Thanks For Your Honesty: How to Get Feedback That’s Valuable and Honest

What do clients think about your firm? How would they rate their experience? Do they like it? Do they like you? How do you know? An honest answer to all these questions is what you want from client feedback. Or, if you’re not sure what they think about you and your firm, you’ll need to ask them.

In today’s client-driven market, knowing how to leverage client feedback to improve their experience can make or break you. Thankfully, it’s not rocket science. All it takes is a practical and timely approach that enables you to collect, share and act on that information.

To help, here’s a few ideas about how to get feedback from clients – in the right way to drive your business development, growth and opportunities forward.

Make your intentions clear

Collecting honest feedback is all about respecting your client’s time. It’s no surprise that they won’t appreciate receiving five-page surveys in their inbox at 4 o’clock on a Friday. None of us do.

Instead, talk to your client before you send out the survey. Ask them if they could leave room in their schedule to help you. Better yet, simplify the survey and form your questions around one specific area of service you want to improve. Then, let them know it’s going to take a few minutes to complete.

You’ll find clients are much more willing to help and give honest answers when you have briefed them, sought their permission and they know the survey is fast and easy.

Highlight client benefits

Generally, clients are happy to provide honest feedback to you if they feel the rewards are worth their effort. It’s like an investment. They want to see potential returns before they commit to the project.

So, whether it’s faster service delivery, better customer support, a solution to a significant gripe or an improvement to their overall experience, start the conversation with that. If clients feel their effort will pay off dividends in the future, they will gladly participate in an interview, questionnaire or an online survey.

Listen to what clients have to say

Once you get clients are on board, listen to their feedback. Good or bad, set your ego aside and remain open to all their remarks, opinions, requests and ideas. If you’re gaining feedback through an interview, ensure to keep a detailed log of everything they say. Ask them if it’s alright to record your conversation. If it’s a survey, you can record their feedback as a digital record. Having client feedback on demand helps you decide and substantiate implementing changes to your firm.

Act on what you learn

After the data is in, it’s time to go over it, analyse it, identify, recommend and (finally)  implement changes to your firm. Make a list of positive and negative feedback, and focus most of your attention on the negative criticism first.

Share the data with your team and set up a meeting to try and find solutions for issues that clients see as major stumbling blocks. Once you agree on a solution, make a plan of implementation and set a realistic timeline when to expect to see results.

All that’s left to do is take action and start making changes to improve your firm.

Share the solution with clients

Let clients in on your intention. Share what you have learned from their feedback and how you intend to improve your service. If it all goes as planned, clients will notice an improvement in your service and feel that they both played a part in it and will benefit from the improvement personally.

Say “Thank you” (and mean it)

Feedback is the greatest gift a client can give, so make sure to say “Thank you,” and mean it by using what you learned!

If the feedback is positive, look for new ways to improve the client experience. If it’s negative, that’s even better. As Bill Gates said in his book Business @ the Speed of Thought: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Managing client expectations isn’t always straightforward, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Follow up each service delivery and ask for feedback.

The Thought Leadership Initiative remains adamant that the key to running a successful service firm relates to adding value to each client in every encounter. And it all starts with the right questions and some honest feedback.

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