Getting Better Feedback

Getting feedback from your customers is the single best way to identify ways in which your business can improve. Looking at it from the inside is all well and good, but you’re too close to it, making it hard to identify the real issues that need fixing, or could be improved. This is why getting feedback from your clients is so incredibly important. They aren’t directly tied to the business, they didn’t build it, and they don’t work for you. That gives them an entirely different, fresh perspective. One that you should be making use of at every available opportunity. I’ve talked before back in April about how to manage incoming feedback and accept it in a professional manner. This holds true, and is very important. But what if the feedback you’re getting from your clients isn’t what you need? Well, there are ways of fixing that. Actually, there’s one way, and it’s incredibly simple. I’m pretty big on keeping things simple, so why needlessly complicate things?

The secret to getting better feedback from your clients? It involves a little effective communication on your part. Think you can handle it? Are you ready? I’m about to blow your minds.

Ask questions. See? I told you it was simple. At the core of getting the feedback you need from your clients is the simplest of concepts. Ask them what they think. How they feel. How they think you can do to improve their experience as one of your clients.

Of course, while the core concept to improving the quality of feedback you get from your clients is simple, it does involve a bit of finesse on your part. Just asking them a random jumble of questions isn’t going to cut it. You need to be asking the right kind of questions, that allow you to learn the maximum possible from your clients. You want to avoid questions with closed answers. Yes and no questions, 9 times out of  10, are not going to get you what you need. They can also end up for a fairly awkward conversation, since a definitive “yes” or “no” doesn’t leave you any room to move the conversation in a different direction. No good. That’s not to say a question with a simple yes/no answer doesn’t have its place, but you need to learn when that place is.

For the most part, you want to ask questions of a more open nature, that essentially invite your client to expand on their ideas and feelings all on their own, without any real additional prodding on your part. Begin your questions with words like “tell”, “share”, “describe”, “explain”, and so on (I’m personally fond of describe and explain). Questions worded in this fashion inspire the recipient to expand on ideas even further, giving you more information that could potentially be useful. And please try to remember, you’re having a conversation with your client, not grilling them for info. Keep it casual. Respond with your own observations. Put forth your own ideas for how to improve upon your client’s concerns, and see what they say. Back and forth, give and take, until you’ve feel you’ve got the most complete picture possible of your client’s opinion, and maybe even some ways to do something about it.

Your client base is essentially a ready built focus group and beta test team all rolled into one. Make use of that. Communicate with them often on what they like, what they don’t, what they like to see, and if their ideas are agreeable to you, act upon them. Improving your business will only help you in the long run, putting you one step closer to your final goal, maximum Personal Independent Earnings.

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