Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Top 10 Tips for Better Response Rates from your Client Feedback Programme

There are a number of things you can do to encourage better response rates from your client feedback process. With thanks to our users who have told us what works for them, here are our top ten tips for increasing your response rates…

1. Make sure your advisers are telling your clients about your client feedback programme
Set an expectation with your clients so that they are ready to respond to your questionnaires. Make sure your advisers mention your client feedback approach during meetings and conversations with clients, telling them how important feedback is and when they will be receiving a feedback request.

2. Make your request for feedback timely and relevant
Don’t leave it too long after an interaction with your client before you ask for feedback. Make sure you send a request while the service they have received is fresh in their mind, perhaps just after you complete the suitability report, as a follow up to a client review or as part of the new business process.

3. Include reference to your client feedback programme in your client documentation
Why not add a sentence to your suitability report, introduction letter or other client documentation about your client feedback approach to encourage your clients to respond?

4. Provide an incentive such as a donation to your company charity
Make a small donation to a charity of your choice for each response received and tell your clients about this by customising your email text or covering letter for paper questionnaires.

5. Publish your feedback results on your website or in your company newsletters
Demonstrate to your clients that you are responsive to their feedback by publishing the results and most importantly what actions you have taken as a direct result of client feedback. Showing your clients that you listen to and take action on their feedback encourages them to give you their opinions.

6. Chase up outstanding responses
If your client doesn’t respond to your request for feedback, chase it up. This is important customer intelligence for your business, so send your client a gentle reminder if they don’t respond within a certain time frame.

7. Customise your feedback process and make it more personal
The Customer Feedback Centre provides you with lots of customisation options to make your feedback requests relevant to your clients and personalised to your business style. Choose your own email text, sign off or subject, customise additional information pop ups and include your own branding on the questionnaires to encourage your clients to respond.

8. Thank your clients for their feedback and tell them how it helps
Use the Submission Successful page to customise a thank you message for your firm and educate your clients about how you use their feedback (as well as directing them to your company website or other services you may offer)

9. Publicise your client feedback programme when pitching for new business
Tell prospects about your client feedback programme. Show prospects that you care enough to proactively ask for client opinions and set an immediate expectation about how you will be managing and measuring the relationship with them.

10. Use positive feedback to motivate your staff and encourage them to promote your client feedback programme
Positive feedback is a real motivator for your team, encouraging them to continue offering the very best service and gaining their buy-in to your client feedback programme.

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Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mind the gaps please...building a stronger future for your business

After a year of downturn, the last few weeks of more positive news on the economy have come as a welcome relief to all businesses. Commentators are still speculating on the strength and pace of the recovery but what we do know is that is has started. So what's next?
Many firms are now looking at the strength of their business, how well they have weathered the storm and making plans for the future. Every businesses has suffered in some way, however small, and it's now important to find any gaps or weaknesses in your service proposition and relationships with your clients so that you can determine where you are now and where you need to be. Focusing on building your strengths and adjusting your approach to correct any weaknesses in your proposition will ensure that you come out of the recession a stronger business and in the longer term, a more profitable one. So how do you go about doing this?
The solution lies in understanding where your customers are now and where they need and want to be. The only way to find out is to ask them. Does your business understand how it's customers have coped during the recession? How much do you know about their changing behaviours? Your clients' attitudes towards spending and saving will have changed markedly in the last year so it's paramount that firms understand their clients' views, needs and wants.
Different types or segment of customer will have differing opinions so if you haven't already segmented your clients into meaningful categories, start looking at this now. Knowing the different demographics of your customers pays real dividends. It helps to shape your communication, marketing and client servicing plans; especially if you combine a segmentation exercise with a survey asking your clients about their service preferences, communication requirements, buying potential, or attitude to different remuneration tariffs.
In this way you can determine whether your view of the value and proposition you bring to your clients is aligned with what they think, need and want. If this recession has opened up any gaps in your service proposition it's time to do something about them. Ask for your clients' opinions and keep on asking. In this way your firm will exit the recession as a stronger more informed business, ready to capitalise on the new opportunities that will come.

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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