The Importance of Feedback
Getting feedback from clients is an easy way to improve the experience you deliver. It’s an easily missed opportunity—after all, we do get feedback from our clients. They sing our praises, and from time to time, they call with problems or to clear up confusion.
Receiving praise and getting feedback are two different things. I’ve learned that unless you ask formally and explicitly, your clients may not tell you what they were unhappy about—especially if they were happy with you overall. Unfortunately, people aren’t so shy about telling the internet, and that’s NOT how you want to learn about service defects.
Why do you want feedback? Most of the time, it feels really good. It gives people the opportunity to tell you specifically what they loved about working with you, and gives you insight into the parts of your process that are particularly effective. As you learn what hits home, you’ll get a better idea of what makes you distinctive, and even what your own selling points are. Feedback uncovers critical information about your impact, and allows you to make your strengths even stronger.
Why do you NEED feedback? For the other stuff. It doesn’t feel as good as hearing that you’re awesome, but feedback is at its most helpful when it makes you aware of service defects. You can learn and improve from praise, but the changes you make after uncovering problems in your process can help you leap forward.
Feedback is the Mother of Agile. It was out of feedback that The Agile Process was born. I was getting rave reviews from my clients, and my business was steadily growing through referrals when I decided to add a formal feedback component to my process. People were thrilled with my work overall, and they were excited to recommend me to friends, but there was one recurring service defect.
At the time, I provided people with the DVD of their images 1 year after their wedding. It was my way of ensuring that they bought prints. Really, it was a temper tantrum on my part—I hated that I had to give away the DVD, and I feared that it would kill print sales. So I made them wait.
One problem: that REALLY bothered my clients. It was stupid of me to make them wait, and I knew it. Their feedback made it clear to me that I needed to get over myself, and I began to deliver DVDs 30 days after their wedding. How did this change affect print sales? Not one bit. They’re the same!
I learned an important lesson: LISTEN to your customers. If you can make them happy, do it. Sometimes that will mean getting over yourself—do it anyway.
This experience also got me thinking about the bigger picture. I assumed that I knew what they would do with the DVD, but I was wrong—they still bought prints from me. So I asked: WHY did they want the DVD so quickly? Because they wanted to share the images with their friends. Man, did I get this one wrong or what?
My clients told me what they wanted, and I responded with passion. I decided to find a way to get them their photos in the fastest, most highly shareable form possible. With that, the Agile Process began, and my turnaround time is now under 7 days.
Asking one question—“Is there anything you didn’t like about your experience with Allori Photography?”—set me on the path to wowing my clients every time. Listening to their needs gave me the chance to change my process for the better, and it’s helped me as much as it pleases them.
Your turn! Go to ShootQ, (or use a google form) and create a questionnaire to send to your clients (I recommend including my magic question—it’s done wonders for me). Share it with me, or let me know if I can help you with questions to include! See more detailed info on my ShootQ post at The PhotoLife.
ps….Not a ShootQ user? If you want to try it use this link and code for a 4 month free trial.