Full Sail Partners Blog

"I just love working with you.." Client Evaluation Fallacies.

Posted by Ryan Suydam on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 @ 10:26 AM

100 percent2Your firm is committed to using client evaluation surveys to ensure project success. So what do you do when your client gives you all high marks and you just know it isn’t true?

Recently one of our clients shared a story with me in which she was faced with this situation. Megan had been working on a project for Dee for several months. During this time there were a lot of times – certainly more than typical – when Dee came back with comments like, ‘well, that is fine but…’ Megan continued to feel that as hard as she tried to meet Dee’s expectations, there was something that was just not adding up.

For a number of years, Megan’s firm had elected to use client evaluation surveys. As a result, and because Megan really wanted to create a successful project for Dee, she decided to send her a survey. The survey asked Dee to consider specific points in the project process. It gave her a chance to share her thoughts on how things were going. The goal of the survey was to hear what Dee felt was important and to allow Megan to uncover what processes Dee felt were working well and which ones might be adjusted to work a little more smoothly.

Much to her surprise, the survey came back with all top scores and the comment, “I just love working with Megan!”  

Since her purpose was not to receive accolades but to serve her client more successfully, Megan gave Dee a call. She told her she really appreciated her taking the time to complete the client evaluation survey but she was a little concerned with the high scores. She told Dee, “I really enjoy working with you as well but I just feel that there is some way in which I could be serving you better.” Dee told her that she gave her the high marks because she knew other people would be looking at the scores. She said she really did like working with Megan and didn’t want her to get into any trouble.

Megan thanked Dee and told her she really appreciated her thinking of her. She was quick to add, however, that she (and her firm) actually appreciate knowing what their clients are thinking even if the survey comes back saying that the client is not completely happy with something. She pointed out that the reason her firm uses client evaluation surveys is because they are committed to providing their clients with the best possible experience.

So how does the story end? Megan and Dee had an excellent conversation. They talked about the processes Megan was using on the project and agreed on a few minor adjustments that Dee felt would really work a little better for her. In the end, the client evaluation survey actually worked just as intended. Even though the high scores did not accurately reflect what was going on in the project at that time, it opened the door to an excellent conversation.
 

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Topics: Project Management, Client Relationships, Professional Services