How to Make Client Feedback Worthwhile

Most of us understand the importance of collecting client feedback and have probably done it, at least a few times in the past. But what do you do with the information you collect? On its own, client feedback doesn’t do much, other than giving the client a chance to vent their frustration or share their praise.

The real value doesn’t come until you start to analyze, measure and use the data. All too often, though, we lose steam after collecting the feedback and the results just sit there collecting dust.

The first step toward using client feedback effectively is analyzing it, both individually and collectively with feedback from other clients. Answering these questions will help you analyze your client feedback thoroughly:

  • What is the best thing the client said?
  • What is the worst thing the client said?
  • What have you learned about your client and your business?
  • What surprised you in the feedback?
  • When analyzed with other client feedback, is there an overall theme or message?

Once you fully understand the feedback and how it relates to what others have said, you can begin to pull it apart and use it in your day-to-day operations. Here are a few ways to get started.

Resolve Complaints

If a client tells you in a feedback process that they are not happy or were disappointed with your service at some point, it needs to be addressed immediately. Use the feedback to contact them, ask more about the source of their complaint, and explore what you can do to make it better.

It may be a simple case of fixing a minor problem, or you may need to dig deeper to learn where the disconnect happened, and then work with the client to improve the situation.

Improve Current Processes

If you have a few different clients who complain that you only take money orders for payment, a good inference may be that it’s time to explore opening up your accepted modes of payment a bit further to be more accommodating.

Similarly, if your clients cite slow response time as a common challenge throughout your relationship, explain their difficulty accepting your two-day work week, or wish you had been more willing to have a telephone conference instead of handling everything via email, it may be time to review your policies and processes and pinpoint areas of improvement.

Try Something New

Client feedback can also open your eyes to other areas where your clients struggle that you had no idea about. And this can open the door for new sales opportunities such add-on services or supporting products.

Translate It Into a Testimonial

Lastly, don’t forget about the most common and potentially powerful use of client feedback – testimonials. Use praise given in a client feedback process as a testimonial on your website, quote throughout your marketing materials, or blurb in your next newsletter.

You can even take especially positive feedback and expand it into a case study you can present to potential clients to sell the value you offer.

Do you ask for client feedback? What do you do with it?

Image credit: kikashi

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  • http://www.apcooper.co.uk AndrewCooper

    The first part of the article where you mentioned that feedback just gathers dust is unbelievable. To think that businesses or freelancers would go to the simple effort of collecting client feedback but then not to analyse the information and data is just shocking.

    I think it’s a good idea to try asking questions that allow you to receive both quantitative and qualitative answers. I do this on my feedback surveys / forms. I’ll ask how would they rate my response time from 0 – 10 and in the next question ask them to expand on their rating with examples of when the response time was particularly good or particularly bad. And the same for as many other questions as possible. This way, after a fair amount of client feedback I can start making charts and graphs for each of these to see the results and I can also use the expanded answers to create the testimonials.

    What I do to entice the clients into giving feedback is to send them a gift that they have shown an interest in. Throughout the client worksheet questionnaire at the start of the business relationship I’ll drop in casual questions about their likes and dislikes, whether they have iTunes or not (I can send them a £25 iTunes gift voucher for example if they say they enjoy using iTunes), what wines they like (type and brand), etc. And then of course follow-up afterwards.

    Andrew Cooper