Are You Making the Grade? How To Ask Clients for Feedback
If you are focused on pleasing your clients and creating repeat customers (as you should be if you want long-term success), you should be focused on asking for and absorbing feedback from your clients. Many times, it’s obvious if the client is thrilled with the job you’ve done or not, but there is much to be gained from taking this one step further and asking a series of directed questions.
Gauging the success of a project is more than just asking the client if they are satisfied. You should acquire enough information to get an accurate idea of what you did well and what you could do better (there is always something you could have done better), and be able to formulate a plan for improvement. The best time to send the client the survey is right at the end of a project, when the experience of working with you is still fresh in their minds.
What Questions to Ask
There is a huge variation of the questions you may want to ask on a client feedback survey, but some of the basic questions include:
- Why did you choose us as your service provider?
- What service did we perform for you?
- How would you rate the service you received? (Provide a rating scale)
- In what areas did we meet or exceed your expectations?
- In which areas can we improve?
- Would you recommend us to others?
The most important element of a client feedback survey is to ask enough (and the right) questions to produce valuable feedback without asking too many questions and risk not receiving a response at all. You may also want to consider offering an incentive for completing the survey, especially if you find the response rate isn’t stellar.
How to Ask the Questions
Aside from hiring an external survey company to poll your clients on your behalf, which is not practical for most freelancers and small business owners, there are a few ways you can ask your clients for feedback:
Ask Informally – Your client feedback survey can be as simple as an e-mail message with questions sent to your clients. This method is quick and easy, but there are some negatives. Namely, you risk the message being put aside and eventually lost in the shuffle. You are also limited to using open-ended questions which prevents any kind of consistency across all of your surveys. Lastly, you must manually do some other action with the data collected in order to have it in any kind of useable form.
Create Your Own Survey – You can take the e-mail format one step further and create a more standardized survey. You can create a protected form in a word processing application, a PDF form, or a form that can be submitted through your website. This format will obviously take more time to create, but it allows you to have one standard survey you send to all clients.
Use a Survey Site – Another way you can manage your client surveys is by using a third-party survey website, such as SurveyMonkey, Constant Contact and PollDaddy. This can be a fairly quick way to create a customized, extensive and secure survey with the option of running reports to analyze the responses, although most services have a monthly fee associated with the service.
The format you use depends on your relationships with your clients, how many clients you want to survey at a given time, how much time you have available, and what you plan to do with the survey results.
Do you ask your clients for feedback? What do you do with the feedback you receive?
Image credit: David Hartman