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We shape the product together.

When giving feedback, you ought to spend time to really make it useful for the receiver, so they can act upon your feedback and take it more seriously.

This happens a lot in client service setting when most clients don’t know how to properly give feedback. They think spending money is enough to just let it go and wait for a magic pandora box. The point of client service is that partnership and communication are crucial parts of the process, and in order to build the best products, everyone (no exception) has to work together.

First, avoid one-liners, except if they really part of something bigger. Be more comprehensive in your sentence and give details.

Don’t: “That’s nice, but it lacks ‘wow’ effect.”

Do: “This particular page shows a good craftmanship, but perhaps we need more prominent or exciting ways to let the users sign up.”

Personal taste is inavoidable, but keep it to the minimum, and focus on the product at hand, and the user or audience who will use it. Giving a fair share of “I don’t like it” doesn’t really help over time. Elaborate why it might not work for your audience, not for you.

Don’t: “I don’t like it at all.”

Do: “I believe that the colors represented don’t match the energy and tone we want to achieve for the users. Maybe we can try bolder and happier color theme?”

Hire people to solve your problems, so, don’t give them answers based on your assumptions. Then, try to encapsulate feedback in short-and-sweet manners, like bullet points, or tabulation. Something simple enough for the normal minds to ponder and understand upon. It’s a balance between one-liners and an essay of feedback.

Don’t: “I cannot see all the menu that I wrote in my requirement document. They have to be there outright and be visible to everyone at once. Put menu X here, menu X there, remove X and move X to this location. Use this photo for this particular page. Make it rounded corner. Make it in blue, not red. I want a drawer menu in both sides. Don’t”

Do: “My priorities for the users are X, X, X and X. Currently, I don’t see quicker way to access all of those in the landing page. If you could find a solution to make them work, let me know. Also, let me know if you have any other suggestions.”

Or, do:

  • Can we make menu X, X and X more visible?
  • Can we find better photo that represents young people in screen X?
  • Can we have a friendlier look on the user interface? Maybe have more rounded corners?

Verbal communication isa good way to make sure that everybody is on the same page, but to act upon something, they should have written documentation somewhere to refer back to later. It covers both sides: as the client, you write it down and follow up with phone call and email, as the service provider, you write it down and confirm if it’s something the client has in mind. Don’t be lazy, you two.

Don’t: “We had everything discussed in that call and meeting, why do you ask again?”

Do: “Here’s a list of what we jotted down in the last call and meeting, please act upon them.”

The client needs to understand the process of how something happens, and this is the responsibility of the service provider to explain. Any request comes with consequences: it needs resources, whether it’s time, money or tradeoff with some other requests. There is no overnight success.

Don’t: “We’re in a rush. Can you make it overnight?” or “This is the right momentum to show it. Can you do by this evening?”

Do: “How long do you think would take for it to be done?”

Unless the client wants an artwork that embodies himself and himself only, to showcase his lifetime’s glory, there are more possibilities that the work is made for the customers through certain business channels. Both client and service provider must work together to advocate for the users, not for each side. Feedback should be as objective as possible and tailored to the goals of the customers.

Don’t: “My boss doesn’t like it.” or “How can we earn money, then?”

Do: “According to research X or user interview that we did, method X is better than method Z, and it implies that this experience should be reorganized.”

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Reflections on digital product design, travel, food and the in-betweens. Finding my compass.

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