— September 3, 2018
As a business owner, feedback is everywhere. There’s feedback coming from your customers, your employees, your management team, and even your friends and family. However, in a world where everyone has their own opinions and individual preferences, it’s hard to know who exactly to listen to – especially when you might receive contradictory feedback.
As I’ve come to learn, getting feedback is only half the battle. In fact, it’s the easy half. The far taller task lies in determining what feedback is worth listening to and when it’s better to simply ignore it. From having to make these decisions myself, here are 8 scenarios where it’s actually okay to turn a blind eye to the feedback coming your way.
1. When the feedback is generic
It’s not that you should ignore generic feedback, it’s more that you simply can’t do anything with it. Learning from a customer that your services were “less than satisfactory” or “a horrible experience” only reveals to you that there’s room for improvement, but it doesn’t help you pinpoint what to actually improve on.
2. When the feedback is not from your target market
Your product or service can’t appeal to everyone. If you’re getting negative feedback from individuals not in your target market, then that’s usually okay. For instance, if you’re selling an ergonomic mouse designed only for left-handed individuals, it’s obviously going to be safe to ignore whatever negative feedback you get from right-handed customers who bought the mouse by mistake.
3. When the feedback contradicts what everyone else is saying
There’s always going to be that one person who says your customer support was a horrendous experience for them even though everyone else has said your customer support is what elevates your business above all your competitors. In fact, this was actually feedback I got just a couple weeks ago, and while it’s easy to fixate over one individual’s remarks, it’s far more important to look for trends within the feedback you’re receiving. After all, you’re inevitably going to get contradictory feedback, so let the majority rule.
4. When the feedback is unreasonable
Some people’s demands are simply going to be impossible to meet. Every customer is going to want the highest quality product possible with as many features as possible while paying as little as possible. From a practical standpoint though, these types of demands are often impossible, so don’t bother stressing over them.
5. When the feedback has an ulterior motive behind it
If your service has a money back guarantee or your product can be refunded, customers will make up any complaint they can think of in order to justify getting their money back – even if it’s entirely untrue. It’s also possible for your competitors to spam your company with fake reviews that provide misleading feedback in the process. Before taking any feedback into consideration, it’s important to vet its source. In particular, be wary of anonymous feedback, and at the same time take the feedback you get from verified customers and trusted people close to you more seriously.
6. When the feedback comes from someone who loves to complain
Some customers will never be happy. It’s just that simple. No matter how good your product or service is and how much you try to please them, these customers will always find a way to complain about something. In fact, these are the customers that end up giving the type of contradictory feedback that I warned about earlier, so it’s best to simply ignore them and move on.
7. When the feedback doesn’t hold up to scrutiny
You’re not always going to be getting feedback that makes sense. Your employees may tell you that customers are really loving the new product that was just released, but when you have the low sales figures in front of you that say otherwise, it’s usually best to trust the data. Just be sure not to let random feedback trump the facts of reality.
8. When the feedback isn’t as important as other stuff
Often times the feedback you get may be perfectly valid, but unimportant – or at least not important enough for you to take action on. There’s only so much time in the day and only so many things your company can work on at once, so be sure to prioritize the feedback you receive. Ask yourself, “If I listen to the feedback and make all the necessary adjustments, is this going to ultimately end up increasing the company’s bottom line?” If the answer is a definitive no, then it’s safe to ignore it.