Client Feedback Tool
  • “I just love working with you…” Really?

    Posted on September 16th, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments

    Your firm is committed to using client evaluation surveys to ensure project success. So what do you do when your client gives you all high marks and you just know it isn’t true?

    Recently one of our clients shared a story with me in which she was faced with this situation. Megan had been working on a project for Dee for several months. During this time there were a lot of times – certainly more than typical – when Dee came back with comments like, ‘well, that is fine but…’ Megan continued to feel that as hard as she tried to meet Dee’s expectations, there was something that was just not adding up.

    For a number of years, Megan’s firm had elected to use client evaluation surveys. As a result, and because Megan really wanted to create a successful project for Dee, she decided to send her a survey. The survey asked Dee to consider specific points in the project process. It gave her a chance to share her thoughts on how things were going. The goal of the survey was to hear what Dee felt was important and to allow Megan to uncover what processes Dee felt were working well and which ones might be adjusted to work a little more smoothly.

    Much to her surprise, the survey came back with all top scores and the comment, “I just love working with Megan!” Holding Blank Score Cards

    Since her purpose was not to receive accolades but to serve her client more successfully, Megan set up a meeting with Dee to discuss the feedback results. She told her she really appreciated her taking the time to complete the client evaluation survey but she was a little concerned with the high scores. She told Dee, “I really enjoy working with you as well but I just feel that there is some way in which I could be serving you better.” Dee told her that she gave her the high marks because she knew other people would be looking at the scores. She said she really did like working with Megan and didn’t want her to get into any trouble.

    Megan thanked Dee and told her she really appreciated her thinking of her. She was quick to add, however, that she (and her firm) actually appreciate knowing what their clients are thinking even if the survey comes back saying that the client is not completely happy with something. She pointed out that the reason her firm uses client evaluation surveys is because they are committed to providing their clients with the best possible experience.

    So how does the story end? Megan and Dee had an excellent conversation. They talked about the processes Megan was using on the project and agreed on a few minor adjustments that Dee felt would really work a little better for her. In the end, the client evaluation survey actually worked just as intended. It opened the door to an excellent conversation.

    Check out more about the benefits of asking your clients how you can serve them even better.

  • Haters Gonna Hate (Yeah, We All Have Those Clients)

    Posted on September 5th, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments

    A great article in the Washington Post points to research that validates this internet axiom – Haters are Gonna Hate.

    Now, scientists have taken it upon themselves to figure out whether this is true. Do verified haters tend to hate everything else they stumble upon? Yes, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. People who tend to hate things they already know about are (surprise!) more disposed to hate things they have not yet come in contact with.

    Read on, and you’ll find that the branded “haters” seem to be pre-disposed to negative opinions in general. I talk often about “those crazy clients” because – be honest – we all have them. Our feedback research suggests about 2-3 percent of your clients just cannot be pleased, no matter what you do.

    Knowing you have a hater as a client certainly helps matters and lets you adjust course to manage them. But, is there a way to figure out if your client is going to be a challenge for you all the time?

    How many of your hardest clients take valuable time and profit out of your organization – not to mention burning out your best employees along the way?

    What if we applied this research in the business development cycle? When you go to be interviewed by the client, take time to ask questions of your own. Target some towards relevant topics (“what have other firms like us done well for you in the past?”) but be sure to include other, more conversational questions. Not only do these questions promote a personal connection and humanize you and your firm – but look for trends in their answers. Is the client consistently negative across a broad range of topics and interests? Perhaps he’ll carry that same negativity into your relationship.

    If you run into a potential “hater” – consider specifically asking for feedback after the interview. Aside from cluing you in to the client’s disposition and temperament, it may help you win the award.

    So if you think you have a hater? Add 20% to your proposal. Don’t be afraid to lose the work. Let your competition get burned out by a demanding client, lose money, and wonder why your firm has better margins and happier employees. And if you win? At least there’s a great margin to make the pain worthwhile. Then, spend extra time creating a tremendous client experience, wow him with your awesome service, and turn his frown upside down.