Let me know if this sounds familiar:
“It doesn’t feel very professional.”
“I was hoping it’d be less frou frou.”
“I think there is something wrong with the text. It’s in Spanish or Italian or something.”
Or my personal favorite, “I think it needs more punch or zing. You know what I mean, right?”
Client feedback. Sometimes getting to the heart of it can feel like you’re losing your mind. It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little bit of reflection on your part and preparation with your client, you CAN get effective feedback that will move your project forward.
Two of the things Katy and I try to model all the time in the Web Designer Support School are developing your processes and then automating them when possible.
Getting feedback from your clients is one such example. It’s also one that will require you to develop the process on your own, based on your own preferences.
Today, I’m sharing my own personal process on how I teach my clients to give me effective feedback that keeps their project moving forward.
The first part of my process involves recognizing that my client needs to feel safe in order to give me what I need to proceed. I’m clear and upfront about confidentiality the first time we meet. I name confidentiality and explain that everything that is said in our sessions remains between us. Personally, I use Call Recorder for Skype to record my client sessions to ensure neither of us miss anything. I explain to my client what I do with those recordings and where they’re stored/when they get deleted. I share examples of the things I will honour with our confidentiality agreement. I also address when I may need to break confidentiality (namely anytime when I’m required by law to do so).
Reflection for you:
- How will you respect the confidentiality of your clients?
- What kinds of things are included in your confidentiality agreement?
- How will you communicate this confidentiality to your client? (Written? verbal over Skype? Form the sign your website? etc.)
The second part of my process involves deciding how I want to receive feedback and then communicating that to my client. To begin, I consider what good and bad feedback looks like for me. I share specific examples of good feedback I’ve had from clients in the past. I also give bad examples along with the reasons why they did not help. I proceed to talk about the best way for my client to address a concern with me. I follow this by discussing my preferred modality for receiving their feedback as well as talking about how we will develop a timeline that works for us both. I finish up by talking about when they can expect to hear back from me after they’ve delivered the feedback.
The key is in deciding what specific kind of feedback are you looking for.
It’s important to prepare your client so that they know the kinds of things you’d like to hear about. Are you looking for overall vibe first impressions or detailed feedback on each page of your design? Your client won’t know what they don’t know yet. By sharing specific examples of good feedback, you’ll help frame their experience to deliver the same to you. My invitation to you is to take time to consider what particular kind of feedback will be helpful for you and then you can help your client make your job SO much easier!
Reflection questions for you:
- How do you (as the web designer) want to receive feedback?
- What are examples of good feedback?
- What kinds of details are important that the client address?
- What are specific examples of feedback that won’t help you?
- What modality works best? Do you want a face to face Skype? Audio message? Video? Email? Tracked conversation through your project management software?
- What kind of timeline needs to be adhered to in order to keep your project on track?
As you hone your own process on preparing your client to give feedback, don’t forget to record it so that it becomes an easily duplicated conversation for your next client!
Alexander Graham Bell once said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Getting effective feedback from your clients requires background work on your part before you even start working together. Trust me when I tell you that when I took the time to articulate this process for my own business, I spent way less time in my inbox and more time doing what I love. You can do it to!