Would you ever continue to drive down the freeway going in what may or may not be the right direction? No. You always plan ahead and then rely on your GPS to tell you that you’re on track.
Think of your client relationship like traveling down the freeway. No matter how much planning you put into the beginning phases of your partnership, you should always rely on client feedback to ensure you’re on the most direct path to success.
Each of your clients has a unique set of needs, which need to be identified and nurtured. You can keep the momentum alive long after the early stages of your partnership by conducting meetings with your clients to gain feedback on your agency’s performance. These feedback meetings need to happen periodically throughout the year and should be the right balance – enough meetings, but not too many –for your partnership to thrive. I recommend quarterly meetings to start and then adjusting if you find that they are too often or not often enough.
It’s surprising how much insight you can gain from feedback meetings when you ask the right questions.
Here are four questions that we use here at SME Digital (the agency arm of Social Media Explorer) that are sure to spark a valuable conversation:
What’s working for you?
Always start the conversation on a positive note. Find out what your client likes about the partnership, the deliverables and the style of your services. It’s always beneficial to hear what the client appreciates about the way your team handles their account and also reminds the client why you are a good fit for their needs.
From this question, you can gauge their level of satisfaction, understand which areas you are meeting or exceeding expectations, and decide whether or not the initial strategy is still meeting their organization’s needs.
What’s not working for you?
This is your opportunity to learn what areas you can improve in and what changes need to be made. Identifying any dissatisfaction your client has early on gives you time to make adjustments before it’s too late. Although this part of the conversation may not be pleasant, it’s important to have an open-mind and use the feedback to make adjustments so the partnership is successful for the client and agency team.
Our work together would be even better if…?
Framing the question as improving on an already-good foundation shows the client that you are proactive and are dedicated to constant improvement, even if their satisfaction level is high.
This question invites clients to take a deeper look into opportunities that they may not have even considered. Highly satisfied clients seldom consider what could make the partnership better and always appreciate the question, which shows your commitment to continued success.
Is there anything else we should address – good, bad or new?
The goal of this question is to encourage the client to offer any positive or negative feedback and raise any questions that have not already been discussed. It ensures you’ve covered everything and gives you the opportunity for you to provide additional value. If your client is not inclined to speak up, or struggles with how to respond, guide him/her with additional questions such as:
- Is there anything you would like more or less of?
- What other challenges or opportunities are you facing, within our area of expertise, can we help you with?
The answers to these four questions will provide great insight into what is working well for your client, what needs improvement, and where there are opportunities for growth and development. It will also show your client how committed and dedicated your organization is to their success business. But, gaining this information is only the first step. You must be ready and willing to implement change in your processes and approach to prove that you are listening to your client. Listening is the foundation of a healthy client relationship. They hold the key to a long and successful partnership, so be sure approach the conversation as an opportunity for improvement.
What questions have you found particularly successful in requesting client feedback? Please share in the comments below.