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Asking freelance clients for feedback: a 5-step growth strategy
When you want to scale your freelance business, you can look to your past clients for help. By asking for feedback from clients, you can prove to new prospects just how valuable your services are. Great reviews from happy customers are worth a lot online these days, so you shouldn’t underestimate how useful it is to get feedback after, and even during each project.
The power of social proof is growing in many industries, and the freelance space is no exception. Considering that around 85% of people trust the opinions of other consumers online, it’s clear that freelancers have a lot to gain by using client feedback as a marketing tool.
So, just how can we do that?
In a nutshell, asking for general feedback or design feedback from clients really comes down to simply asking them some direct questions and listening to their answers. However, your strategy matters.
In this article, we’ll see how to ask for customer feedback by email, and also consider other channels you can use to get the valuable feedback you need to attract new clients.
What to ask your freelance clients when you want feedback
Regardless of what you do, whether it be writing or graphics design, web development or photography, there are plenty of questions that you will be able to ask your clients to get feedback.
Here are some basic questions to ask:
- What made you choose us?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the service you received?
- In which aspects did we meet or exceed your expectations?
- What areas need to be improved?
- Would you recommend us to others?
As a side note, that last question can lead to a request for referrals. Even if you can’t get direct referrals to new prospects, it’s worth asking your clients these types of questions. The only potential is that you may deter people by asking too many questions, and that could result in you struggling to get any useful feedback.
Let’s see how to do it the right way.
How to ask the questions: a 5-step process for success
Millo founder, Preston Lee, reveals that his best clients “always came from word-of-mouth marketing. It always required much less convincing up-front and had a level of trust built-in."
However, no freelancer should rely on jobs to just land in their lap. You need to stay proactive to build up your freelance business. To create a good impression and hope for great feedback, you should send professional documents to your clients, be them proposals, contracts, or invoices. This is where Bonsai can help - sign up for your free trial today and generate documents from templates in just seconds.
When it comes to asking for feedback from clients, you should have a solid strategy that ensures you get what you need.
1. Devise your workflow process with client feedback in mind
The process for getting feedback from freelance clients shouldn’t be too complex. That being said, if you take the time to create a simple system, it will be more likely to elicit useful responses.
If you’re really keen to gather the thoughts of your clients, you can create freelance contracts with Bonsai and stipulate the need for some written or verbal feedback when a project begins.
A good idea is to sketch out the projected workflow for how you deal with new clients. It may include the following stages:
- Initial call
- Create a freelance proposal for the project
- Secondary call to finalize details
- Contract signing
- Mid-way consultation
- Final deliverables
- Wrap-up call/feedback conversation
From this basic outline, there are multiple points where feedback could be given prior to the final wrap-up call. Whatever your preferred process is, keep your clients in the loop so they know when they should provide feedback.
2. Establish a precedent early to convince clients to give more feedback
A report from Feedback Ferret claims that just 2% of people will bother to complete questionnaires from a brand. As a freelancer who is hungry for better work, those are pretty miserable odds.
Some clients may be a little nervous about giving feedback. They may be wary of accidentally offending your work and damaging the working relationship, so it’s easier not to rock the boat. However, freelancers should accept the value of constructive criticism – it can help develop your skills and identify flaws you didn’t know about.
The best way to make clients comfortable is to make it clear from the very outset. On the first call, and in early email updates about the project, encourage them to contribute with their thoughts. Ask them for their input at critical stages, particularly if you are unsure about how to complete a certain aspect of the project.
Reassure them you won’t take offense, and explain the value of the feedback for their project. This will put them at ease and allow them to feel free about expressing their thoughts.
3. If they’re staying quiet, simply ask your clients for feedback!
Sometimes, even a great structure and constant reassurance aren’t enough to get clients to open up. When it comes to the end of a project, you may get the sense that the client is ready to just pay up and disappear into the ether.
Already, you’re lamenting the loss of what could have been an incredible testimonial for a challenging project that demonstrated your high-level skill set. When you’re building your freelance portfolio website, such feedback is rocket fuel for taking your career to the next level. Don’t just let these opportunities slip away.
By directly asking for feedback from clients throughout a project, you won’t just get social proof on your site in the end, but you’ll also be able to craft a superior end product that is more closely aligned with their initial vision.
Send a direct email that poses the key questions above and any others that are specific to this client and project. Once again, reassure them you’ll not take offense to their answers.
4. Think outside the inbox
Sure, email is convenient. You can write one on the go, and it’s much easier and faster than scheduling a video call or in-person meeting. However, for the important conversations with your clients, email doesn’t always cut it.
If you want to know how to ask for customer feedback by email, you’ll find plenty of feedback email examples online. These range from the casual conversational ask to the long-winded professional letter type. Some even offer incentives like free entry into a promotion or contest in return for filling out a questionnaire.
It’s up to you, but the reality is that many people find the latter a little too sales-focused nowadays. Personalization counts, and therefore, if you make the efforts to engage your clients outside of your email inbox, you may get much better results.
There are plenty of ways to get feedback aside from email, such as:
- Direct – either by phone call or video conference.
- Surveys – while you can email them a survey relating to their specific project, it’s also possible to run a public survey on social media where clients, freelancers, and other people can contribute.
- Feedback boxes – these can be displayed on your website or LinkedIn.
In the end, a more personal and thoughtful interaction will give your client a platform to express their thoughts in greater detail, and you can ask follow-up questions immediately.
5. Build your network to grow as a professional
Your clients aren’t the only people that you can get social proof from. As a freelancer, you should always seek to build relationships with fellow freelancers and respected influencers in your industry.
Sometimes, the word of relevant people in your space is worth more value, even if you haven’t worked for them. A mentor or well-respected freelancer could endorse you on LinkedIn, which will add some clout to your profile when you’re reaching out to new prospects.
Alternatively, other people in your space may offer you some harsh but true objective insights about your work, as they are detached from it, unlike your clients.
It may sting, but it could help your work improve where it’s needed most. By using Bonsai to establish a professional freelancing business that has industry-standard contracts and invoicing, you’re sure to earn the respect and admiration of your existing clients and prospective new ones.
Client feedback is the foundation of growth
If you want more clients to value your work, you need to show that you have already got the backing of big clients, fellow freelancers, and thought leaders in your industry. The more good things people say about you and your work, the stronger your online reputation will be.
Not only that, but you will genuinely improve, as you will get objective insights about your work, and learn to enhance weaknesses in your skill-set. Over time, surrounding yourself with a network of great freelancers will allow you to become a great freelancer too. Asking for feedback from clients is all part of the journey.
Sign-up with Bonsai today to put your best foot forward with new clients.