As your business goes through a period of significant change, the people most affected by the change will need to have their say on how this change is implemented. This means getting regular feedback from both your customers and your employees throughout the process.
There can be many reasons why an organisation undergoes change.
You could be planning a major departmental restructure or you may want to significantly change your product offering. Regardless, this will affect everyone – customers and employees alike.
Getting their feedback isn’t just a common courtesy, but it can help you achieve your goals.
Why get feedback from customers?
You need to get feedback from customers when going through change to find out what is important to them.
It’s likely you have competitors, but there’s a reason your customers choose you. Something you do stands out from the crowd, so you want to be sure you don’t lose that edge.
For example, a catering equipment business may be thinking of ceasing production of catalogues and no longer sending them to customers. After all, sales directly from the catalogue have been in decline for years.
However, what if your customer feedback tells you that – while customers don’t place orders directly through the catalogues anymore – chefs browse your catalogue in the kitchen before heading online to buy?
And what if your data team can confirm a spike in online traffic and sales following the new release of a catalogue?
From speaking to customers you can learn what works for them and gain insights into the viability of your proposed changes.
Why get feedback from employees?
Feedback from employees when going through change is the key to understanding how your plans may affect morale, productivity, and performance.
Much like your customers, your employees have a great understanding of what matters in the day-to-day running of your organisation. If you make changes without consulting them, there’s the possibility you may negatively impact the team.
You also need to know your employees’ satisfaction and engagement levels – and find out how they feel about working for you.
If you know that your staff love their team but feel you pay below the market value, then unless you’re going to rectify it, you have to be careful about how you’re seen spending your budget.
Implementing costly changes (such as hiring more senior managers on big salaries) could affect the morale of your lower level staff who feel they are being undervalued.
Similarly, if you don’t take the time to understand their day-to-day roles, you may make changes that can have a big affect on the way they operate.
Therefore, it’s always crucial to involve employees early in the decision-making process.
How to get feedback from customers effectively
To get feedback from customers when you’re planning changes, you can utilise:
- online surveys distributed via email, website, or social media
- focus groups
- postal surveys
- face-to-face interviews using paper or an offline app
- Seminars or workshops
To get feedback from employees when you’re planning changes, you have a few more options:
- send online surveys to all relevant colleagues via email or intranet – perhaps anonymously so people can speak honestly without fear of reprisal
- delegate to managers and supervisors to personally get feedback from team members
- host workshops and seminars where a senior member of staff can give presentations and invite comments from the room
- distribute paper surveys to employees
- invite written feedback to a dedicated email address or internal postal address
Put simply – feedback from customers and employees during periods of change helps you avoid making mistakes that can negatively impact the way you operate.