Client Experience Engagement: They want to talk to you

March 22, 2021

More and more professional services firms are exploring integrating client experience engagement and data-driven client experience programs into their core business processes. Client Savvy is frequently asked, “who is the best person to send the feedback request to a client?” The answer is "The person with the client relationship." We found an interesting trend within two million responses. Client Experience data shows that they do want to talk to you. They're willing. Better yet, you're the only person who can change their project for the better. Because they like you. Furthermore, when their manager or a third-party feedback company asks for the feedback, it doesn't feel as authentic.

Feedback Observations screenshot
Client Feedback Tool

What you see here is an example from a company that engaged us to perform third-party feedback (on the right), PM/client feedback (in the middle), and internal feedback (on the left).

When clients think the survey is high level, “overall how are things,” they tell the boss they love you and they love the process. Overall, things are great, which they likely are. If they use this forum to criticize, suddenly, the client feels like he’s tattling on you to your boss. It might get the problem fixed, if the boss talks to you about it, but the client still has to sit across the table from you at the next meeting, knowing s/he withheld information from you, and threw you under the bus to your boss. No one likes to do that.

But when you ask directly, and the survey feels more like a conversation and less like a management tool. Your clients will comment specifically on the little things you can do differently because they know you are reading this, and they trust you to act on the information. They will be candid and direct. The psychology of how our answer scale works also plays into their ability to be direct. Ultimately, your clients want to talk to you.

Ask Directly

Look at the results. When PMs ask for feedback directly, there’s a 300% increase in low scores and a 500% increase in open-ended comments. See? Clients want to talk!

Consider the internal feedback, on the left. There’s no more critical bunch of people than your colleagues. Internal staff feedback reveals the biggest interest in helping each other improve while being sensitive to our own unique needs and preferences.

High-trust relationships open the ground for more candid and critical feedback. The closer the relationship, the more critical the feedback is. Because you are more invested in making the relationship work, you have more trust already in play to work from.

There’s no better way to get honest, candid, helpful feedback than for you to ask directly from the people you work with every day – on the project and in the office.

If you’re ready to introduce a disciplined client experience listening program to enable your clients to provide helpful feedback, we’re here to help make that happen.

Interested in learning more? Check out, Getting Started With Electronic Feedback.

Any other questions about what we've learned from client feedback over the last 17 years? We're happy to share what we've learned.

Ryan Suydam

Ryan Suydam co-founded Client Savvy in 2004, to help firms create fierce client loyalty by designing, implementing, and measuring client experiences. He has coached nearly 700 organizations and over 30,000 professionals on the skills required to be “client savvy.”

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