Just do it.
I recommend client surveys to all my clients. Invariably, it’s hugely valuable, surfacing things that you knew but could do with corroborating, and throwing up interesting feedback that you might not have anticipated. It also shows your clients that you value their opinion and their custom, and that as a business you are ready to listen and take action on things they might find important.
This year, I once again asked my editor, Amy, to conduct my annual etc client feedback – taking just a few minutes of my clients’ time to ask them some important pre drafted questions which I believed would help me to better my services and understand the current health of relationship with clients. Controversially perhaps, in the absence of a more sophisticated tool, I chose to close the feedback interview with a Net Promoter Score question. I have a small number of clients, but I still find there is value in asking people to put a number to their likelihood of recommending me.
Understanding how your clients feel about you and your services is an integral way to assess the health of your business. Not only do loyal clients stick around longer, they’re also much more likely to refer your business to others. If you work in a service business, rather than one which provides tangible products, they you might be wondering how to get the feedback you need to understand just how happy your clients are. The answer is incredibly simple, just ask.
This article is mostly to remind you of the importance of asking your clients how they feel about working with you, allowing them the time and space to freely share what they enjoy most about your service, what they think you might be able to do better.
Here are a few pointers you might find useful if you’re planning to do your own client feedback:
- Ask your clients if they would mind being involved and when doing so, explain to them why it’s so important to you
- Keep it short. We all know how precious time is, so be clear that you’ll only need 10 or 15 minutes of their time – you’re much more likely to get more involvement if feedback is seen as something that won’t eat too much into your clients’ day
- Spend some time and pre-draft your questions. I chose to ask 10, each was open ended except for the simple 1-10 NPS score one at the end. Pre drafting your questions helps to guide the feedback, stay on track with time and make sure you get the responses most useful to you
- Send your pre drafted questions over before the feedback call. Clients may or may not read them beforehand, but you’re at least giving them the opportunity to reflect and know what sort of questions to expect
- Get someone impartial to ask the questions. You might have an incredibly honest relationship with your clients, but by getting someone you trust – but who is not involved in the day-to-day – to ask the questions, your clients won’t feel the need to pull any punches or avoid comments they think you might not want to hear. The most valuable feedback is always the constructive type, and by letting someone else ask the questions, you won’t feel the need to try and defend yourself or get into the detail right there and then. Having time to reflect on the comments will make your responses more considered.
- Consider adding an NPS score, a simple 1-10 will do.
If you need a little more convincing, it’s worth noting that when one of my clients undertook their own client feedback last year, an incredible number of new ideas were unearthed. The feedback led to a launch of several new services by my client, which resulted in additional budgets being allocated. They recognise the feedback work as being one of their most important decisions – and it’s now a pre-planned annual undertaking.
If you’re interested, this year my NPS was 100% (promoters – detractors) with the average score out of 10 coming to 9.62. I feel very lucky to work with the people I do, and over and above the fact they would recommend me, they all contributed some excellent feedback which I think will make our relationships even better.
Feedback from new clients
It’s worth noting that one of my respondents is a relatively new client who felt that his feedback was a little limited in value (it wasn’t) and he asked if we could redo the questions in a few months. That’s a great suggestion for new clients and is in the diary.
I hope this inspires you to gather feedback from your own clients.
P.S if you think the feedback questions I used might be useful for you, I’d be very happy to share them. Just email or DM me.