This is a guest post by Indigo from Indigo Colton
When you’re working with clients, no matter what industry you’re in, you will always be receiving feedback. This could be really great feedback, or really awful feedback. But you’ll see both, and everything in between, at some point during your journey.
Especially when you’re providing a creative service to a client, such as website design, you are likely to get sporadic feedback as your client thinks of things they would like changed or done differently. It can feel like you are constantly being bombarded with ideas and feedback from your client, and like there is no way to streamline that information.
Today, I want to share with you three easy ways you can start streamlining client feedback and start feeling on top of your client workflow again.
Use a Customer Service Platform
If there are multiple developers on your team, or you just don’t want to see client feedback in your main inbox, you can use a customer service platform such as HelpScout to keep all client feedback in one place.
This allows your client to email in their thoughts, as they think of them, but not overflow your inbox. The client doesn’t know that you are using this service, but there is a running log of their requests, you can communicate internally before responding to the client, and you can save common emails that get sent in response to feedback.
While services like HelpScout, Intercom, and ZenDesk were all developed for software companies, you can easily adapt them to your design business. This can be especially helpful if you are always working with new developers – instead of having to remember their email, or get them an email account at your domain, you can simply share the login for HelpScout and everything is already set up.
Only Respond to Client Emails Once a Week
You’re getting two emails a day from your clients with one to two sentences each as they think of new things to change or tweak in your design. You want to make sure that your client feels taken care of, so you want to respond quickly to every single email. Before you know it, you have fifty email chains with separate conversations happening at once.
To avoid this, you can start only responding to client emails (or at least ones with feedback) once a week. This allows you to collect all of the things your client wants done, and then you can send a longer response that goes through each thing. This will simplify the process for you, and for your client. It will help them feel like you are taking care of them and making their life easier, instead of adding to the chaos they most likely feel. Because those fifty email chains overwhelm your clients, too!
If you’re worried that your client will be unhappy about the lack of communication, you can simply let them know that responding to feedback ideas once a week allows you to work through the idea and see if it’s viable or if there is another solution, and it gives them time to decide if those are things they really want done.
You can also set up a canned response to go out to your clients, if you use Gmail, that thanks them for emailing you, and reminds them that you will only respond to feedback on a certain day of the week. This way they are being reminded that you will follow up with them, even if it isn’t the same day, and they won’t panic when you don’t respond right away.
Keep a Running Log of Requests
If you get a lot of client feedback throughout the week, one thing that can help simplify everything is to keep a running log in your project management software of choice. So when those emails come in, you can distill the request to its core and add it to a Trello board or Asana project called “Feedback”.
Once you’ve added their feedback to your project management system, you can archive the email into that client’s folder and keep your inbox clean. This way it’s out of sight, and you already know that you have the feedback where you need it for your design process.
Then, as you go through their revisions you have everything they want done in one place, and you’re not going into your inbox and getting distracted. You can also mark which things have been done, so you’re not re-doing things or missing items because you’re using your inbox as a to-do list.
While there are a multitude of ways that you can streamline your client feedback, these three things will help you feel on top of your client’s requests and stop you from wanting to strangle your client because of their seemingly hundreds of requests. By moving things out of your inbox, keeping firm boundaries, and systematically working through feedback, you’ll be able to better serve your clients and keep everyone’s sanity.
If going through these three actions has inspired you to see where else you might need new systems in your business, I have just the thing for you! Take my free Business Systems Audit Challenge and see where your systems are hurting you and where they’re helping you.
What are you going to do today to streamline your client feedback?