Client Feedback Tool
  • An inside look at the numbers – reducing client problems by 83%

    Posted on August 28th, 2013 Sally Orcutt No comments

    How do you measure the results collecting feedback has on your business?  We continue to hear from our clients how using our feedback process has had terrific (and sometimes unexpected) results. Anecdotally, they have shared stories about the client who said they were really pleased with their service but would rather have a phone call than emailed meeting minutes. Then there was the client who said he really didn’t want to have to go back to his boss to ask for additional fees so would they please just include in the contract ‘whatever’ they thought it would take to get the job done!

    You might say that these don’t really seem like problems – just preferences. Exactly. However, left undiscovered, each of these clients may over time feel a little less satisfied with the relationship. These clients may not have told you that these are their preferences but according to a recent ACEC poll, they often feel as though you should ‘just know’.

    Well as much as we love hearing these stories (please keep them coming) we wanted to quantify these results for our clients. We decided to dig a bit deeper and let the actual clients surveyed tell the story, from their perspective.

    We analyzed all the feedback collected over a two year period. 24% of all replies included a score below “Met Expectations.” We then selected just the cases where someone who gave a low score at least once later responded to another survey from the same person.

    We found 1,121 vendor-client relationships that had feedback collected a second time after a low score was given.

    In these relationships, the occurrence of scores below “Met Expectations” went DOWN by over 83%. In essence, those who collected feedback and got a low score were able to adjust and demonstrably improve their service to those clients.

    Would you like to eliminate 83% of your client problems?

    In addition to an overall lower rate of low scores, the overall average scores went up noticeably as well.  If we draw a line for all feedback collected before the low score occurred, and compare it to all feedback collected after, we see the ratings move from just barely meeting expectations to consistently exceeding expectations.

    When you can exceed your client’s expectations, you will keep them around – building loyalty and maximizing the value of your relationship.

    If you aren’t already asking, don’t assume your clients are telling you everything.  When you ask for feedback, you will discover opportunities to improve.  Even better, once you discover a problem, the data shows you can fix it.

    Learn more by visiting our website or contact us at:

    answers@clientfeedbacktool.com   or   866-433-7322

  • I Love Great Clients

    Posted on August 23rd, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments
    I Love Great Clients

    I just spent an hour and twenty minutes on a last-minute virtual meeting with a client. I wasn’t supposed to be in the office today, and only came in to catch up on a million things I haven’t had time for lately (like the massive expense report accounting is hounding me for). Honestly, though I do love this client, when the call came through all I could think about was what I had to get done today.

    But you know, the thing is, great clients have a way of making interruptions worthwhile. Today was a perfect example. Our time on the phone was both fun and thought provoking. She asked dozens of great questions and together we brainstormed seven wonderful ideas for new features that will make the Client Feedback Tool so much better. To be honest, I walked away with more value than I think I gave. I discovered this client is analyzing her firm’s feedback in ways I’ve never seen any firm analyze. And I realized that the consulting, advice, and strategy I offer to my other clients just got deeper, stronger, and…more strategic.

    But there’s more. I had a conversation with this client about two weeks ago that was more of a crisis intervention due to some very challenging feedback we received. We had let them down in delivery of a long-overdue scope item. (Yes, we’re human too – we just make sure to get feedback and tackle the problems head-on).

    As I write this after our conversation, I’m grasping to put my thoughts into words – but there’s a truth here that goes deep to my core. Today’s phone call is what we’re really all about and why we feel so passionately about what we do. Two weeks ago we dropped the ball with this client. However, because we have been soliciting feedback from them on an ongoing basis, they felt comfortable telling us they were disappointed. For our part, we stayed focused on how we could help, responded rationally and in a solutions-driven way, and kept the relationship in good health. This kept the lines of communication open for today’s great conversation where the client could ask me for help (she wants new features to enable new analysis).

    These are the kinds of clients I love. We can get down in the trenches together. Fix problems together. Create great new things together. Make each other better. And have a darn good time doing it, even if it sometimes throws off my to-do list. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my morning.

    Do you have any clients you love? Let me hear your stories in the comments!

    P.S. – if you’re reading this, dear client, thanks for being a great one.

  • 3 Ways Client Surveys Build Stronger Relationships

    Posted on August 12th, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments
    3 Ways Client Surveys Build Stronger Relationships

    Each of your clients, like you, are individuals that have a unique definition for what a positive client service experience means to them. We can no longer treat everyone the same way – it just doesn’t work!  Sending client surveys Blog-Post-graphicgives your firm the opportunity to ask clients what that terrific experience looks like to them – each of them. It also gives you the chance to show that your firm is serious about their satisfaction and to build stronger relationships. As a result of the thousands of survey results and comments we’ve seen, we wanted to share with you the top 3 reasons clients want you to send them a client survey.

    1. Ease or Dis-ease: Your clients want to be at ease in their relationship with you. They hired your firm in the first place because they believed you could provide them with a service they needed. So what happens when something is not exactly right? We all know that tension we feel when one of our relationships is not flowing smoothly. Your clients feel the same way. When you send them a client survey and give them the chance to let you know their preferences, it creates a greater sense of ease for them because you gave them a voice.
    2. Build Trust: Trust is a funny thing, it takes time to build and usually involves both positive (and negative) interactions. We all want to be seen as ‘an expert’ for our clients and sometimes may think this means there are never any miss-steps or misunderstandings. Clients understand that nobody is perfect – what they are looking for is corrective action when something has not gone as expected. The interactions you have with your clients often have consequences you may not even be aware exist. Your efforts impact a client’s reputation with their team, their boss, maybe even their clients. When you send a client survey and follow up in a timely manner, your clients grow in their trust that you will handle situations in a positive, professional manner.
    3. Creates Affirmation: Everybody wants to be appreciated and acknowledged. In fact it is such a basic human need, that we hear and read about client appreciation and satisfaction in a great many marketing materials. The reality is however, that more times than not, these are empty words and there are no actions behind the words.  When you send a client survey and follow up, your actions, not just your words, tell your client that you value them, their input, and their satisfaction. That is a very powerful message.

     

  • SMPS Build Business 2013 Recap

    Posted on August 8th, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments
    SMPS Build Business 2013 Recap

    SMPS Build Business is always a fun event and last week’s annual gathering of marketers from the AEC industry was no exception. Hundreds of creative minds converged at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin in Orlando to share ideas, promote best practices, be inspired by some great speakers, and provide peer support to each other.

    Keynote speaker Dan Clark had a crowd of hundreds bounding between laughter and tears, as he encouraged everyone to stretch themselves and be their best right now and every moment. Dan reminded us to always carry with us our education, our character, our convictions, and our legacy.

    The annual SMPS Gala and Awards Ceremony provided a night of fun celebrating the achievements of members and affiliated companies, while also honoring key movers who moved on this year. I personally enjoyed seeing so many firms recognized for excellence in their craft.

    I had an opportunity to present a breakout session The Power of Feedback: Quality Driven Relationships to a nearly full room. The crowd was engaging and shared stories from their own experiences. Many were surprised how few professional services firms have a formal client feedback program (5%), and based on the hands raised in the room, those numbers were close to what our own group experienced.

    We left the room with a clearer understanding of the higher call we each have to not only practice our craft, but to do so in a way that is sensitive to each client’s unique needs and expectations. Creating exceptional client experiences is a key part of Dreaming Big – the overall theme of the conference.

    We also had a presence in the exhibition hall, and based on the buzz I can humbly (with pride?) say that we stole the show. One of our staffers created an amazing exhibit – the crazy big orange barrel monster pictured here.

    Towering Over the Exhibit Hall - The Responsinator

    Towering Over the Exhibit Hall – The Responsinator

    Rather than contriving a name for the beast, we had a naming contest. Of course, a conference full of professional marketers came up with a fantastic list, and choosing a winner proved difficult.

    Greg Dimech from Faithful+Gould came up with the winning name: “The Responsinator!” However, a late entry  by Jeff Kale from Ulteig would have challenged Greg. Jeff’s near-winning suggestion: “Coneman the Barrelbarian.” I knew the SMPS crowd would come up with better ideas than we ever could.

    Other entries included Highway Harry, Road Rage Randy, Conely, Ernie, Spike the Barrel, Felix Feeder, Minion!, Rodolpho (one of us loved that one), Stax, Big O’ Barrel Bob, Crunchy, Fred (a jab at Fred Redding – our Director of Business Development?), and Terrance. Have a favorite or an idea of your own? Post in the comments below.

    As always, Build Business was a great opportunity to connect with peers, network, discover new business opportunities, and have a lot of fun. For those who have never been, I hope you’ll sign up for the 2014 conference so we can meet next year in San Antonio!