Ah, feedback. The word itself makes you tense, doesn’t it?

We all crave the positive kind, the pats on the back that make you feel like a rockstar.

So why do you wince when someone offers you feedback?

Here’s the thing: no one enjoys criticism. ‘Can I give you some feedback?’ is hardly ever followed by, ‘You’re absolutely amazing.’

It’s usually the precursor to a critique.


Today, I’m presenting three keynotes. As you read this, I’m likely bang in the middle of one, speaking to teams from some of London’s finest hotels.

Part of my talk is about why complaints are a gift. Yes, a gift.

When a guest complains, it’s a chance to improve.

Deal with it. Fix it. Delight your customer, live in the moment.

It’s better they tell you directly than broadcast it to the world online, exaggerated, lost where you have no control of the narrative.

But let’s be real, criticism stings.

And there’s only one thing worse… ‘It’s nothing personal.’

Really? Of course, it’s personal! Feedback is always personal.



Here’s how I see it. Treat all feedback like a Marks & Spencer jumper… with the gift receipt attached.

1. Say thank you: Appreciate the feedback and take a good look at it.

2. Choose your response:

Wear it: Accept and embrace it.

Swap it: Take parts that resonate and leave the rest.

Cash it: Politely acknowledge it, knowing with that receipt it’s £35 in M&S vouchers— which is as good as cash.

Always receive feedback with an open mind and enthusiasm, making the giver feel valued. You’ll know deep down if the feedback is valid.


Now, give me some feedback! I’d love to hear your thoughts on these messages. You can leave your feedback below.

I’ll send a copy of my book, 5 Star Service to our favourite.

Be Brilliant!



  1. May 23rd 2024 by Mark Leishman

    I’ve learnt over the 15 years working for the same company and as a freelance military photographer, you take risks, and if someone says your not doing the way you supposed to do then you going to be in your comfort zone. Its like if you fail then don’t worry about it. Get up and start again.
    Your talk on the 21st was an inspiration. If only a few took onboard one thing that brilliant. The one thing that I took onboard. Was the comfort circle. Take risks and step out of your comfort circle

  2. May 23rd 2024 by Rohan Sahabandu

    Your comments on feedback being a gift is priceless. This is excellent customer service in one word.
    Thank you

  3. May 23rd 2024 by William

    Nothing personal, but “5 Star Service” was the first book of yours that I bought!

  4. May 23rd 2024 by James

    I do see feedback as a gift after reading through your advise and support i can only see feedback as a positive thing.

  5. May 23rd 2024 by Jeremy Taylor

    Hiya Magic

    Okay, challenge accepted.
    If I leave a note or comment liek now, its like you send something to someone and get no response which can be unsatisfactory.

    I think you should set up at least a bounce back email thanking someone for the feedback.

    The gift….I suggest book of your favourites choice. They may already have this one.

    have a beautiful day.


    1. May 23rd 2024 by Michael Heppell

      Thank you for your amazing contributions Jes. We love them!

  6. May 23rd 2024 by Adrian Rawden

    My view it’s Brilliant advice from the gift that keeps on giving!
    Keep being Brilliant Michael ⭐️

  7. May 23rd 2024 by Carol Elizabeth Marshall

    As a teacher artist, writer, educator and especially a mum and granny, I know only too well about negative feedback. Feedback should always be constructional , and involve the person / persons involved. Constructive critic / is how we get better / make better choices/ enhance our confidence.. I always always was given the task to work with children who lacked confidence in my many roles in my professional world , I still have the pleasure now, moulding and mentoring youngsters sitting exams to be the best they have inside them… I love this subject it is how we GROW but it has to be always constructive and growth worthy … BEST AND FOREVER NOT BEING AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES .. my Art is full of constructive mistakes , I have always learnt from them .. it’s a great leveller and a subject that has been in my World it is a privilege to watch how mistakes can win if we see how to accept and grow.

  8. May 23rd 2024 by Gillian Westlake

    Feedback is a gift I offer it all the time with much praise where well deserved as well as critique

  9. May 23rd 2024 by Susan Martin

    I know a bit different but not to forget the value of positive feedback
    People are often quick to complain but forget to reward good service x

  10. May 23rd 2024 by Craig Lourens

    Loving “Be Brilliant”. The personal development journey is great and has taught me that often we have need for feedback to justify our own self-worth to ourselves !! We pat ourselves on the back and puff up at positive feedback and ignore the negative with a “what do they know anyway”! The lesson of “Deal with it. Fix it. Delight your customer, live in the moment” has given me a model to action. Thanks.

  11. May 23rd 2024 by joanna nightingale

    i belong to a danish writing group as well as be brilliant. We are asked to give two positives and one negative to each others contributions. You only learn from it, and the negative critisism is made easier to accept when being wrapped in two positive comments. Kind regards

  12. May 23rd 2024 by Nicolle Croft

    Love it!!! in my business we utilise gro-hawk for client “feedback” and an NPS score. The team are always delighted with the 9s and 10s, which are many, I am glad to add. However, it is those occasional scores that which really get them down. I’ve intimated to them that a complaint is a good thing, but nah, they’re not taking my word for it. So I have shared your email with them! Your analogy with the M&S voucher will resonate with us all! Absolutely BRILLIANT Michael. Thank you.

  13. May 23rd 2024 by Susan Grant

    As I’ve got older my feedback for purchased items, holiday stays and many other services has changed. Instead of telling them what I thought they wanted ti hear, I now tell the truth albeit kindly. There are ways of giving criticism without being nasty. I belong to a writing group and the critique offered is always helpful even if it’s not always as positive as you would like. I’m one of those people that I can’t tell a friend she looks great in her new dress, if I think she looks like a sack of potatoes in it, I would probably say something like it’s a lovely colour or material and leave it at that.

  14. May 23rd 2024 by Marilyn Payne

    Unfortunately some people don’t know how to give feedback.

    For example, give me some feedback on my writing, I ask.

    Then comes the odd typing error, some vocabulary not quite right, spelling mistakes (no, I’ve used spell check) but worse than this, when someone totally re-writes my piece. 😡
    Worst of all, where was the positivity? You didn’t mention the content of the piece. So, I disregard the feedback.
    I learned, through a job I had as a trainer in employment, to use the praise sandwich.
    Start off with some positive comments.
    Then some constructive criticism – room for improvement maybe.
    Rounded off with a well done, so the person leaves satisfied they’ve done a good job, but there’s work to be done.

    This wasn’t my lovely friends in Write That Book.

    Marilyn Payne

  15. May 23rd 2024 by Des Reynolds

    Wise words as ever Michael. I was always taught to praise people for doing something right ie actively look for opportunities to give good feedback. Unfortunately most managers I have worked with find it much easier to criticise, it seems that too much praise will raise people’s expectations for rewards/bonuses etc. Never underestimate the power of just a simple thankyou or piece of honest praise for someone be it an employee, a supplier of a service , a friend etc. 👍

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