Posted on May 17th, 2013 View Comments
Release 6.9 of the Client Feedback Tool includes dozens of enhancements and improvements. I will summarize some of the most significant and readily apparent changes below. Many other improvements were added that fixed or modified issues ranging from a misspelling to browser display issues and will not be discussed in-depth.
1. New reminders to follow up low scores
Follow-up reminders are now available to remind you to follow up on any low scores you may have forgotten to address. Go to PREFERENCES> Set Preferences. Click on Alerts in the Feedback Settings tab. Check the box labeled ‘Remind of follow-up to low scoring feedback.’ If you receive a survey response below your low-score threshold, and no follow-up is documented, a week later we will send you a reminder. Project and firm managers can also set reminders regarding follow-up to project and firm surveys, as applicable.
2. Protect against duplicate take-survey reminders
For your convenience, the Tool now has additional functionality to help prevent your recipients from receiving confusing multiple survey reminders. On the ‘Modify a survey sent’ screen, if you attempt to send a survey reminder to a recipient who was already scheduled to receive an automatic reminder, the Tool will tell you that an automatic reminder is scheduled. You can then choose to send both reminders, cancel the automatic one, or cancel (close) the manual one.
Note: Typically you decide whether to send automatic reminders when you send a survey.
3. New quick-link to Ultimate Question information
You will find a new link on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) report (REVIEW FEEDBACK > Net Promoter Score). This link, ‘More Information about NPS,’ is just below the graph. Click the link to open a new window to our blog site and learn more about the Ultimate Question and your Net Promoter Score.
4. Convenient links to additional data in basic reports
On many reports, you will see more new underlined links that provide additional details regarding projects, recipients, and senders. One example: On your REVIEW FEEDBACK > Surveys sent screen, notice how the project names in the first column are underlined. If you click on a project name, a new modal opens to display additional information regarding that project, such as Question Category Average Scores in the Last 90 days and 360 days. You can also see how many survey Invitations and Replies have occurred in the Past 90/360 days.
5. New ‘Survey’ report filter
You can now filter your reports by Survey Template/ID in addition to the numerous other filters already offered. You can find this multiple-select basic filter on many REVIEW FEEDBACK reports, on the left side of the ribbon.
6. DesignFacilitator is becoming the Client Feedback Tool
DesignFacilitator’s Client Feedback Tool was originally conceived as a powerful tool for the exclusive use of design professionals – architects, engineers, interior designers, etc. However, over the years we found that many non-design service professionals— government, legal, construction— appreciate the simplicity and power of the Tool and value its reports. Consequently, we are transitioning our branding to simply the Client Feedback Tool. This transition requires no changes or action on your part. Both www.clientfeedbacktool.com and www.designfacilitator.com take you to the site.
7. Firm Administrators (FA): Present tense answer scale added
Previously, the Client Feedback Tool presented survey questions only in the past tense (Met Expectations, not Meets Expectations). Many of you have requested an occasional present tense survey question. The Client Feedback Tool sliding answer scale now supports this. The survey recipient will see the present tense answer choices when he/she is taking the survey. However, your report scales will continue to display in the past tense since the overwhelming majority of questions are worded as such.
8. Firm Administrators can edit all member preferences
An FA can provide enhanced service to all firm members. In MY FIRM > Users/Security > (member) Edit, you can edit management permissions, on-behalf-of permissions, and modify members’ preferences. Now an FA can even edit Firm Event alerts and permissions for a Firm Manager. This can be especially useful when adding new members— because sometimes with new experiences “It’s just faster to do it than to explain it.”
9. Improved adding/importing
We have improved the functionality when adding/importing contact or project data. Where appropriate, you can now merge new and existing company types and update project information while you are adding/importing the data.
Posted on May 13th, 2013 View Comments
Project delivery is all about taking an idea from concept through to production. Firms want their projects completed in the fastest and most cost-efficient manner possible, all without sacrificing quality. Incorporating feedback into a firm’s process helps the team perform at their best, while the very act of asking for feedback shows clients proactive and professional care. To help jump start your client feedback process, we’ve listed the top 10 feedback techniques to facilitate project delivery.
1. Make it Comfortable.
When requesting feedback make sure the process is comfortable to use for all parties. The more comfortable the process, the more likely both parties are to participate. A comfortable process means clients will not feel put on the spot and concerned about a confrontation. Focus questions on processes, not personalities, and offer a flexible answer scale to capture subtle nuances of perceptions.
2. Create Actionable Results.
An effective feedback technique requires data to enable follow-up. Be sure you are asking questions that allow you to retrieve measurable, actionable data. If the questions are too vague or too open ended, you won’t have the information that you need to take action.
3. Process Focused.
The questions asked should be about process rather than people or products. We aren’t looking to find out how well the client “liked” us, but rather where our process is working great and where it might need some improvement.
4. Go Beyond Satisfaction.
Ask your clients questions focused on their expectations, instead of their satisfaction, because satisfaction is the expected norm. The client’s perception of how you performed compared to their expectations is the key to knowing where to improve your project delivery process. Additionally, you’ll find 500% more exceptionally positive feedback than you will challenging feedback – and we all love to discover good news.
5. Reduce Liability.
When asking for feedback, focus on questions that can reduce liability and encourage positive outcomes. Just by asking for feedback throughout a project, you are creating a record of the service perceptions all along the way, reducing the chance of a lawsuit and increasing your ability to meet their needs. Feedback helps keep you and your client aligned on a common goal – a successful project outcome.
6. Don’t Wait.
Collect feedback throughout the project, not just at the end – when it’s too late to improve that project. Response rates are highest when the client senses his feedback might improve the project outcome. Once the project is over, the incentive to respond is gone.
7. Make it Trackable.
Tracking feedback responses isn’t complicated, but making sure everyone on your team gets the feedback they need, reviews it, and takes appropriate action can be much more challenging. Deploy good tools to capture who is asking for feedback, who’s responding, and who takes what action on each critical response.
8. Use Instant Alerts.
Collect feedback in a way that you can be instantly alerted to new feedback and drive real-time follow-up. A good system will establish score thresholds that indicate, in real-time, when follow-up is required for exceptional circumstances. Make sure the right people are alerted so nothing falls through the cracks.
9. Keep the Client First.
Structure your feedback techniques so that it is quick and easy for the client to give you feedback. Don’t waste their time with long surveys or questions with answers that only matter to you. Response rates are higher with multiple short surveys over a period of time, than with one or two long surveys sent less frequently.
10. Follow up.
Don’t neglect the follow up! A survey should always start a conversation, not replace one. Typically, follow-up is simply a personal acknowledgement that you saw and read the response. However, if any special situations were noted (either in scores or comments) be sure you open a dialogue to show how the feedback will change the process and project going forward.
Each of these feedback techniques focus on a deliberate approach to your feedback collection efforts. Set your goals to collect actionable feedback in way that is easy for the client. Make understanding the results and following up easy for you too. See feedback as the opportunity that it is to improve your process, reduce your liability and become your client’s expert.
Posted on April 11th, 2013 View Comments
In this post he recalls helping a client prepare for an interview for a major design project. The firm he was helping had imagined a typical presentation that includes the history of the company, shows similar projects, team experience and a commitment to excellence.
But David got the group to slow down and really think. The proposed presentation was just like anyone else’s. So, they role played as if they were the client, coming up details about what the potential client was really worried about. Once they got going on this, they realized it all boiled down to their ability to complete the project on time.
They used the next several hours to fill the two whiteboards in the room with details on exactly HOW they could get the project done for the client, not only on time, but early! Instead of preparing a formal presentation, they would show the client how they were going to make this project happen. This is our kind of problem solving too, getting down to the core of the issue, and coming up with a plan to solve it. (And filling up whiteboards with great stuff.) The designers were able to really understand the client’s issue and see things from the client’s perspective.
Needless to say, they blew the competition out of the water. Won the job and then some. Because they understood what mattered to the client.
Please take a moment to read the full story on David’s website: http://www.stoneandcompany.net/davids_marketing_blog/2013/4/Slam-Dunk-on-a-White-Board
Posted on April 4th, 2013 View Comments
In my day to day job, we are constantly talking about the importance of feedback. And I really do believe in it. But I didn’t realize how much until now.
I’m taking some online classes, and in one of those classes, the professor is taking up to 5 weeks to return grades. For one assignment, a simple discussion board post, the professor took 26% off. One of the worst grades I’ve gotten! For weeks, I’ve been begging for some detail as to why she took those points off. Soon, another discussion post will be due, and I won’t have the information I need to improve my post. I need know where I did not meet the criteria for the assignment, in order to improve for next time.
Likewise, in a professional services firm, improvement of your process requires a better understanding of the details of an exchange. You need more information than just “the client didn’t like it” (read: points taken off). Details about client expectations and project results offer the ability to improve your process for the better.
In my case, I’ve already paid for this class, and the semester will be over in 5 weeks. This particular professor has very little motivation to provide me with the feedback I’m asking – no – begging for. Her detailed feedback is very valuable to me. It’s just as valuable in the case of professional service firms. You need more than just a thumbs up or thumbs down; you need real data.
Your project will likely go on longer than my short school semester, and you want to make sure you get more work, and get paid for it. So, be sure you are asking your clients for specific feedback. Be sure you are listening to it. And use it to improve your process and the project.
Posted on February 17th, 2013 View Comments
On February 17th, 2013, DesignFacilitator released the latest version of the Client Feedback Tool. Release 6.7 includes several new features to assist with importing and exporting data with the Tool. Additionally, we included many enhancements that our users have requested or suggested.
We enhanced the Tool’s Enterprise Integration Kit (EIK), which allows you to send surveys from financial or other software. You can now pass through additional fields such as a contact’s company, company type, and group; and a project’s type, client, client-type.
We augmented the power of the EIK data Application Programming Interface (API), which allows you to extract raw data from the Tool and use it in third party applications. Users who take advantage of this powerful feature can now extract Follow-up details, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and NPS % Promoters and % Detractors. Another API improvement permits you to filter by your project numbers.
- You will now see a warning if you attempt to add follow-up comments to the Answer Report of a survey that was started, but is not yet finished. [user requested]
- Firm Administrators (FAs) now receive a warning message if they choose to delete a firm member. The FA may choose to delete the member and his associated data or just restrict the member from using the tool.
- You can now see all of your scheduled reports listed, including those that someone else scheduled you to receive. [user requested] The reports scheduled by others are on your Preferences screen in the Options tab.
- Scheduled Reports emails now offer you an “Unsubscribe” link.
- Now you can view a survey reply and then mark it “unread.”
- If you filter your firm’s contact or project lists, and then export the data, you will receive a list of the filtered data, not all data. (improvement)
Posted on January 14th, 2013 View Comments
On January 13th, 2013, the latest release of the Client Feedback Tool was made available. Release 6.6 includes several new features to assist with customizing your clients’ survey experience, as well as tools to facilitate data management.
The big story includes a new, more extensively customizable branding capability. Survey invitation emails, reminders, and the survey pages can all now be customized with a more extensive palette of colors, fonts, images and layouts – including embedding images/logos into email messages, and expanded use of foreign languages. Additionally, you can now have multiple branding templates available, and select which brand/style template to use when sending a survey. Custom brand templates require professional assistance to set up – contact your account manager for questions.
Also added are flexible controls to sort, filter and manage contacts and projects in the My Firm section. For example, you can now easily search for, and delete, projects that contain no surveys.
There is also a new “Responses with Follow-up” report (found in the Follow-Up tab). This report allows you to quickly filter survey responses that include follow-up, helpful if you wish to see the entire history with one client.
Additional improvements include a streamlined user registration experience, a list of blog posts on the home screen, enhanced Contact Group importing, and several bug fixes.
Posted on December 5th, 2012 View Comments
The 2012 A/E/C Industry Summit, presented by PSMJ, will be held December 6 & 7 at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort in Orlando. The conference theme is Massive Change Impacting The Design Industry In 2013 And Beyond, and will include cutting-edge practices that can be immediately implemented and offer secrets to keeping your clients happy and loyal.
If you’re attending this event, please join Mike Phillips, Founder of DesignFacilitator’s ClientFeedbackTool, for his Friday, December 7 10:15 am presentation: What Clients Will Want From Their Consultants in the Future.
For more information on the event visit www.psmj.com.
Posted on December 3rd, 2012 View Comments
Our latest release of the Client Feedback Tool includes several important new features as well as numerous bug fixes. The major new features are noted below.
1. Over the past couple of years we have developed the ability for the Client Feedback Tool to integrate with other software. We are especially proud of our ability to integrate directly with Deltek Vision to help automate survey sending. Our integration platform works with any open standards-based application – you can even report on feedback results directly from Microsoft Excel.
For integration to provide consistent results, each project must have a unique Project Number, just like other applications you use.
How does this affect you?
- All new Projects will now be required to have a Project Number
- No two projects can have the exact same Project Number
For most clients, these changes will have no impact, since they already use unique Project Numbers for all of their projects.
Should any of your past projects be missing a Project Number, or have a duplicate Project Number, Firm Administrators will see a message when accessing Projects in “My Firm -> Projects” that alerts you to that fact. As you are able, please update that information. No action is required if you are not planning an integration.
Going forward, you will not be able to create new projects with blank or duplicate numbers. You can, however, use any combination of letters, numbers, and / or symbols in the “Project Number” field, and project numbers can be changed at any time.
If you have any questions about this change and how it affects your firm, or need some help in setting standards for Project Numbers, feel free to contact us.
2. When reviewing feedback results, the data presented often prompts an interest in more information, or related data (e.g. about a project). We have added drill-down hyperlinks (links) in several reports, so that you can easily view more information without having to leave the current page, and navigate further around the site without having to remember where to find what you want.
The links initially display a popup with average scores by question category, and you can click a button for More Information to view a full report of all numeric scores and comments. Some of the reports that have these new links are listed below.
Ask For Feedback section:
- The Last Survey Sent Dates Report now has links for Project, Sender and Recipient (first data column)
- The Send a Survey Reminder Report now has links for Project and Sender (first data column), and Recipient (third data column)
Review Feedback section:
- The Surveys Sent Report and Unfinished Surveys Report now have links for Project and Sender (first data column)
- The Survey Replies Report now has links for Project and Sender (first data column), and Recipient (third data column)
Follow Up section:
- The Surveys Needing Follow-up Report and Surveys With Follow-up Report now have links for Project and Sender (first data column), and Recipient (third data column)
3. Many users wanted a dedicated report for an individual project or project group. The Individual Summary Report (under Review Feedback) can now be shown by project or project group in addition to the default of showing by sender. There is a new option on the Filters tab on the report ribbon where you can make your selection.
4. One of our most powerful features is the ability to schedule surveys to be sent at a later date. This can be done when sending surveys by hand, in a batch, or using our integration with Deltek Vision or other external software.
When a survey is scheduled, the person creating the survey has the option to send a reminder email prior to sending the survey, and/or send a notification email when the survey is actually sent. If the survey creator scheduled the survey on behalf of someone else (the sender of record), the sender of record should receive those emails so that they have a chance to review the survey prior to it being sent, and so they know when they are actually sent. Those scheduled survey emails are now sent to the sender of record instead of the person who scheduled the survey.
5. Large firms can have members with the same or similar names. In order to minimize confusion when importing projects, project managers are now specified by email instead of name. The Initial Setup Import Worksheet (Other Resources page) and online help have updated instructions to note this change.
We firmly believe that all feedback is good, and appreciate your suggestions and feedback. Some of our best feature ideas come from our users, so please contact us for change requests.
Posted on November 28th, 2012 View Comments
By Barbara Shuck, FSMPS, CPSM
Customer engagement, behavioral economics and maximizing business results are top of mind in most business owners’ minds these days.
How can I retain my clients and ensure my employees are fully engaged with delivering the most effective products and services for company stability?
How can I tap into my clients’ minds to better understand how they make decisions?
How can I help my employees understand their roles in maintaining satisfied clients and improving transactional experiences?
A recent interview with Ed O’Boyle, Global Practice Leader at Gallup, explains how behavior economics applies to company performance. The full article, “The Impact of Human Emotions,” can be viewed at http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/158450/business-impact-human-emotions.aspx?ref=more
“Great organizations understand that the only way they can maximize customer output, customer engagement, and subsequent business results is to maximize their employee output and get people aligned with the brand promise,” says O’Boyle.
“In organizations where neither employees nor customers are engaged, nothing good happens,” he said. “Our data suggests that when organizations engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240% boosts in performance-related business outcomes compared with an organization with neither engaged employees nor engaged customers.”
Gaining feedback from clients, employees and associated business partners is a critical first step in understanding how to improve points of engagement. The most effective feedback tools tap into quantitative and qualitative data that helps companies analyze trends as well as learn specific client pains and pleasures.
Asking the question is just the first step toward finding answers that will transform how a company can learn to measure client emotions and employee responsiveness that will lead toward successful results.
And using feedback data substantiates what behavioral economists are discovering, according to O’Boyle. “Organizations in every industry and sector – public and private—can attempt to manage those emotional connections to maximize performance,” says O’Boyle.
O’Boyle’s comments provide a new perspective about how emotions play an important role in determining business outcomes. His description of the four outcomes of HumanSigma has great potential for firm leaders who value client feedback. When we measure client engagement, we’re taking important steps toward the long-term sustainability of our firms. Now that’s an exciting topic to fill our minds!
Our guest blogger is Barbara Shuck, FSMPS, CPSM, Chief Marketing Officer at Emc2 Group Architects Planners, PC, in Mesa, Arizona. She is Secretary/Treasurer on the National Board of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). SMPS connects businesses, professionals and organizations in the built environment through the Society’s role as the industry’s primary source for marketing and business development expertise. She can be reached at 480.830.3838, or email@example.com.
Posted on November 19th, 2012 View Comments
As the year winds down and we prepare to spend time with family and friends, our thoughts often turn to all the good things that have happened and the people who have helped make them successful.
Our most fundamental human need is for meaning. We want to know that what we do makes a difference. But how do we know whether we are making a difference? There are many ways we can be rewarded, but ultimately we are social beings. Getting verbal recognition from another that our actions are truly appreciated makes us feel needed and valued.
Telling your clients that you value their business, and asking how to serve them better, lets them know that you care. Most marketing resources are focused on acquiring new customers. Much less is focused on retention marketing, keeping the clients you already have. Often an order of magnitude less. And yet existing clients are 5 times more valuable than new ones! Clients will typically pay about 18% more to get superior customer service. If you can find out what your clients really need, they will become loyal promoters of your business.
Employees and coworkers are motivated by several factors, but one that is often overlooked is the need for appreciation. The number one reason for staff turnover is because people don’t feel that their efforts are appreciated. Receiving verbal recognition from clients, coworkers and management increases morale and productivity tremendously.
Our Client Feedback Tool can help you integrate gratitude into your business relationships on all levels on a regular basis. The majority of feedback collected using our system is positive, which is highly motivating. The suggestions for improvement are typically specific and actionable, which helps to improve your service to your clients.
Show the people you work with some appreciation today. Yes, right now. Do it often. And be specific. It will transform your relationships.