My college degree’s in education so grading is just part of it. You might roll your eyes with thoughts of past exams flashing through your mind. But I think it’s an important part of getting better not only for you but for your team.
We use so many words for it:
Whatever term you want to use, feel free (well, within reason). Just make sure you’re checking yo self out.
What do I mean by that?
Every time you interact with a customer, you should know how you did. Here at 37signals, we have Smiley for that. Each person I talk with can select from three choices – “It was great”, “It was ok”, or “It wasn’t good”. We include the link at the end of every email so you have a chance to see how things are going each time. After you click on the rating, there’s also a chance to describe how things are going more in-depth.
While there’s a huge upside to your own version of Smiley, here’s the big two:
1) The customer knows you’re listening.
Time after time, my customers tell me that they’re glad I listened to them. I wasn’t some automated robot or a soul-less person just going through the motions. I helped solve the problem and then asked to know how they feel now. It’s a way for them to express exactly what they’re thinking without any anxiety or huge survey to fill out.
2) You know how each and every customer feels.
With Smiley, I can see the trends in how customers are reacting to me. Sometimes, it’s a heavy feature request day and I see a row of frowns. That means my wording’s off and I need a better way to express what I’m trying to say about their ideas. Other times, everything’s jiving, the customer feels the support love and wants us to know about it. Seeing those rows of green Smiley’s proves to be an awesome boost and lets you know you’re doing a great job.
If you don’t have some sort of feedback loop in place, start one right now. And keep it as simple as possible. Three choices (rather than a billion like most surveys) and a simple text box in case they want to let you know why they picked that choice. Your customers will love being able to talk about their experience and you’ll love seeing how your customers think you’re doing.
Are you using any type of system to grade yourself? Tell me about it in the comments!