Ever had someone criticise something that you did ? Doesn’t feel nice does it.

It is very uncomfortable to have someone tell you that you did not do a good job.

People tend to work very hard to avoid the sort of situations where we have to receive criticism.

We have all done it, avoided making a phone call because you knew that someone was going to complain to you/about you, or was unsatisfied about the service that they had received.

Property is a people business, and in my time in property I have come across all sorts of people.

Whether it is tenants or serviced accommodation guest, they can be great or they can be terrible, or somewhere in between. They can be real troopers, and recognise that sometimes **** happens and we will do our best to sort it out asap, or they can be really unreasonable and expect you to come out at 4 in the morning because they have lost their key.

We have had complaints about all sorts of things in the past. Tenants complained about having no hot water. It turned out that the tenants had messed around with the boiler settings and turned the water temperature down to the lowest. One tenant wanted a rent refund for that, despite the fact that it took them 3 days to report and was fixed within an hour.

One guest had a whole long list of complaints including that planes from Bristol airport (15 miles away) were flying over his room and keeping him awake. Just wait a few hours while I move the whole town of Weston Super Mare further down the coast !

Now I have recently read the 80/20 principle which states that on average 80% of the results/consequences are caused by 20% of your causes. This rule cuts across all aspects of life.

We see this with tenants and guests. The majority of complaints come from a small minority of tenants and guests.

80/20 thinking says to get rid of the problematic customers, with unrealistic expectations, who complain a lot, try and discount your prices and generally suck up your time and energy.

This definitely makes sense. When we have had tenants and guests who complain a lot we have tended to go to them, say it is clear they are not happy and get them to leave regardless of how long they are signed up or booked in for.

But, it does not mean we should completely ignore their complaints.

Inside every complaint, however outlandish, there might be a kernel of truth. You need to look at the complaint objectively and see if there is something that you could do better.

Because feedback is the food of champions, and it is a diet that creates excellence.

Champions become champions not by people telling them how good they are all the time, but by people telling them how they can improve, what it is that they can do better next time to make their results improve event more.

So, embrace the opportunities you have to receive feedback. If you are doing good things then it will often be positive, but don’t fear the negative feedback, use it as a way to become even better.

In fact don’t just embrace feedback, positively go looking for it. Ask yourself what are you doing to try and get feedback from the people you serve in your business, and are you getting enough feedback ?