Why & How to Ask for Client Feedback

 
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Evolve with the market and your clients needs

Unfortunately, none of us have a crystal ball that tells us exactly what we should do to improve and grow our business. Lucky for us though, we don’t need one.

If we implement a culture of continually learning and improving into our businesses, we will understand how to evolve as the marketplace and our clients need us to. Your improved business results will be the proof and the reward for being so intentional and thoughtful about how you approach doing business.

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Ask every single client for feedback

To continually learn and improve in your business, simply ask every single client for feedback. Yep, every single one.

At first, you may feel nervous to ask for feedback. There’s always something we can do to be better with our clients and in the effort of self preservation, we try to avoid figuring out what that is.

But not figuring out how we can improve is the very thing that will hold your business back. Without constructive feedback we don’t know what to fix. Without positive feedback we don’t know what to keep doing. These two things are the key to business improvement and growth.

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Pro Tip: What to do if someone isn’t your ideal client

If you worked with someone who isn’t your ideal client, still ask them for feedback, but be careful what you use it for.

Use the feedback to generally improve your business process and client experience.

However, be careful not to drastically change what you offer, charge, or how you talk about and market your services because of feedback from the kind of business or person you don’t really want to attract more of. Instead, use feedback and learnings from your ideal client for this or you may go down a path that isn’t actually better for the people you really want to work with.

Don’t know who your ideal client is? Download my free workbook below to figure it out:

Why client feedback is important

There are so many positive benefits to asking for feedback from your clients. Think of it like being a student of your client. By humbly learning all the time, you’ll be able to:

  1. Improve your business and creating an amazing client experience.

  2. Better package, price, and market your services.

  3. Overcome hiring barriers (for example, with a testimonial or by addressing common hesitations in your sales process).

  4. Better relate to your ideal client in your messaging.

  5. Find more ideal clients.

Now I don’t know about you, but that list pretty much includes all the tough stuff to figure out in my business. The value of getting guidance on this kind of meaty business strategy stuff vastly outweighs the slightly crappy feeling I’ll get when I read the occasional bit of constructive feedback (plus it gets easier over time to digest negative feedback).

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How to ask for client feedback

Here’s how I’ve built a culture of learning from my clients into my business:

New Client Intake Form

Whenever I start working with a new client I have them fill out my intake questionnaire.

This helps me understand their needs, their language, and their expectations and starts our work off on the right foot. It also gives me a baseline to better understand the impact I have on my clients when I ask for feedback at the end.

Pro Tip: I automate my intake form through my booking tool, Acuity (which I love so much I’m an affiliate for!). You can create different intake forms for different types of appointments, which is amazing!

Download my list of intake form questions I ask my new clients for free below:

Mid-Project Check-in

If I work with a client over a long period of time, I ask for feedback after we’ve been working together for a little while.

I want to make sure I’m delivering value and meeting or exceeding expectations, so getting feedback mid-way allows me to adjust and improve, versus waiting until the end to realize my client wasn’t happy with me and my work.

If there’s significant negative feedback to address it’s best to personally touch base with them to work through things.

Post Project Feedback

After I’m done working with clients I send them a feedback questionnaire.

I thank them for working with me and tell them I am always looking for ways to improve and provide a better client experience. I give them permission to share their honest thoughts, the good and the bad, and thank them for taking the time to provide thoughtful feedback.

I recommend using Google Forms to send your feedback questionnaires.

Download the list of client feedback questions I ask my clients for free below:

Tips to ensure your clients give you feedback

In my intake questionnaire, one of the things I ask is if they are willing to occasionally share feedback with me.

This primes my clients to expect to be asked for feedback. It also makes it more top of mind to notice things they can give you feedback on so the questionnaire isn’t a surprise.

In the last engagement I have with them I thank them for agreeing to give me feedback (see what I did there? ;)) and let them know that I’ll email them a questionnaire to fill out. If they don’t fill it out, I’ll send one reminder email a few days to a week later.

With this approach 95% of my clients fill out my intake form.

Survey length

If you download my list of feedback questions I ask (for free below), you’ll notice that it’s a decently long questionnaire.

People sometimes ask if my clients actually take the time to answer all my questions.

I used to email clients asking for feedback. I’d include my list of questions and tell them that answering them was optional but it could be helpful fodder if they weren't sure what to write about. Amazingly, everyone would respond back with an answer to every single question from the list.

This is when I switched to a Google Form to simplify things and keep the feedback organized. I decided to make most of the questions required in the form and amazingly, my response rate has not changed. Nearly every single client answers every single question.

Here are some important things to consider though as you finalize your feedback questionnaire:

Gather info you’ll take action on

If you won’t do anything with the learnings from a question, don’t ask it. This will waste their time answering something that’s purely interesting info versus putting more thought into the questions you really need to know the answers to.

The questions I ask may need to be tweaked to be most helpful to you. Ask yourself what information will help you improve your business and then ask questions that will help you gather that info. If you use the survey and you’re not getting exactly what you need, adjust the questions.

Match length with intensity of engagement

If you do a 30-minute session with someone and then send them a 15-minute questionnaire, you’re probably not going to get very many responses. My clients and I really get into the weeds, so by the time I send them a questionnaire, they’re usually more than happy to share their thoughts.

The longer and more intense your engagement, the more they will care about your success and the more they will have to say. The opposite is also true.

Regardless of how intimate your work with them is though, it’s best for most surveys to less than 5-10 minutes long. If you can get the information you need in a much shorter survey, do that. Shorter is always better until it’s so short that the information isn’t really useful for you.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Client Feedback

  • Embody a culture of continually learning and improving into your businesses by being a student of your client

  • Get over your fear of negative feedback and ask every single client for feedback (but be careful about making too many major business strategy changes based on people or businesses that aren’t your ideal client).

  • Use your client feedback to:

    • Improve your business and creating an amazing client experience.

    • Better package, price, and market your services.

    • Overcome hiring barriers (for example, with a testimonial or by addressing common hesitations in your sales process).

    • Better relate to your ideal client in your messaging.

    • Find more ideal clients.

  • To get the best response, don’t make the questionnaire a surprise. Ask people if they are willing to give you feedback and then give them a heads up when they can expect to receive the questionnaire. Follow-up once if you don’t get a response.

  • Have new clients fill out an intake form, have long-term clients give feedback after working together for a while, and always ask for feedback when you’re done working with a project. Here are free downloads of the questions I ask:

Client Intake Questions

Client Feedback Questions

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stacy kessler - pathfinding strategist

Hey There!

I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you craft your dream business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.

You are meant to do important and amazing things in this world and I’m here to help you do just that.

 

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