How We Receive and Process Criticism


How open are you to customer feedback?  I know, it’s not one of those questions we really like to answer. And, are we ever truly honest with ourselves? Let’s think about how we receive and process criticism.

We have spent most of the last year talking about ratings and reviews.  We have talked about how to ask for reviews, how to respond to reviews, and even how different generations react to reviews. Now it is time that we examine ourselves if want to continue to make significant improvements.

We need to make it a goal to openly receive and process criticism and customer feedback. Most of us loathe feedback, even if we don’t admit it. Just the idea of it can create anxiety. However, I promise it does get easier over time. Criticism is an inevitable part of business, and you should never try to avoid it. It could actually be the key to your success.

To keep an open mind, you need to know how you personally receive feedback.  How do you process it, and how long does it take for you to process it? Getting negative customer feedback (whether an external or internal customer) is kind of like getting a less than desirable performance review or mystery shop.  People often react poorly by getting defensive, or they stop listening, or they even get angry.

A long time ago, I had a manager who had a really hard time with feedback. As soon as something negative was said, she would shut down and stop listening. She would get so focused on the first point that she couldn’t see the entire picture to understand how to improve things. Witnessing her response was actually one of the best things for me.  It made me more self aware.  I was able to step back and evaluate myself and my own flaws and areas for improvement.

I now know I can be dismissive of things I don’t want to hear. So, I read through the feedback and have those dismissive moments and maybe silently utter a few inappropriate words. And then I go back a few hours later and read it again with an open mind. Some of us need more time to receive and process criticism, but that’s okay. The important thing is keep an open mind.

How do you receive and process criticism and customer feedback?

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Misty Sanford
Social Insight Thought Leader
Renter’s Voice