A Powerful Technique to Get Constructive Client Feedback the First Time [with FREE Download]

View Comments by Bianca Board on 6 December 2013

You’d have to agree with me when I say: 

“Getting feedback from a client is often like getting blood from a stone.”

I’m sure we’ve all had clients in the past who have said such pearls of wisdom as:

  • “I don’t know what it is. I just don’t like it.”
  • “Could you do it again, but make it better.”
  • “Great first go. Now make your imagination FLY!”
  • “I just don’t like it.”
  • “I don’t know what I like, but I will know when I see it.”
  • “The colours all wrong. And no... I don’t know what colour I’d like.”
  • “Can you make it pop?”

That last one cracks me up every time, so much so that we actually created a product called ‘Make it Pop’ which is a website makeover package and guess what… it’s one of our best sellers!

Truth be told, it’s not really your client’s fault.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t something they do every day like we do, so you can’t be entirely surprised when a client doesn’t know how to quite shape their opinion in a way that we can understand.

It took me a while to realise that actually, it was up to ME to actual help them help me.

Fact: Getting vague feedback is costing
YOU time and money.

You better believe it. If you’re a spring chicken new to this game, don’t be disillusioned. At first my friend it might seem funny. You might be thinking…

“Ha ha... this client is hilarious. He doesn’t like the web design I gave him, and he has no idea why! Bless him…”

But soon that little bit of vagueness from your client is going to grow into one big fat prickly thorn in your side.

At first you might tell yourself, “Oh, I won’t stress about it, I’ll get it right next time.”  However I guarantee you, you won’t be saying that come the fifteenth round of changes.

And the more changes you do means the longer this project is going to take. Before you know it, you’ll have spent an extra 40 hours on a project that really should have been done and dusted weeks ago.

Or worse, the client will give up in frustration and go elsewhere.

Time is money.

And the longer this lame duck sits on your desk, the more jobs you‘re going to have to pass up until it’s finally done.

I know a lot of design businesses that have shut up shop because of clients like this.

You have to do something about it. Because as you continue to grow as a design business, you will get more and more clients, and the chances of getting those difficult clients will continue to grow along with it. So best you prepare for the storm now.

So what’s the solution?

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Use this simple but powerful technique to get constructive feedback. First time. Every time.

It’s not rocket science, but amazingly there are hundreds of designers out there who don’t do this one simple little trick to ensure that they get more thorough feedback from even the most tight-lipped of clients.

Whenever you send your client a draft of your design work to approve or give feedback on, send them a feedback questionnaire at the same time!

This way you can ensure they answer EXACTLY what they don’t like and why they don’t like it. Plus you’ll have a written history of their feedback, so you have something to refer to (or cover your ass with) if they send you any contradicting feedback afterwards. 

Oh and if they don’t fill it out, make sure you CALL your client and make sure they DO answer it!

Now I bet you’re probably wondering “Great idea, but what questions do I include?”

Well it’s your lucky day. I’m feeling generous today and I’m giving away my ‘Client Feedback Planner’ for you to adapt and use however you’d like in your own business.

I know, I rock. Haha. You can thank me in the comments below or buy me a drink next time you’re up my way (I like Mojitos and champagne but not mixed together).  

It’s a free download with no opt-in required so grab it below and adapt it as you please.

> Download my ‘Client Feedback Planner’ here. 

It may seem pretty basic but it’s meant to be that way. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too much or you won’t get anything and you’ll be back where you started. 

Trust me, it’ll save you a packet on painkillers for all those headaches you’ll otherwise have, not to mention the copious hours back and forth with wishy-washy clients. The chances of you getting more detailed and helpful feedback will be considerably higher!

Since we’ve started sending these off to our clients, it’s allowed our business to flourish, our team are happier and our jobs are moving through more quickly and more effectively... it will help your business to grow tenfold too.

So do you have any funny stories of clients with vague or ridiculous feedback? Share them in the comments below…

(I love to know it’s not just me who has ‘those trying moments’ with clients!)

What do you think? Share your comments below.


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