While working on a campaign for a client you should always have one goal in mind, exceed their expectations. On the other hand, that customer also has one goal in mind, collect a quality product and reach their marketing objectives. This may sound like a simple exchange, but what is often misunderstood and undervalued is that high quality customer feedback aides to the success of every campaign.
In this post I would like to dive into a list of reasons why giving quality client feedback is important, and also a few helpful tips on how feedback could be improved from the marketer’s perspective. My goal after this article is that both parties, client and marketer, have a better understanding on how to improve and successfully utilize client feedback. This understanding and effective communication will help us continue to deliver quality content in order to exceed your marketing needs!
Image via Pixabay by vascorossy
Topic Approvals are Significant
While we all agree that the overall importance of a campaign is the execution. It is also important to understand the most significant step that comes before any stages of production, ideation. In order for writers and creatives to produce quality content that will stand up to expectations, the starting point is a quality topic that will spark interest among audiences and provide the potential to become highly shareable content. This tip has two sides of the fence. First, if the marketer is coming up with the topic(s) for the client, then it is important to be as thorough as possible and provide plenty of resources that help explain the direction fully. That way the client has plenty of information to go off of and can provide feedback after understanding the plan and vision. Secondly, if the client has come up with the topic(s) it is also important that they provide a handful of resources and examples to help show their vision of the idea fully so the creative understands.
Takeaway: Regardless of which side comes up with the topic, a detailed list of resources, examples, and feedback are always encouraged to provide the creatives with enough information to execute to the best of their ability.
Subjective Versus Objective (Actionable) Feedback
One of the main problems with client feedback that you will run into often is the simple definition of objective versus subjective. According to the Business Dictionary, the two may sound similar but are actually very different.
Subjective refers to personal perspectives, feelings, or opinions entering the decision making process.
Objective refers to the elimination of subjective perspectives and a process that is purely based on hard facts.
If the feedback you have gathered is leaning towards the subjective side, you will know that you are not collecting quality feedback that will help improve the overall campaign. I always try to ask myself a simple question when reviewing feedback, “Can this be added to the style guide?”
If the answer to that question is no, then you are most likely reading subjective feedback. Of course, we will correct the items that the client is asking to be changed, but you need to explain that the feedback should be general in terms of style changes, terminology preferences, and grammar edits. All other feedback should be factual based, actionable, and objective. It may take a few swings for a client to get the hang of the difference, but it will help the production team in order to apply those preferences to a style guide for future reference.
Takeaway: Re-read through your feedback before sending it to your marketers or vendors. Is the feedback you are providing detailed, informative, and objective? Can it be added to the style guide for future reference? If so, that is quality feedback.
Timing is Key
Image via Pixabay by geralt
The next tip on client feedback I would like to point out is efficient timing. Just as an example I will run through how our process runs internally with our freelance writers at CopyPress.
- Style guide is created and client approved
- Topics are created, delivered to the client, and approved
- Content is written based on the style guide, assignment directions, and client approved topics
- Content is delivered to the client within 7-10 days
- Client feedback is requested back within 2-3 days
- Writer completes revisions based on client feedback within 2-3 days
- Content is client approved and writer is compensated
Can anyone guess why a hold up in client feedback would be undesired? If your first thought was regarding the writer’s needs, you are correct. As you should understand, a writer is most involved and attentive to content they have completed recently or that they are currently working on. If there is a drawn out timeline while waiting for the client to review and provide feedback, the writer will A) lose interest in the project, and B) become frustrated with the client because it is holding up their timeline to be compensated.
Keeping the writers happy is essential so they will continue to accept the client’s recurring assignments. If the writers begin to see a trend in delayed feedback they will automatically deny the assignment and that client is at risk of losing a great writer ongoing. This also applies for digital media creatives who are able to choose not to accept work from a certain client if they know of the untimely habits.
Takeaway: Provide client feedback in a timely manner in order for the project to continue at pace and also to keep the writers interested, which in turn encourages them to produce better quality content for your needs.
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Track Changes are Your Friend
CopyPress offers many different types of delivery methods based on the client’s needs. Even with API integrations, CMS configurations and other delivery options, delivery through Word document is still our most popular choice. The most efficient way for a client to provide feedback is through track changes within the Word document. This is helpful for a few reasons:
- The editorial team can quickly jump to sections needing revisions, and can take notes to add to the style guide.
- It holds the client accountable to be specific and leave notes on exact sentences or sections they find errors in.
- The ability to revise within the same document, so the changes are easy to pick out when the client is reviewing.
Takeaway: The proven method of client feedback that works most efficiently is through the utilization of track changes versus lengthy emails. It is straight to the point, objective, and will yield a quick return from the writer.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Phone
Image via Flickr by Justin Brockle
The last tip I have on this topic may sound obvious but in today’s world, you would be surprised. It may be hard to believe, but the best form of communication is still through audible conversation. Although email is efficient and preferred at times, phone calls should not be avoided altogether.
When starting a new project it is VERY important to have a kickoff call, yes a telephone call. On this kickoff call you will be able to layout a timeline, discuss the overall campaign and KPI’s, and also discuss or brainstorm details of the topic(s) together. This way both parties fully understand the direction that the creatives will be taking the content and know exactly what to expect. This gives an opportunity to answer any questions and make sure everyone fully grasps each aspect of the campaign.
Takeaway: The phone is your friend, utilize it as much as possible. You would be surprised how many times you can go back and forth via email over a subject that could have been resolved in a five minute phone chat. There are so many reasons why speaking with someone on the phone is easier to convey emotions and explanations. Try it out and see!
Client feedback is a substantial key in a successful campaign, but the way it is given is even more important. What are some examples of good and bad client feedback you have received, and how have you helped educate your clients on the importance of it?