At the core of any successful marketing mindset is the inherent understanding that it really does need to be ‘all about the customer’ and that products and services will need to change over time – to better meet customer needs. Although this sounds inherently obvious – genuine ‘customer-centricity’ in this regard is harder in practice than in theory.
In B2B organisations and especially in professional services – client feedback processes require access to clients, post-mandate. As many clients are regular and retained, there is often an implicit assumption that they are indeed happy with the service provided and thus don’t need to be bothered by a marketing or research professional who is looking to download from them their experience of being a client – what worked, what didn’t, what they might like done differently next time.
But this is a lost opportunity. Significant value is derived from post project feedback and evaluation meetings with clients, doubly so when these are conducted with objectivity by an experienced professional that was not a part of the delivery team.
As is often the case when considering the difference between ‘high quality’ and ‘good enough’ – it is the small things that make the difference. The ‘small things’ more easily come to life in a structured client feedback exercise. The quality of the comms (frequency, reporting, online vs offline, number of meetings, etc), how the work was billed (including expenses, extras, unbilled items, etc), the value add (what more would the client have liked). Frustrations? Missed opportunities?
The post-project client feedback process is an exceptionally good opportunity to get to the root of what the client really values and is looking for. Added to this is the ability to discuss what might have been done differently and, importantly, what other services might be of value to the client, based on other issues they are wrestling with.
Regular, independent and systematic client feedback interventions enable trends to be uncovered which help inform future strategy and resource planning. These feedback sessions can be done by those delivering the work, but the greater value in the form of genuine client candour and more appropriate questioning comes with the rigour of using an objective resource to manage and deliver this exercise.
My track record:
- Overseeing the client feedback process at a global search firm including analysing data and feeding this back to the leadership team.
- Conducting market research with 20 key clients ahead of a new global website project to ensure the final output was aligned to client needs and externally focused.