Client Feedback Tool
  • Even Best Friends Need Feedback

    Posted on February 4th, 2015 Ryan Suydam No comments
    Even Best Friends Need Feedback

    I just received a call from one of our Client Feedback Tool users who needed help with a technical issue. While working with him (I’ll call him John), we began discussing a feedback response he just received.

    John’s client responded with all scores in the “Exceptional” range, and a Net Promoter Score of 10 (very likely to recommend him). The client even wrote in a comment: “Working with John is always an outstanding experience!” – What great feedback.

    Buried in all the glitter and gold, I saw something interesting. On one question, regarding managing the project budget, the client responded with an “Acceptable” answer – a full notch down from Met Expectations. As the Client Feedback Tool’s sliding scale prevents any “accidental” scores, the client had clearly dragged the score down. He had something to say.

    When I asked John about his strategy for following-up, I suggested that (as is best practice) he email the client first, inviting the client to a conversation about managing the budget. This heads up allows the client time to formulate thoughts and engage in the conversation. Then, follow-up at the scheduled time via phone or meeting to – as humanly as possible – address the challenges.

    John laughed lightly, and said, “Oh, there’s no problem here – he’s my best friend. I’ll just call him.”

    John has a good attitude here – he likes his client (and his client likes him), so they can openly talk about a challenge and work together on bringing improvement. That’s great.

    But the real lesson here, is that even though they are best friends, and can talk about challenging feedback openly – a simple, electronic feedback system was still instrumental inĀ starting the conversation. As close as they may be, making it the client’s responsibility to introduce a concern puts an unfair burden on the client. Especially when they’re close associates or friends. So many people are timid about introducing criticism, or don’t want to hurt your feelings. Making them go first forces them into an uncomfortable position.

    A simple set of questions, posed between friends, is starting a dialogue that needed to happen.

    The closer your client is, the more I encourage you to experiment with feedback. These are the most valued relationships you have, they are the safest, and with a little discovery and improvement, these clients will grow into even bigger fans and advocates for you and your firm.

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