Gathering feedback from clients that stopped using your services

So today I want to talk to you about something that not enough of us do and that is following-up and gathering feedback from past clients.

The number of businesses/services that I have stopped using, for whatever reason over time, that have never followed up to ask why or to see if they can help me again blows my mind.

So before we get into the following up with clients to see if and how we can help them again, let’s dive into gathering feedback.

Ok so ideally we are constantly gathering feedback from our clients but either way, let’s imagine a client has stopped using your services for whatever reason. Now there are various ways of going about collecting this information but my preference for this is:

  1. Phone
  2. Text (SMS / Social DM / Messenger / WhatsApp) 
  3. Email 
  4. Survey

1) Phone

If you want to truly understand somebody, you really need to talk to them. When we’re using surveys, emails, or SMS, we’re missing all sorts of contextual information. Customers might say they need more money or more time. You won’t know for sure until you hear it in their voice as they talk about their problems. You also want a chance to dig deeper. 

Now that being said I know how daunting it can feel to have to call someone who has left your services let alone get a truthful answer from them. The reality is most people don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings by giving them negative feedback or go into what they believe may be a confrontational situation. 

Now just because I’ve mentioned that it might be negative feedback it certainly isn’t always the case, sometimes life and other things happen. I certainly don’t want this put you off ‘the follow-up.’ 

2) Text

Even though talking on the phone is my preferred method of contact text is almost on par with this for me as it is very direct, personal, generally gets a quick response and it adds a small degree of separation between you both which can make for a slightly safer environment for someone to open up. 

Here is an example of some text you might use.

Hey “X Client”, 

It’s been a real pleasure working with you and I’m sorry things haven’t worked out.

I was hoping you might be able to help me by giving me a little feedback on what I could do better or what I didn’t do right. Please feel free, to be honest, I’m really looking to improve myself and my business. 

Thanks in advance for the feedback.

Best regards

Xxxxxxxxxx

3) Email

Pretty much the same as everything I wrote in Texts but has the possibility to get missed or forgotten about easily due to the sheer volume of emails we receive these days. My advice would be to go for option 1 & 2 first if possible. 

4) Survey

Surveys can be handy. You can use something like Google Forms to create a survey as it is free and works great. Be sure to ask open-ended questions and not closed ones. I personally would suggest no more than three questions in total and set them all as optional. 

Ideally, send this via text but if you are unable too, an email will suffice and of course, add some nice custom text or copy with it something like this.

Hey “X Client”, 

It’s been a real pleasure working with you and I’m sorry things haven’t worked out.

I was hoping you might be able to help me by giving me a little feedback on what I could do better or what I didn’t do right. Please feel free to be honest I’m really looking to improve myself and my business. 

To make things easy I’ve created a super short survey that is completely anonymous. Here is the link xxxxxxxxxxxx

Thanks in advance for the feedback.

Best regards

Even if they are the only person you asked to fill in the survey make sure you let them know that the survey is completely anonymous. This way they feel they can be truly honest about things. 

In summary, don’t be afraid to ask the questions as you’ve got nothing to lose. Don’t let your ego get in the way of the feedback and be truly open to it. Spend some time reflecting on it no matter what it is or how great your business is we can always improve in some shape or form. Customer feedback is the true driving force to creating a great sustainable and successful business if listened to and acted on properly. 

Also if you have some clients that you have never followed up with, have a read of this short article.