How to Ask for Honest Feedback from Clients

What Are Your Customers SayingCompanies across the world rely on input obtained from customers to improve their products and services, and as a real estate professional, you should do the same! Every successful business must determine what areas of operation are successful and what areas could use some improvement. And one of the most effective ways to do that is soliciting honest feedback from your clients.

The best way to receive honest feedback is in the form of a survey, and with today’s technology, that’s easier than ever. Here’s how it’s done:

Make a point to solicit feedback shortly after closing because the transaction is still fresh in your clients’ minds and you’re more likely to receive a response. The best surveys are short and to the point (10 questions max), and you can use web-based services like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to gather the information. If your survey is too long, people are less likely to finish it, so choose your questions carefully. Ask clients to evaluate your professionalism, industry knowledge, communication, follow-up, negotiating ability, attentiveness, punctuality, listening skills, etc. If you have specific areas that you suspect you could improve on, add those items to the list. You won’t generate valuable insights if your clients only evaluate you on the areas where you shine.

Many survey templates ask clients how they learned about the company’s services because they want to evaluate their advertising strategy, but this is not an effective survey question. This is a question to ask the very first time you meet with a new prospect. It’s a great icebreaker, especially if they came from a referral, because you can talk about your mutual acquaintance and get to know the prospect better. Don’t ask any questions on the survey that you should have already asked in the earlier stages of the sales cycle.

Your survey should focus on gathering qualitative data versus quantitative data, particularly if your sample size is relatively small. Qualitative data comes from open-ended questions, such as “What did you like best about your experience?” Quantitative questions, on the other hand, ask for a numeric value, such as “Rate my professionalism on a scale of 1 to 5.” With a small sample size, your main focus should be on collecting qualitative data. Why? Quantitative data is more valuable to larger organizations that handle hundreds or thousands of transactions each month. They average scores together to get a sense of how different demographics feel about their products or services. With thousands of data points, a few outliers won’t skew the average. By contrast, if you have a phenomenal month but closed just five massive deals, a single grumpy client out of five could drag down your score because your sample size is so small. Instead of asking for a rating, ask all five clients to describe how you could have performed better. Each response will provide insight along with a potentially actionable plan for self-improvement.

Many companies stress the anonymity of online surveys to elicit honesty, but since you’re likely asking open-ended questions to only a handful of people, nobody is under the illusion that their replies are truly anonymous. Instead, explain to them that you genuinely want an honest answer to every question and that your success depends on it. Also let them know that you are the only person who will see this data—it won’t be published anywhere, your broker won’t be upset if your clients complain, and the sole purpose of the survey is to help you better serve your community.

The world is full of people pleasers, and some of your favorite clients may have issues with you that they’d rather not address. If their experience with you was “mostly fine,” chances are they’d rather not rock the boat. But you don’t want to be a “mostly fine” real estate professional, do you? You want to be the best, and you can get there with honest feedback.