Posted on November 29th, 2011 View Comments
I recently ran across a quote by a poet that I have grown to love over the years, and was surprised to discover how applicable it is to everyday business. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
While we might not all immediately connect feelings and business, when it comes to service providers, it really is all about the feelings. Does your client feel like you took good care of them? Do they feel like you are working in way help them reach their various goals?
For a client to feel good about us, it means we have shown them the respect and concern we show others that we care about. We listen. We ask questions to try to understand more. We respond quickly. We check in often to see how things are going and if there is an issue, we work hard to solve it.
We’re all imperfect human beings. Mistakes will be made. But if we take good care of a client they will remember the care, not the errors. This level of client care builds strong business relationships that last, which lead to referrals and more clients for years down the road.
Ask your clients for feedback on how they are feeling about the processes you are using. Find out their thoughts on your level of care, and be willing to make small (or big) changes in your process to make them feel more cared for. You will find no better investment than investing thoughtfully and purposefully in your client relationships.
Posted on November 22nd, 2011 View Comments
Not sure how to tell your clients about the Client Feedback Tool, and what their role is? Pass them this short video to quickly get them up to speed.
Posted on November 22nd, 2011 View Comments
Gearing up for a Thanksgiving weekend, many of us are already thinking about food, and all the great treats we’ll get to enjoy with friends and family over the coming days. And in that spirit, let’s explore one of those great moments when work and life cross paths. Today my wife baked a Thanksgiving treat for my second daughter’s first grade class, and posted a status update to her Facebook page about the event, showcasing an important lesson about feedback:
Today I brought a treat into school for Leah’s class. One of her classmates saw me walk by with a Tupperware container and started flagging me down in the lunchroom, mouthing words to me across two tables. I finally deduced that he was asking if I brought something for the class. I nodded, and he grinned really big. On his way past me to the trash can he leaned over and said, “I love it when you bake!”
My wife, as you can tell, felt GREAT to get this kind of feedback. As a mother of four wonderful kids, she invests tremendous efforts into being a Supermom – frequently baking, volunteering, and helping any way she can. She spends many of those efforts outside our immediate family, providing value (baked goods, in this case) to an entire community (the class of eager first graders).
And though her job isn’t paid (trust me, I couldn’t afford 10% of what she’s worth), she does all this for moments like the one today in the cafeteria. The simple act of an enthusiastic “Thanks!” from a first-grader provided all the compensation she needed to keep on working as hard as she does.
As a professional service provider, your sense that what you do is worthwhile is a huge part of your compensation, and it comes down to feeling appreciated. And yet so many of the people we encounter in the industry are, quite simply, afraid to ask for feedback. There’s no need for that fear! Helping firms like yours we’ve seen that 96% of feedback is positive, 84% overwhelmingly so. If you manage a design or engineering staff and you aren’t currently loading them up with real, tangible, feedback (especially from clients), you are missing a huge opportunity to build a powerful sense of purpose in their work.
Your clients, busy professionals, aren’t always positioned to see your people carrying the metaphorical bin of cookies down the school hall. Sometimes, they simply get distracted and forget to acknowledge your people and the great work they’ve done.
There’s no shame in asking! Though the purpose of a feedback system is almost always primarily about finding problems, the outcome is predominantly a resounding validation of successes. With no sense of shameless self-promotion, your staff can seek genuine opportunities to improve, and instead be rewarded with constant doses of appreciation.
As you take a moment this week to pause and reflect on those things of which you are thankful, consider sending some feedback to the professionals around you, that serve you every day. Even if they don’t ask for it, give them a call (or, better, call their boss) and say thanks for the great work. Then, as you plan for 2012, find a way to make asking for feedback from your clients a part of your daily processes. You won’t find an easier, more fun, and more healthy way to engage your staff and let them feel appreciated.