It's nice to think that within a few weeks of publishing a feedback form on your site you will receive a stream of honest and insightful comments that will help you to learn what clients think. The reality of this tactic from our experience is that bots and spammers drive 90% of the subsequent submissions and the few authentic replies that come along are disjointed and of limited value.
Testimonials - can anyone really please all of the people all of the time?
We're always slightly skeptical of endless glowing testimonials proudly displayed on the home page of many business sites. Without validation a testimonial is close to meaningless and although a number of these are undoubtedly the real thing my intuition tends to start questioning whether this business can honestly be so universally loved and respected. Once the seeds of doubt have been sown it all starts to look like snake oil to me and once that point is reached they are doing more harm than good. Our advice if you use them. Pick a few you are genuinely proud of and nail them to the mast of of something they are directly related to like a case study.
So where does the best feedback come from?
Meaningful feedback comes from honesty and honesty only exists within an environment where trust and mutual respect have been established. The best people to ask for an opinion then are people you have recently been in close contact with. A client in the closing stages of a project. A customer you have known for a long time or perhaps a prospect you have recently pitched to whether you won or lost the work (losing a pitch often gives the perfect opportunity for learning and constructive change). Phone them up or better still buy them a coffee and talk to them about their experience of working with your company. Then listen very carefully and remember what was said.
And what to do with it?
Don't post a comment online just because it's positive, in fact don't publish it at all. Take it onboard, discuss it with colleagues and having digested and understood the point that was made, effect changes that will improve or refine your business process. Ultimately if you're any good at what you do you don't need to shout about it, it becomes self evident.