Asking for Client Feedback

Asking for Client Feedback

By Ann O'Brien | February 14, 2020

Sometimes it can seem like you know better than your client. And you probably do – you are the specialist in your field after all! But while you certainly know more about what type of retirement plan, income property, or fitness regime is best for them, you still might not know them well enough to convince them of it – who they are, what they like and respond best to in a working relationship. Client feedback can help you figure out how to do that. This knowledge can be just as vital to success as product design.

This is not necessarily about getting client testimonials. Those are, without a doubt, incredibly important. But before your clients can become a community ambassador for you, you have to impress them by knowing who they are and what they want. Unless you have a staff psychic, you’re going to need feedback.

But if they keep buying, isn’t that enough client feedback?

No!

Client feedback should not be a formality. It should be your guide in determining what is best for your clients in their eyes. Remember, you are trying to attract and retain them, not the other way around. Making sure that their interactions with your company, product, and service are as positive as possible requires getting to know them. Overall, collecting and listening to client feedback improves your product/service as well as client retention, provides data to guide future products and services, and identifies both potential star clients who could contribute testimonials as an ambassador for you and anyone who may be on the brink of taking their business elsewhere.

It might not be pretty. Particularly through an online and relatively anonymous medium, clients can be…blunt, to say the least. No one likes to read vicious content, but it is a mistake to dismiss it altogether. If you view a negative evaluation as an opportunity to address real issues and improve down the line, you can also save yourself the loss of a client who felt strongly enough to leave feedback. 

How can I get client feedback, then?

This can depend on your business model, but there are ample ways to collect feedback. There are tried-and-true types of surveys: emailed, generic pop-up on website, targeted pop-up on website, telephone, mobile messaging, and hard copies in the office. There is also usability testing and focus groups, which are particularly helpful when launching a new product or service and you need to find the potential problem areas. Website analytics track what clients do on your website, and several companies have tools that allow you to track specific clients’ visits to your site, their activity, and how much they ultimately spend. Community group discussion boards, personalized emails, live chat, and physical suggestion boxes are all also effective when utilized correctly.

Many companies take advantage of what is already available to them in-house. If any of the staff uses the product/service, you should provide incentive for them to give feedback without fear of reprisal – they probably have workable solutions because they know the business. Your client service representatives also have a very good idea of what people are having difficulty with, so it’s important that your client service team has ways to provide this feedback.

It has to be intentional!

One way to make sure that what you hear back is usable is to make sure you are asking the right questions. Intercom’s Des Traynor provided insight on how to get client feedback that is specific and valuable:

  • Start with the end in mind: If you want to improve your payment tool, don’t ask your client to rate your home page layout, etc.
  • Avoid dead-end questions: Don’t be overly general or ask yes or no questions. If you genuinely want to improve, be specific.
  • Don’t couple independent questions: Make sure that you are not asking customers to rate two aspects of your service together when one might be fine but the other could use some work.
  • Provide meaningful timeframes: Instead of asking if the client uses a particular service, ask how many times they use it per month or year.
  • Make sure your users feel qualified to respond: Frame your question in a way that ensures the client knows their opinion is valid and important to you.
  • Avoid hypotheticals: Do not ask your client to speculate about their future decisions. This is not hard data that can help you.
  • Treat client feedback like a hypothesis: Once you have collected the information and filtered out the anomalies, start to set realistic goals for improvement.

How to use it

First, you’ll need to recognize what you should act on and what is an outlier. Look for trends, confusion points, and areas that cause the most significant frustration (and result in client loss). If someone has provided feedback that is simply irrelevant to your company, toss it. Review the data and validate the significance of the most common complaints or suggestions. It may be beneficial to narrow down the issue and take it to a focus group in order to find exactly where (and if) the need really exists.

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