by Kathryn Magura
Working in housing operations, and having a high standard for customer service, I often struggle with determining how best to solicit feedback from residents. I hear the complaints, and occasional thanks for services provided, but how can I seek out feedback on a consistent bases? Do we have enough avenues to provide feedback on our services? When we receive this feedback, how do we respond?
When I was in college, we had comment cards in all the campus dining centers, that allowed patrons to provide feedback on the food. Now we have electronic feedback forms and surveys to solicit feedback on services, but is that enough? Furthermore, once we have the feedback, what is our duty or responsibility to respond to it?
To add more complexity, most of us have embraced social media as a means to connect with students. What do we do when we receive feedback or criticism in such a public forum? Do we even have an option to not respond?
I am a firm believer in the need to seek out feedback on the procedures we have in place, and make improvements if they are not working. If students are confused by our room change process, something must be done to clarify the process. Our world is fast-paced, and like it or not, students expect responses quickly. If we seek out their feedback, we owe them some sort of response. Even if we can’t fix the issue the way they want (no, I will not move your roommate somewhere else so you can have a single), acknowledging they have valid feelings about the matter is a sign of respect.
In my department, we are expected to have a link to our web feedback form in our email signatures. This allows customers to provide honest (and anonymous, if they choose) feedback about our services. While many people do not even notice this tagline, others welcome the opportunity to pass along their thoughts on how we are doing as a business. Allowing for easy access to provide feedback helps build trust with customers.
One thing I will caution is if you solicit feedback, you better have the means to respond to the feedback in a timely manner. Acknowledging the feedback has been received, and addressing it appropriately will continue to build on the relationship established. Even if they end up taking their business elsewhere, it’s important to end the relationship in as positive a way as possible. Maintaining integrity in the relationship will be invaluable to our ability to persist with future customers.
So how do you solicit feedback? Once you have the feedback, how do you respond to it?