Hey there, I’m Kristen, one of the members of the VetSuccess Product team. Ask anyone around here and they’ll tell you, I’m pretty into UX (User Experience) and documentation. I’m curious about what the experience is like for our clients as they interact with our reports and products. And of course, I’m interested in finding ways to make our products better too.
This past quarter, one of the product team’s initiatives was to develop strategies for gathering more user intelligence. Sure, we know that access to key metrics is crucial, but the more we know about what KPIs would be game-changers, the better products we can deliver. Seems simple right?
Well, soon into our research we realized that we weren’t doing a great job at tracking the most valuable source of user intelligence we have: all the feedback our client support team hears. I’m talking about what I call organic feedback: insights that come up during everyday client interactions via phone calls, emails, report reviews, etc.
Sure, we have notes on accounts, messages shared, emails sent, anecdotes told in meetings, and endless spreadsheets, but we discovered we didn’t have a central place to capture this data and make it easier to action.
Is this starting to sound familiar? On any given day, you likely have organic feedback coming in through many different places – in person, phone, email, etc. Now think about what your practice is currently doing with it.
What, if any, client feedback do you collect and how?
Perhaps you’re asking why it’s worth the extra effort to track this information at all.
When it comes down to it, user experience research is about finding the experience gap for your clients. What are their expectations of the clinic experience versus their reality?
Of course we know that most comments tend to come from the people who are at the ends of the scale – people who either love or hate their experience. But what about all those comments we hear in passing? These could be a valuable source of client insight that is simply being overlooked.
Maybe it’s always your receptionist who gets the feedback, considers it anecdotal and rarely shares it with the rest of the team. What if there are comments you only hear during spring wellness or dental month, for example, and they are forgotten when it comes time for quarterly/yearly practice reviews?
Client feedback = hidden gem of insight
Having this qualitative (experience-based) data helps tell the full story behind your numbers, metrics, and KPIs. Client feedback can help you answer some tough questions, such as:
- Why is there a drop in new patients?
- How do our newest clients feel about our practice?
- Have our clients noticed the changes we’ve made? For example, we spruced up our reception space, are clients noticing?
- We’ve changed our hours, what has the response been?
Maybe you’ve already considered collecting client feedback, but the thought of implementing yet another process seems daunting. Or maybe your practice is like us and does track it, but it’s currently in so many different places?
We too are trying to nail down a simple, yet effective process that makes sense for our busy team. Here’s what has worked for us so far.
3 must-haves for tracking organic client feedback
If it’s not easy to access, then team members are unlikely to use it. Consider the tools your practice uses every day to see if you can build a feedback capture process into an existing system.
- A place in your Practice Management Software that everyone can access like a whiteboard/general notes section?
- A Google Doc or Form that is bookmarked on every computer?
- A paper form on the reception desk or tacked to a shared bulletin board?
- A recurring agenda item for team meetings?
It shouldn’t take staff more than a few minutes to make some quick notes around the feedback they’ve received. Don’t over-complicate the form. Stick to the heart of the matter and ask essential questions only.
You can customize it to collect the info that is most valuable to you. Consider including fields such as date, name of client, summary of feedback, name of the person recording the feedback, and the staff involved.
Be sure to indicate which fields are required and which are optional. You could even consider doing a simple tally or checkbox system if you want to keep track of how many clients are contacting you about a specific issue.
However you choose to record this data, it should be easy to pull it all together later on when you want to find the most frequent feedback topics.
By grouping the feedback into different areas and categorizing them upfront, scheduling, communication, pricing, etc., it will be easier to summarize the extent of your client’s feedback later on.
[bctt tweet=”One complaint from one owner is something to keep in mind; the same complaint from several owners is something to address ASAP before it becomes part of your practice’s reputation.”]
Find a client feedback system that works for your practice
Tracking client feedback can be done in many ways. The key is to choose a method that works for your busy team. Give it a test run and see how it feels.
- Is it too time-consuming?
- Is it difficult to find?
Keep at it and find a solution that works for your practice. By putting in a bit of effort upfront, you may find that what you thought were one-off, anecdotal comments are actually a common pain point for your clients.
When it comes down to it, we all want to know what our clients love and what they don’t. Effectively collecting organic client feedback is a great way to prioritize what small improvements we can make now that can have a real impact on our clients down the road. Plus, it’s a great way to discover and highlight what your clients can’t live without.
Have some examples of how you’ve collected feedback from your clients? Or maybe you have some feedback for us at VetSuccess? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
VetSuccess Product Manager and self-professed data and UX nerd, Kristen uses her love of storytelling and her inquisitive nature to go beyond the numbers and show the full picture behind the data. She’s been known to nerd out over things like color-coded spreadsheets, trend lines, and solving data conundrums. Outside of work, Kristen can be found at one of the many film festivals or independent cinemas in Toronto.