How to Gather Client Feedback
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Your clients are the cornerstone of your success. How they feel about your business and the services you provide matters to your bottom line and personal sense of fulfillment. Happy clients are good for business all around, so it’s important to understand your clients’ needs, expectations, desires, and sense of satisfaction with your financial services firm.
This is why making an effort to elicit client feedback consistently is so important.
Never let too much time pass before checking in with your clients to learn how they are doing, feeling and what they want from you.
Benefits of client feedback
Getting regular feedback from clients comes with many benefits. While you might not always be happy about what you learn, it’s critical to gather this information to ensure your business is on the right track so you can progress in a positive direction.
Identify problems early
If your clients are not satisfied, they won’t stick around. There are plenty of other financial professionals they can choose to work with instead.
All too often, advisors are blindsided to discover that a client wants to part ways. In some cases, they may assume no news is good news. Other times, they may mistake politeness or congenial interactions for client satisfaction. You need to ask and find out how the client really feels about you and your services. You may be surprised – hopefully, pleasantly so – by what you discover.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running your business without stopping to make sure you’re doing it in a manner that best meets your clients’ needs. It could be that you are not providing the right services or delivering them in the most effective way. It might be that the clients you are choosing to serve are not an ideal fit for your firm; perhaps you could make a greater impact with a different demographic. Or, it may be that your team is falling short of providing an excellent customer experience. If your clients don’t feel taken care of, or if a particular team member is not upholding your standards, this is something you need to know.
Making incremental improvements to your business based on client feedback can save you a lot of frustration and increase your firm’s success over time.
Fine-tune your marketing
Marketing includes any activity or communications you have with clients or potential clients that involves creating value and delivering offerings in exchange for value. So every time you engage with a client, you’re marketing your business.
Effective marketing speaks to exactly what your clients need, want, and expect from you. And the best way to find this information out is through client feedback. Why guess or wonder when you can just ask and get the facts?
Client feedback can help you understand how your clients want to be reached. Are they finding value in your blog articles, social media posts, newsletters, podcasts, or videos? If so, how can you use this information to enhance what you are already doing? If not, how can you make improvements to reach them better?
Are your clients resonating with your brand personality, such as the tone and voice of the content you’re sharing? If you get positive feedback, lean into your brand and leverage it more strategically. If something about your voice or tone seems disconnected or “off,” client feedback can point you in the right direction.
For example, if you have a fun, laid-back style in one-on-one conversations, but your marketing style is highly polished and formal, it’s likely to fall flat. On the other hand, if you are naturally more buttoned-up, but you’re trying to be fun and edgy in your marketing, it may not ring true. It’s best to be authentic while also keeping your communications professional, so be sure to get a gauge on how your messaging is being received.
I often work with clients who tell me they don’t know what to blog about or share in their marketing content. Of course there are standard topics I recommend, but your clients are a goldmine of information. When it comes to producing relevant content, answering their actual questions and concerns is key to providing value to existing clients and attracting more clients like them.
Asking for feedback generates goodwill with your clients. While goodwill is intangible and difficult to measure, it is a powerful asset for your firm, often playing a major role in client retention and client referrals.
Everyone wants to be seen, heard, and respected, and this includes your clients. By showing clients you value their opinion and input, it gives them a sense of involvement in your business.
Asking and thanking them for feedback shows that you are sincere, have their best interests at heart, and demonstrates that you are continuously evolving and open to growth.
Getting client feedback deepens and strengthens relationships, nurturing greater loyalty and client satisfaction, potentially developing brand ambassadors that are eager to spread the word about you.
How to collect client feedback
Collecting client feedback doesn’t have to be a complex process. Oftentimes when business owners decide it’s important to collect client feedback, they tend to overcomplicate it, mistakenly believing they need to conduct an intricate market research study.
In fact, it’s better to keep it simple because consistency is key.
This is often the simplest but one of the most effective ways to gather client feedback, especially if it’s regarding something in particular.
Are you thinking about adding a service but you’re not sure if it would be a good fit? Shoot an email out to your list asking for their input. Are you stumped about what content to cover in an upcoming round of blog posts, videos, or podcasts? Ask your list. Are you wondering which workshop topic will be the biggest hit? Ask.
Send an email and prompt them to answer you.
To gather more detailed, specific, or nuanced client feedback, conduct a survey by sending out a questionnaire.
Surveys are a good way to gather qualitative and emotional feedback. By making surveys anonymous, it offers an opportunity for clients to tell you how they really feel, allowing you to gather the most candid, honest, and accurate information possible.
While sending out surveys can become an annoyance for clients, you should still build this data collection into your client services model. For example, you may find it helpful to send out a survey immediately following your onboarding process or after a major milestone has been reached. You may also consider conducting an annual client survey.
The most effective way to gather client feedback is by picking up the phone and having a conversation. While your regular client calls should focus on helping them reach their goals, you can always use some time during the call to briefly get a sense of their level of satisfaction. Outside of your regular client calls, checking in with clients offers an opportunity for them to let you know how they’re feeling or what they need from you.
Some clients may feel uncomfortable sharing customer service gripes or dissatisfaction with you directly but asking direct questions and expressing your sincere concern for learning what they need and how they feel will go a long way towards getting them to open up.
Client feedback allows you to feel the pulse of your business, deliver what your clients desire, and stay one step ahead of the market, avoiding potential problems you might not have otherwise seen coming.
With client feedback, you can measure client satisfaction, improve your services, make necessary changes, enhance your marketing efforts, and strengthen your client relationships. The biggest advantage is that it helps you make better business decisions across the board and grow your business with confidence.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin to get useful client feedback. Crystal Marketing Solutions can help you set up a process to make sure that you know exactly what your clients need, want, and expect from you. Reach out to us to see how we can help!
Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisers. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, LLC she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.
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