Are your customers happy?

If your business is doing well, you might think that the answer must be yes. Certainly, enough of your customers are happy to keep things running the way you’re used to.

But that doesn’t mean they’re all happy with you, and it doesn’t mean there is no risk. In today’s hyper-connected world, a single unhappy customer can make a huge difference – just look at United Breaks Guitars.

If one unhappy customer could have such a pronounced effect on a major airline, it’s evident that web agencies need to invest time in hearing their customers’ voices. If you do this right, you can not only avoid potential PR disasters, but you can add value to your processes and earn loyal users.

How Client Feedback Usually Works

There is one particular truth about client feedback that often intimidates business owners from asking for it.

The fact is that the majority of feedback is negative. If you have ever been put on hold by a telephone autoresponder, you know why this is so.

After all, who is going to dial a phone number, navigate a confusing autoresponder menu (“press two for help with…”), and wait for on-hold for ten minutes just to complain?

The answer: Someone who is really pissed off.

By the time that customer actually gets through to anyone who can help, it’s too late. The damage has been done, and you may have lost a customer.

You may not own a huge corporation with a telephone autoresponder and a call center, but the underlying process is the same. If unhappy customers don’t have access to an immediate solution to their problems, they will blame you for it – often publicly.

But if you proactively seek client feedback and let customers know that you are invested in solving those problems, you can actually win new customers using their responses.

How to Use Client Feedback to Gain Valuable Insight

Client feedback can be an incredibly important part of the overall value your agency offers. Think of it as free user data that has already been interpreted for you – a ground-level view of what you’re doing right and what you can improve.

This only works if you let your clients know that their feedback matters. They have to know that whatever they say will count.

You can do this by developing a custom user input form for client feedback and organizing their comments in a categorized spreadsheet. Now you’ll know exactly what percentage of users are pleased or displeased with your service, and why.

Use the following tips to position your client feedback strategy for success:

1. Ask the Right Questions

You can’t just send an input form to everyone you work with asking, “will you please give us some feedback?” You have to ask specific, pointed questions that inspire detailed responses.

The best way to open a conversation with your clients is by using open-ended questions that focus on specific aspects of the customer experience. These questions ask for specific insights on improvements and encourage honest responses.

Consider questions that start with what, where, and how:

  • What features do you think could improve our product or service?
  • Where do you have the most difficulty with our sales process?
  • How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?

These are all improvement-oriented questions that merit detailed responses. They are not yes/no ratings that result in dead-end answers.

2. Make It Easy

It’s good to be very complete and precise when dealing with client feedback, but don’t overwhelm them with questions. You should focus on getting the most important information as quickly as possible and avoid wasting your customer’s time in the process.

Your feedback form should cut to the chase and be as easy to use as possible. Consider how much time it takes to complete each question. Remember the complex telephone autoresponder that everyone hates – design your client feedback experience to be as far away from that as possible.

If you ask for too much of your clients’ time, you will see a significant number of drop-offs and incomplete forms. You can often get great feedback just by asking one or two questions.

Even titans of industry like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos make customer feedback easy. Anyone can email the wealthiest person in modern history. Bezos will actually forward complaints to the employee responsible, adding a single, terrifying question mark to the thread – sending the entire department into full-scale damage control mode.

3. Be Personal

Whether you are a small agency or a global corporation, a personal touch always performs well when asking for client feedback. Let your customers know that their responses are going to a real human being, not an automated database.

This lets you open up an authentic conversation with your clients and it encourages them to be direct and honest with you. Automated messages that come from, “the customer support team” seem less than genuine – they essentially tell clients that you are too busy to actually read their feedback, which is the exact opposite of the effect you want to have.

Simply including your name, the client’s name, and some details about your work together in an email is enough to bridge that gap. If you want to ask for feedback on the ending page of a web application, the personal touch still applies – include a photograph, a phone number, and a sincere message that feels like something a human being would write.

4. Send a Follow-Up Thank You Note

This is the step that really makes a difference when it comes to client feedback for web agencies. If they took the time to tell you exactly what they think about your web agency, you owe them a thank you note.

That’s free engagement data and a chance for interactive remarketing that you can’t lose out on. Again, the personal touch prevails here. Let them know that you actually read all of your clients’ comments and use their feedback to improve your products and services.

This is especially important when you receive negative feedback. It shows that you are working towards improving the user experience and it demonstrates a commitment to your clients’ goals. After all, nobody is perfect – owning up to your mistakes is a powerful way to demonstrate value in the web agency space.

Don’t have time to write a follow-up thank you notes from scratch? Design a few generalized templates for your main customer categories and add the variable data (contact name, company name, project name, completion date) right before sending.