanted news that leads to positive adjustments and self-improvement. As bruising as it may be, we need to start listening to what we need to hear, not just what we want to hear, because if we are genuinely serious about raising the bar, we need to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly.

Here are my top 5 tips on dealing with feedback:

1. Stop cherry-picking

Whether it be the link for a review-hosting site or an internal equivalent, ensure that ALL clients are afforded the opportunity to provide feedback. A client will vent their dissatisfaction regardless; it’s better to face the music and limit the damage rather than duck below the parapet and potentially have your name and reputation discredited on social media.

2. Grow thick skin

We are hardwired to take negative feedback personally. To succeed in real estate you need to master and overcome rejection, so we should already be used to threats to our self-esteem. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

3. Arms-length

Studies have demonstrated that consumers are far more inclined to provide an honest assessment if they are providing feedback to an impartial third-party. By dealing with you directly, clients can feel a sense of obligation and are inclined to sugar-coat feedback, as they don’t want to say anything that might hurt your feelings. 

4. Accountability

You cannot manage what you cannot measure, so defining and assessing customer-centricity is essential. Ultimately, all feedback should be measurable, otherwise you won’t know whether you are improving. Implementing something as simple as a Net Promoter Score should suffice.

5. Hug your haters

We have a tendency to dismiss negative feedback, becoming defensive and trying to discredit it rather than facing up to it, but research shows that tackling it head-on often leads to a favourable outcome. If you deal with negative feedback properly, studies show that you can actually convert ‘haters’ into brand advocates.

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Doug Driscoll

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