It is important for service-oriented organizations to regularly gather feedback from their clients. Unfortunately, too many organizations don’t bother to check in with their clients to see how things are going. The feedback you gather from clients will help in many ways, including:
- Determining what is working or not working in the services you provide your clients
- Determine what additional services your clients need to help you expand the services you can offer
- Determine whether you are meeting client expectations
- Determine what is happening in the industry or with your client’s business that may affect your work with that client – either positively or negatively
- Enable you to build stronger working relationships
- Help you to see why some client projects have failed and others have succeeded
- Help you to improve your processes in relation to working with clients
Here are some tips to get you started:
Tips for gathering client feedback
- Determine if you will gather feedback via an online survey or in a face-to-face meeting.
- Whichever you choose – prepare your questions to ask ahead of time and test them internally within the organization to be sure they read well, make sense and enable the client to provide you with useful information. The questions should be open-ended. Keep an online survey to no more than 10 – 20 minutes to complete and a face-to-face meeting to no more than 30 minutes. For a face-to-face meeting, send the client the questions ahead of time so they have time to think about them.
- Ask a variety of clients if they would be willing to provide feedback to help you to improve your business and determine if the services you are offering are the right services for your clients. Include happy clients and those who were not satisfied with your services.
- When you have a variety of clients willing to assist you, send them each a personal letter thanking them for offering to provide feedback and explaining the process and your objectives, including how the information will be used. Provide them a timeline – for example, you will send an online survey by <date> or will call to schedule a face-to-face meeting by <date>.
- After you have received back the online survey or completed the face-to-face meeting, send a personalized, hand written “thank you” to the client for taking the time to complete the survey and/or meet with you in person.
- Follow up with a summary of your findings and actions you will be taking based on the survey and/or meetings.
Gather feedback from your clients on a regular basis – at least twice a year. It doesn’t have to be the same clients each time, use a representative group of clients. You can always alternate how you get that feedback – online surveys one year, face-to-face meetings the next.
In fact, each time you deliver a service to a client, send a brief questionnaire – 2 or 3 questions at most – to get feedback on the service you provided. Here are some potential questions you might ask a client after each engagement:
- How satisfied are you with <service>?
- What could we have done better to meet your needs?
- Would you recommend us to another organization?
- What else would you like to share with us?
This will help you to make incremental improvements to how you work with clients and in the services you deliver.
Get started today!