Exposing yourself to negative feedback is always hard. But it is a necessary step towards improvement. When helping vulnerable individuals in their quest for a more sustainable future, it can become easy to get caught up in the complaints about everything that is going wrong in their lives. However, by listening, you can unlock opportunities for growth for your organization and those individuals themselves.
Here are four different reasons you should be actively seeking feedback from vulnerable individuals your organization serves:
The most fundamental feedback you can receive as a service provider is an insight into which of your services are considered valuable by the population you serve. Knowing what services are appreciated and which people avoid allows you to redistribute resources to provide more of the services deemed useful or work on an internal marketing campaign to explain the other services' benefits.
By asking individuals to participate in feedback, you ask them to help shape their solutions. In doing so, you allow them to take a measure of ownership over their situation. This ownership is often a necessary step for individuals to take as they work their way out of whatever problem is currently afflicting them.
When voices are heard, it reinforces the value of the individual's expertise and helps stop the continuation of the feeling that the world is ignoring them.
As an organization that wants to improve, nothing fuels the fire of innovation quite like feedback. Feedback is the lifeblood of improvement, and getting regular feedback directly from your clients can help make sure that your efforts improve the situation instead of just being wasted.
If feedback is the fuel of improvement, then continuous improvement requires continuous feedback. Feedback leads to changes, leading to more feedback, which can then lead to even more changes. The constant iteration and refinement lead to more and more capable and efficient systems.
The real magic behind feedback isn't in the gathering, nor even the acting upon the input. It is when the person who gave the information realizes their voice is heard.
Often upon an organization's acknowledgment of their feedback, individuals gain a greater desire and trust to share more feedback forming a feedback loop. More and more feedback is shared, and the belief that the expertise of the individual sharing the input will be honored intensifies.
This feedback loop builds trust in the capacity, honesty, and genuineness of those giving services. The belief extends beyond just how comfortable someone is discussing areas of improvement. Organizations with a sound feedback system will have increased success in reaching service resistant individuals by slowly building trust through feedback loops.