Do You React to Bad News or Respond to It?

See no evil. As a third-party provider of Customer Satisfaction surveys and Quality Assessment, our group has delivered a tremendous number of reports to a wide array of companies over the past 25 years. We've delivered a lot of good news (which is always fun). More often than not we make presentations that start with a variation on the theme: "there's some good news, and some bad news." Once in a while, we're stuck presenting information that we know the client doesn't want to hear.

When the data paints a bleak picture you discover the true character of your client. Ultimately, I've witnessed one of two responses:

  1. Deny, Dispute, Deflect, & Ditch. It usually begins with disputing the data and the methodology, progresses to pointing blame elsewhere, and ends with the data getting buried in "the circular file." It's always fascinating to me to watch it. I beleive, in most cases, it's hard for people to get past the initial fearful reaction to the information. Experience tells me that this course rarely ends well, and never ends as well as it could.
  2. Accept, Aim, Arrange, & Act. Good data, whether it's from a customer survey or a Quality Assessment, is priceless information. It gives you a clear picture of where you stand and the course you need to take. I beleive, in most cases, people who take this course are able to get past their initial fearful reaction and consciously respond to the information. I'm always excited to watch someone take the data, even the bad news, and realize that it's a road map for their success. Watching people use the data to improve their service, their customer's satisfaction and their own future helps to keep me motivated each day.

The next time the data doesn't look good, catch yourself reacting and choose to respond.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and billyrowlinson

  1 comment for “Do You React to Bad News or Respond to It?

  1. April 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Good data, whether it’s from a customer survey or a Quality Assessment, is priceless information. It gives you a clear picture of where you stand and the course you need to take. I beleive, in most cases.

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