This year we broke an old Chain Gang habit and canvassed everyone for feedback on our bike tours. And I’m glad I did. Most of the comments were very flattering, and that’s lovely, but some weren’t.
I recognise that I find criticism hard to deal with. Our tours are very precious to me, and I feel very protective towards France, Italy, and all the tours we run. When someone doesn’t enjoy themselves I find myself thinking very defensively.
My first response is typically from the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ school of customer service, also known as ‘French-style’. But the truth is that I usually know the bits of our tours I’m unhappy with, or the weeks when things went wrong, so negative feedback usually just serves to remind me of errors I already know I’ve made. And I hate that.
But, getting all the feedback in together serves to emphasise both the unacceptable and the wonderful. Added to which, if Clare sees all the feedback emails in the office, I can’t pretend it didn’t happen. So, we’ve turned into a responsive Tour Operator, just like that. We ask our customers what they think, and then we see if we can’t meet their expectations.
Wow! Put like that it makes us sound like a wonderful business that loves its customers and treats them well! A long journey, but we’ve taken the first step. Feedback. It’s brutal, man!