“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
~ Bill Gates
I want to talk to you about something that many business owners overlook in their business and what you might be missing out on as a result.
In order to maximise your chances of having people buy from you again and again, as well as tell others about you, you’ll need to be creating regular opportunities for your clients and customers to give you feedback so that you can make improvements to your products and services.
Take a moment now to consider when you last asked your customers or clients for feedback. If you can’t remember or if you never have, then read on, this is for you.
If you are a business owner, then it follows that you have products and/or services. Not asking for regular feedback as to how those products and services are landing for your customers and clients means you have no idea whether or not they are fit for purpose. Whether or not they are serving your client's needs.
Creating a positive customer/client experience is crucial if you want repeat business and word of mouth referrals. When people buy something from you and it has a positive impact on their life, it follows that they will tell other people about you and/or will be back to buy more from you in the future. If the experience was less than satisfactory, at best they’ll never buy from you again and at worst they’ll share with others their negative experience.
Now I get it, even though asking for feedback seems straightforward enough — I mean how hard can it be to send out some feedback forms — it’s actually something that a lot of business owners put off. Why? Well my best guess, based on my own experience, is that it feels vulnerable to ask people what they think about what we created for them.
It’s significantly easier to bury our heads and avoid the possibility of hearing from someone that we could do better. Believe me, I know from personal experience just how much it can sting to hear from others that we fell short of their expectations. And….
It’s absolutely crucial to ask for feedback if we are to have any hope of offering the best product or service possible.
Now that I’ve made the case for feedback, allow me to share with you just some of the ways I have created opportunities for feedback in my own business.
With my 1:1 coaching, to overcome the natural resistance to asking for feedback, I’ve created an automated off-boarding system that kicks in when clients finish up with me. What this essentially means is that when someone’s subscription comes to an end, I have a templated email ready to go that shares a few things. A gift coaching session for them to use whenever they feel the need over the next 12 months, a link to a feedback form and an invitation to share a testimonial with me.
In my post-coaching feedback form I ask 9 questions including the following:
What situation were you in before working with me? What were you struggling with?
What results have you achieved since we started working together? What is different for you now, how would you describe the change that happened?
Is there anything you would have liked to see done differently or any improvements I could make to my coaching service? If so, what?
As you can see, I’m trying to get a solid picture of the impact our coaching together has had, as well as, of course, insight into any improvements I could make to my offering.
When I used to offer a 3-month coaching package, I also sent clients a mid-program review, which contained questions designed to understand if the program was working as the client hoped it would and to offer an opportunity to course correct if it wasn’t.
Since moving to the subscription model, I don’t do this, as I never know how long a client will stay with me. Based on my experience with subscriptions, it could be anything from 3 months to 2 years plus but as I write this, I’m contemplating ways to incorporate opportunities for feedback within the subscription itself, rather than just waiting until the end to hear how it went, which is too late to course correct if needed.
In my yearlong Mastermind offering, I also have an end of year feedback form and an automated mid-year form that gets emailed in June. In terms of how I automate this, I use Dubsado (this is an affiliate link which means you’ll get a discount and I’ll get a credit if you use it), using Dubsado allows me to set up users when they become clients or Mastermind participants and then set up automations as needed.
For the Mastermind, this means that an email with the mid-year feedback form will automatically get sent out in June without me having to remember to do it. A cheaper approach than using a software tool is just to create a reminder in your calendar and use Gmail templates for the email.
I should probably mention at this point that I use Google Forms for all of my feedback (and application) form needs.
Now even though I have my end of year feedback form and my mid-year feedback form, a year is a long time to go with only one check-in. So to deal with this, I’ve also created a Suggestions spreadsheet in our shared google folder and regularly remind the women to add to it if they have any suggestions for improvement. I’ll also check in on a fairly regular basis inside our private Facebook Group, to see what people are wanting and needing support with, which informs which content I create and teach.
I’ll also hop on calls with any of my existing or former clients and mastermind participants to dive deeper into what they think about how I can improve my offerings. Sometimes a form just doesn’t go deep enough, so when I see something worth digging into deeper, I won’t hesitate to set up a time to talk.
Another area of my business where I feel feedback is a must is when I’m contemplating creating something new, like a workshop for example. If I don’t know what to create then I’ll conduct audience research (different from feedback) but if I already have a good sense of what my audience needs from me, then I’ll present possible options to my people (on social and in my newsletter) and ask for feedback on those options and or names. In terms of live workshops, I will of course ask for feedback after the event to see how it landed and to identify ways to improve.
Even though I have all of these things in place, I definitely think I could do more when it comes to creating opportunities for feedback. I genuinely don’t think you can ask for feedback enough.
Now having made the case for asking for feedback, it does come with a warning. It’s important to remember that you can’t please everybody. What one person might love and value highly, another might be completely disappointed by. Your job in analysing feedback then becomes to work out who your ideal clients are and what they are saying about your work.
If someone buys something from you but you don’t feel they are a fit for what you do, then you can to some extent disregard their feedback, but there is still gold to be mined here. Why did a less than ideal client or customer buy from you? Are you failing to hit the mark in your marketing or sales copy? Could you make improvements that will help to prevent wrong-fit people from coming your way? There’s so much to learn here.
So there you have it, why I think asking for feedback is so important and some tangible examples of how I do it in my business. If this is an area you know you need to improve on and would love some guidance on how to implement it, feel free to comment below and we can explore how I might support you with that.
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