While the mantra “what I don’t know can’t hurt me” might work in some situations, when it comes to knowing what your clients think of you, what you don’t know definitely can hurt. Knowing if your clients are dissatisfied in any way is crucial if you have any chance of nipping trouble spots in the bud.
Social media has made monitoring how your clients feel easier than ever. Using Twitter or Facebook, both you and your clients can provide instant feedback, either to something you’ve posted, or something they have.
Your job of course, is to respond quickly – online or offline – to any of their comments, especially if it’s remotely negative. (For tips on how to respond to comments and questions, read our article: Getting your clients – and potential clients to “like” you.) Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a client post some positive feedback, make sure you acknowledge that as well – it’s far more difficult to get someone to write a compliment than a complaint, so recognise it when it happens.
However, when it comes to finding out what clients really think of your business, you can’t go past a survey. It’s a tried and true method that remains an effective way of getting feedback and, thanks to online survey solutions, it’s both cost and time effective.
One popular tool is SurveyMonkey, which you can use to conduct surveys that range from a simple poll to one that develops more in-depth market analysis. The online survey app Floq and Google Forms, which allow you to both create and analyse surveys, are two other popular solutions.
Because people are time-poor, really think about the questions you pose. What do you want to achieve from the survey? Is it to simply reaffirm that your clients are satisfied? Or are you after suggestions about where one particular part of your business could be improved?
You could ask them to rate you on how easy they feel it is to contact you, how well you understand their personal financial situation, or whether you should be providing different types of communications, such as a monthly newsletter. You could gain insights into what they want by asking them to select services they’d like you to be able to offer or facilitate, while asking how likely they are to recommend you to friends is always a good indicator of how satisfied they are.
Always leave a ‘free form’ text box available, too, for any comments or feedback. This is often where you find the most valuable information.
Best practice is to ask a small number of questions – no more than 10 – and when you send the survey out via email to your database, make sure you specify how many questions there are and how long it should take. Once a year is enough to survey your clients, unless you want feedback on a specific area, such as a new service you’re thinking of introducing.
A good idea to increase the number of people responding is to offer some form of incentive, shopping or restaurant vouchers, for example. If you do this, however, people need to enter their details, and that may hold them back from being completely honest.
If you do want to incentivise people to respond, but want to ensure you’re getting the right sort of feedback, offer to make a donation to a charity for each person who responds. That way, people will feel as if they’re doing good, you’re getting insightful feedback, and promoting yourself positively to your database, too.
For more information on how to put surveys together, and how to analyse the data once you’ve done so, this Survey Monkey guide is a great place to start.
If surveys aren’t your thing, there are other options. Hively.com, for example, invites respondents to give instant feedback using icons such as smiley faces. You can do this by inserting these icons into your email signature and every time you send an email, your client can click on the icon that best describes how they feel, giving you instant feedback.
Once you know what your clients think of you, don’t forget to act on it. If you’ve uncovered trouble spots, take appropriate action to rectify them. If clients feel they’re not being engaged most of the year, maybe introduce a regular newsletter, or send them useful client related articles such as How to duck investment scams, from the Empowered website, to make them feel connected and engaged with you.
The only thing worse than having an unhappy client is if you fail to do anything about it. So make sure you action their feedback, and report back to them on the steps you’ve taken to address their concerns.
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