Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, authors of Creating Customer Evangelists share The 10 Golden Rules of Customer Feedback in a recent column for They start the article off by saying that many people don't ask for feedback because they're afraid they might hear that their company is miserable and that their product is horrible. Yet, according to McConnell and Huba, companies rarely receive that type of painful feedback. And, their research shows that companies that have focused feedback efforts gain many positives from the experience including the ability to use the feedback to drive marketing initiatives, develop products and set service expectations.

So how do you overcome your negative tendencies when it comes to getting customer feedback? Here are several suggestions from the pair's "10 Golden Rules":

* Believe that customers possess good ideas.

* Gather customer feedback at every opportunity. Avoid the trap of "we don't want to bother our customers," and get them involved.

* Seek real-time feedback. Call up your customers and be the first in line to hear about their problems.

* Make it easy for customers to provide feedback.

* Share feedback with others in the organization.