Three Reasons Why You Should Run a Client Survey Now

Guest post by Heather Kernahan of Eastwick Communications.

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This is a guest post by Heather Kernahan, General Manager and EVP at Eastwick Communications.

Our agency has been running an annual client survey for more than 10 years, and I love that we ask our clients – current and past – about their experience with us and how we can improve.

Reading all the results is not for the faint of heart, though. I read every single word of feedback and take it all personally; our people are our brand and I’m crazy proud of them. When I read glowing remarks, I’m thrilled…and when there is negative feedback I want to rush to fix it.

We run our survey via an outside consultant who conducts 30 minute one on one interviews with current and past clients. We use this consultant so that clients feel free to share everything they want and not worry about the impact their answers could have on day-today relationships.

After having just wrapped up our 2014 survey and sharing the results with our entire agency, I feel stronger than ever that everyone should be asking clients for feedback. Here are three reasons to get your annual client survey in action now:

1. They are frustrated, and they’re thinking of leaving

Sometimes it’s hard to give direct feedback to the agency team, but in the safe zone of an annual survey with someone other than the regular contact, clients open up about their greatest frustrations. Over the years, we’ve had some clients say that if things don’t change they would consider looking for another partner. This is hard to hear but it allows us to know exactly the situation and work to resolve it when otherwise we might not have known.

2. They want you to win

Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it primarily reads as clients who want us to do better because they like working with us. Great clients see us as extensions of their teams and, just as they coach their own staff, so they coach us on how to be better partners.

For certain clients, this means that they want us to bring more big creative ideas to the table. Others ask us to challenge them more – but in all cases we are grateful for the opportunity to be better partners.

3. Feedback helps your entire team learn what’s most important

We hold regular professional development/training sessions on the topics that we know matter to our clients: creating great strategies, maintaining quality in all communications, having a strong, informed point of view, and learning to push back.

Our team learns a lot from these sessions, but nothing we do has as much impact as when it comes from direct quotes of our clients. In our survey results, we share with our team the skills and competencies our clients value most and the areas in which we’re meeting (and missing) their expectations.

This data often sparks a whole new level of conversation and idea generation about improving performance, and the entire staff can participate. The information empowers our team and helps individuals feel accountable for every client relationship.

If these three reasons are compelling enough, then block out an hour this week to map out when you’ll get your client survey ready to go.