As any small business owner knows, retaining your clients and making them come back to you, again and again, is essential to the success of your small service business. Luckily, most clients are willing to give feedback on their experiences with your services, which can help you uncover ways to improve and avoid mistakes in the future. While this may seem intimidating at first, it’s much better than losing those valuable clients! In this blog post, I’ll go over some of the easiest ways to get more client feedback, along with ways you can use that feedback to improve your small service business.
Why Customer Reviews Are Important
Each client has an experience with your services, whether it be positive or negative. This experience is worth so much more than a payment you receive from a client because it provides valuable insight into how you can better serve your future clients. Uncovering what your clients think about your services will help ensure you retain them in the long run. Because at that point, word-of-mouth from a happy customer is all you’ll need.
What Can Be Learned From Reviews
When it comes to service-based companies, there’s no better way for a company to uncover what their clients think about their services than client reviews. Positive reviews are fantastic (and well worth sharing), but negative ones can provide valuable feedback on how you can improve. There might be major concerns that are preventing clients from coming back; if so, these reviews will help identify them and make it easier to rectify them.
Client feedback is one of your most important resources when trying to learn more about your clients’ needs; now is as good a time as any to implement some review-collection methods in your business.
What Should I Do With Negative Reviews?
It’s inevitable: negative reviews will come in. Don’t panic when they do, and don’t freak out if your first few are less than stellar. Negative reviews can be a blessing in disguise as long as you handle them gracefully. These negative reviews also give you an opportunity to improve your services, which will make more positive reviews (and therefore more revenue) over time. If you want to retain clients (which is so important), it is absolutely essential that you listen to what they have to say. How else will you know where improvements need to be made? You may even consider turning some into opportunities for self-improvement!
Before looking at improving yourself professionally though, take time to thank clients for their feedback—whether positive or negative. Then send them appropriate responses depending on whether they were positive or negative and always follow up with personal acknowledgments whenever possible.
Providing Value Goes a Long Way
As a small service business, listening to what your clients think about your services is crucial. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how efficient your processes are—if your clients don’t want to keep working with you, there isn’t much else you can do. That said, listening isn’t enough; if you really want to retain clientele in a small service business environment (particularly when every single customer matters), it pays off to act on feedback from your customers.
At its core, feedback covers three basic areas:
- What’s not working for them?
- What would they change?
- How could their experience be improved?
The best course of action to take once you receive these requests depends entirely on your niche. For example, one client might request additional communication during certain stages of their project—the best course of action here would be to schedule more frequent meetings. If a client makes general comments such as this process wasn’t very clear or I was confused by ‘xyz’, then an explanation of your workflow and/or better instructions might be appropriate. In all cases, just make sure that you listen closely before considering any changes that will affect time/cost.
But remember: although providing value is incredibly important when attracting new clients, responding to client feedback will go even further toward establishing long-term relationships that lead to repeat business.
Qualify All Requests For Reviews
Anytime you provide a service for a new client, ask them if they’d be willing to fill out an online review for your business. Once you get enough reviews, you can publish them on Yelp or Google, which will result in even more exposure and clients. While getting clients to leave reviews might seem sleazy, remember that it’s up to you whether or not you actually follow through—and if you deliver quality work consistently, clients should have no problem singing your praises.
You should absolutely follow up with clients before asking for feedback or reviews; make sure they know exactly what they’re getting into. This small courtesy can also help when things don’t go according to plan—just make sure any dissatisfaction is handled professionally so as not to alienate potential future clients.
Here is a simple way to request reviews from clients while staying true to professionalism:
“Are you happy with how things went? It would mean a lot to me if you could take 30 seconds to write about your experience at [company name]. I appreciate all feedback! If there was something less than perfect about our meeting today, please let me know right away so we can do everything we can to fix it. Again, thank you!”
Listening To Your Clients
An oft-forgotten part of any service business is listening to your clients. Once you’ve established a relationship with them, it’s important that you don’t take their loyalty for granted—listen to what they want and need, be open about accepting feedback (and use it!), ask for referrals, and more. These steps will go a long way toward retaining your existing clients!
The importance of client feedback in your small service business is often understated. When you take a step back, though, it makes sense: A customer who feels heard will probably be a customer for life. In fact, client feedback can help you retain clients and make sure you’re providing them with quality services. So if you want your small service business to thrive, listen carefully. After all, your clients are what make your business run—don’t neglect them!
Utilize Quality Driven Software to hear important feedback from your clients and grow your business. Visit qualitydrivensoftware.com to learn more about all of the features QDS can offer to grow your small business.