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Client feedback is evolving to an 'always-on' model, to facilitate faster, more informed decisions

Will more feedback help us make better decisions? 

How much feedback do we need before it makes sense to automate our feedback process?

I get asked variations of these two questions a lot at the moment. That's because professional services firms are at a fork in the road.

Traditional feedback

Traditionally firms have operated an "I know my clients" model. Feedback was shared between individuals, often verbally. Retrospective surveys were used to track key metrics. This was enough feedback because "if the client had a problem they would tell me".

Feedback reimagined

Then the pandemic struck. Client needs and expectations started changing, as did service delivery. Firms needed a collective and current view of what clients were thinking and feeling.

Individuals knowing individual clients was no longer enough. Annual surveys and client interviews were out of date.

So back to the two questions...


Will more feedback help us make better decisions?

Yes and no. Simple actionable insights are not just a product of feedback volume. They also depend on the breadth and recency of feedback.

For example, you may have lots of feedback but only from a few key clients. In this case, the feedback won't reflect the views and experiences of your wider client base.

Or you may have run a firm-wide client listening programme a year or two ago. The surveys got a great response, but the world has moved on since then. The feedback is too dated to still be influencing decisions.

To make fast and informed decisions, you need to be collecting continuous feedback. Encourage feedback across all practice areas and all stages of the client journey.


How much feedback do we need before it makes sense to automate our feedback process?

This depends on how important the voice of the client is to your firm. Client-related feedback is being shared in more places than ever before. But traditional feedback processes aren't set up to take advantage of it.

Does this sound familiar? Selected clients get interviewed; some others get annual surveys. In both cases, the numbers are restricted because the manual reporting takes too long. Meanwhile, the volume of informal feedback shared verbally or through emails and reviews keeps growing.

The volume of feedback is consciously or unconsciously limited to fit the process. The status quo culture is based on getting just enough feedback to get by. It's a bit like an athlete who does just enough training to beat their local competitors.

But what if that athlete wants to compete on a bigger stage? Do they start training for it now, or wait until they get there?

The alternative feedback approach is to create a process now, that can grow with the firm. A process that has the flexibility to deliver value today, and scale for tomorrow.

Put another way - feedback expands to fill the process. If you have an expensive manual process, there's no incentive to collect more feedback. If you're waiting until feedback volumes grow, it will never happen. If nothing changes, nothing changes.


The fork in the road - how much feedback is now enough?

Few people would argue the importance of listening to clients. So most firms see the value of continuous client feedback driving future transformation.

In response I see firms choosing 1 of 2 paths:

1) Improve the process now, so we can start listening to more clients more often.

2) Wait until feedback volumes increase, then improve our process to cope with it.

Which road are you taking?

Want to learn more about how you can instantly connect and summarise all your client-related feedback? Click here to see how MyCustomerLens can help you.

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