Your clients can provide you with the ultimate gauge of how valuable your organisation is to them. Don’t assume you already know what your clients want, you need to ask them.

Good or bad, views and reviews from your clients can provide you with an invaluable insight into how they rate your company and how you can improve. As long as the comments that come back to you are constructive, even criticism should be appreciated.

But how do you do this?

Existing Touch Points

Any opportunity you or your staff get, make sure that it is company policy to ask if clients are happy with their current service. Do they have any problems you can help with? Build this sort of rapport into telephone conversations, website content and the context of letters and emails and make it easy for your clients to talk to you.

Questionnaires & Surveys

It is always worth sending out questionnaires/surveys to a random sample of your clients. Make sure they are well designed, easy to read, are aptly worded and do not take too long to complete.

The most important consideration is what questions to ask. It will help to think not about the questions asked but the answers you will receive and how they will help you. Consider the format the answers should be in – free type responses are nice but can restrict the number of responses as they can take longer to complete. They will also limit the analysis you can do of the results since it can be difficult to spot trends. It is often better to offer people multiple choice questions and the opportunity to free type if required. Go through each question carefully and ask yourself what you will do if you get lots of negative responses? Do you have enough information about the problem to fix it? Look at the language you are using and make sure that you aren’t steering people towards one answer or another.

Once you have something you are happy with, get some feedback from friends and colleagues before pressing the button!

Don’t forget to make them easy for people to respond – either by email or post. If you are in contact with your clients electronically you could consider an online solution. There are many services, some of which are free of charge (take a look at Survey Monkey); that you can use to create a professional online survey – this also makes collating the results a lot easier!

Your Website

You could have a section on your website for clients to leave responses to your service. Don’t forget to make the private until you have reviewed them to avoid Spam. With client’s permission, you can then use the positive feedback on your marketing material as client testimonials.

Listen!

Most importantly, when you get the feedback, read it, analyse it and use the information to enhance the service you provide. This really is the only true way of making client feedback work for you. It also goes towards building really great relationships with those that matter the most.