July 10, 2024

The 4 W’s to Ask Your Client for Feedback

As a consultant, asking for feedback is essential for a successful engagement.

As an employee, you probably had formal performance reviews, so you had some idea of how you performed at your job. As a consultant, reviews are no longer a thing, so it’s up to you to solicit feedback from your client to ensure the success of your engagement and help you grow in your profession.

Requesting client feedback can be challenging, so we’ve created an easy framework for getting the feedback you need to succeed based on asking yourself the 4 W’s (why, who, when, and what).

#1) Why should I ask for feedback?

When requesting feedback from your client, it’s important to emphasize why you need their feedback. By sharing how it helps you provide an exceptional experience as their consultant and grow professionally, most clients are more than willing to give you their time. It’s also helpful to share examples of previous client feedback you’ve received and how it has helped strengthen the engagement.

Clients are busy, but when they understand how providing you with feedback on your performance will help them get the most out of your working relationship, it’s an investment in time that most clients will be willing to make.

Demonstrating active listening techniques will also show the client that you genuinely care. Summarizing what they say, nodding, and maintaining eye contact help convey active listening.

Always thank clients afterward for their time and input. It fosters a long-term relationship and facilitates cooperation.

 

“When requesting feedback from your client, it’s important to emphasize why you need their feedback.”

 

#2) Who do I ask for feedback?

Feedback should come from everyone you interact with in the project and the person responsible for ending or extending your contract.

By getting feedback from multiple people, you can distinguish between someone’s personal preferences for your work versus an overall response to your work.

When people give you feedback, it may not be positive, and that’s okay. Even though you’re an expert in your profession, remember to take feedback as an opportunity to learn, grow, and adapt.

#3) When do I ask for feedback?

The Life Sciences industry is dynamic and busy. With things constantly changing, carving out time for your client to give you feedback may be challenging.

Instead of approaching feedback like a formal corporate performance review, look for more frequent opportunities to receive continuous feedback, such as:

  • Schedule frequent, ongoing short check-ins, such as 15 minutes every week.
  • Informally ask for feedback when you’re working on a task together.
  • During meetings, ask your client, “How satisfied are you with the results you’re seeing?”
  • In emails or IMs, respond with, “Please provide me with any feedback you may have.”

#4) What do I ask?

What to ask your clients is essential for ensuring you get honest answers that will provide actionable results.

Here are a few tips:

Ask open-ended questions. Binary questions place boundaries on the conversation. Avoid leading, closed-ended questions. The open-ended format will foster a beneficial discussion.

Tailor specific questions. Be prepared for each conversation. Have set questions that are relevant to that client and their project.

Use surveys. Utilize tools to reach wider audiences and maintain client anonymity.

Ask for examples. Understand client needs by questioning about past experiences or what they want to see in the future.

Remember to always follow up on feedback by sharing the results of your actions as a response to their inputs.

Conclusion

Generating feedback in any environment is critical to professional development. Your career as a consultant in the life sciences industry requires you to ask for feedback on your own. Discussing your work with your clients will foster a strong relationship and accelerate your career.

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