Friday, 4 September 2009

If you dont' ask you don't get...

How many times have you experienced a great service and thought ‘I must write and tell the company how pleased I was with their service’ or ‘My friend would really benefit from this, I must tell them about it’? How many times have you then moved on only to forget about the experience? Your feedback, testimonial or referral thoughts never go any further. It’s true that we are far more likely to give unsolicited feedback if we experience bad service, and we are far more likely to tell other people about it too. This represents a missed opportunity for businesses which could be benefitting from their clients positive feedback and plaudits about the good service they provide…and all because we don’t ask for it.

Client Feedback is one of the most effective ways for developing and maintaining good client relationships. In relationship driven businesses, my belief is that proactively asking your clients for their opinions should be a given. But client feedback processes are much more than simply best practice as far as client management is concerned. A good client feedback process opens up huge opportunities to secure additional business through referrals and testimonials, and why wouldn’t a business want to achieve that?

With this in mind it surprises me to find that many firms still believe that they don’t need to put in place a client feedback programme, citing reasons such as:
"We have great relationships with our clients, we don’t need to ask them what they think"
"We don’t have time to do this"
"We don’t have many clients, so we know what they all think anyway"
"We tried it before and got hardly any responses"

If this is your view, you could be missing out on how beneficial client feedback can be for your business. In its simplest form client feedback helps you measure your business. If you don’t ask, how do you really know what people think? A small comment in a feedback questionnaire could result in the need for a big change in your service approach. Client feedback helps you continually improve what you deliver to your clients , can identify where you could be saving time or cost and ensures that the services you provide for your clients remain the very best they can be.
But client feedback can be taken much further than this. Perhaps most importantly in a competitive market, client feedback is a fantastic marketing tool for your business. It identifies who to ask for referrals or testimonials; it provides opportunities for you to promote other services you offer positive feedback demonstrates the value in your client base; it helps you shape the services you offer; it ensures that each and every client feels valued because you ask them for their opinion.
Technology makes gathering feedback much easier and cheaper, using online processes to extend and enhance the results you can achieve. Online processes can drive traffic to your website; online processes can encourage clients to talk about you on social networking sites; technology provides an elegant solution to take the time and effort out of your feedback process; it delivers a professional, branded questionnaire to your clients; it enhances your professional reputation and uses a medium that clients now prefer and expect.
So before you decide not to put a client feedback process in place, ask yourself a few questions….
How do you really know what your clients think unless you give them an opportunity to tell you?
You may know individual opinions but can you see the overall picture across your team or business?
Have you considered how technology can help?
How are you generating testimonials and referrals for your business? How do you know who to ask? How much more business could you be generating if you were to ask your clients to refer you?
People like to talk about you, especially if you provide a great service, so give them the opportunity. Ask for feedback… and when you do, make sure you have the right process and system in place to make the very best of their responses.


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