Getting the most from your client-feedback program is a matter of asking good questions and employing effective analysis, says Julie Littlechild, CEO of Advisor Impact Inc. in Toronto.

“The way you use the data you have collected will drive your return on investment,” Littlechild says.

With a proper system in place to analyze your feedback, you should be able to draw clear conclusions on how you can better manage and grow your business.

Littlechild offers the following advice on how you can get the most from your survey data:

> Summarize your results
Once you have analyzed all your data, compile the results in an organized way.

Create a brief summary of the trends you have observed in your feedback program and present it to your clients.

The advantages to this step, Littlechild says, are two-fold. You will deepen your relationships with current clients, who will see that you have made the effort to serve them better. And you will be able to make use of what you have learned in future marketing materials.

> Demonstrate your value to COIs
As you have done with your clients and prospects, be sure to share your findings with centres of influence (COIs). Equipped with the information conclusions of your feedback program — and better able to articulate your value — you will be well positioned to show other professionals, such as lawyers and accounts, how you can help their clients.

“It will allow you to capitalize on referral opportunities,” Littlechild says, “and on cross-selling opportunities.”

> Examine your client service plan
Compare your current service plan with the feedback you have gathered.

You might notice, for example, that some of your clients would prefer more contact than you are currently providing. You might also find that the type and frequency of contact these clients are asking for exceeds what you would generally provide given the profitability of that account.

However you choose to deal with such gaps, look for a solution that suits the needs of your practice and your client. The survey may prompt you to re-examine your service plan to help you better manage overall client expectations.

> Learn about client needs
Your client-feedback program will help you identify the issues that matter most to your clients.

For example, you might think your clients need insurance planning, when in fact they have a stronger need in the area of retirement planning. Becoming familiar with this information will help you to prioritize your time and take the guesswork out of determining what services you “should” be offering.

As a result, your overall client experience should improve and your business should grow.

This is the seventh instalment in an occasional series on how client engagement can benefit your practice. Next: Client engagement and the value of advice.