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How to Take Client Feedback and Use it in the Upcoming Year

With 2019 coming to a close, it’s that time of year to take inventory of your business and evaluate any feedback that you’ve received. Many caterers and business owners may dread this – after all, who really likes seeing negative feedback? – but it’s important to remember that this is a crucial stepping stone that lies between this year and a fresh start in 2020.

Know how to ask for it

The tricky part for most people isn’t necessarily going through an evaluation and making necessary changes, but rather learning how to ask for feedback in a way that invites constructive criticism.

We know better than anyone that if a customer has a poor experience for whatever reason, we’ll hear from them and desire their input. However, knowing what’s working and having a comprehensive look at how the client viewed the event’s success is much more diffcult to come by.

First, understand that this goes beyond merely prying for a positive, 5-star review. Those are nice, of course, but ultimately these aren’t the ones that are going to help your business to evolve.

Start by providing a questionnaire for clients to complete that will gauge their satisfaction with your offerings, including what they’d wish had been done differently. This will help to open up the conversation about any concerns (or praise) the client may have that can help you better serve future customers.

Audit your business appropriately

Once you have a good overview of your year based on feedback from those you’ve worked with, it’s essential to take some time to audit your business thoroughly.

Are there are technical issues that your clients may have had that they brought to your attention? Is there a demand for new products or services that you could potentially be expanding toward? Do clients find that your staff was friendly and easy to work with?

Don’t feel as if you have to incorporate huge changes in time for the next business year, but if there are places where you can identify weaknesses that can be relatively easy to fix, it’s worth it to begin putting those plans in motion.

Do your research, find out which moves are tangible, and start from there. Your future clients will thank you!

A Satisfied Customer Is The Best Business Strategy of All

Implement new strategies with your team

One of the most important things to note during this time of addressing feedback and planning for adjustments is to keep your team up to speed. Better yet, organize a retreat or meeting to compare their notes from the year with that of your customers. Take note of any overlaps, and let your staff be heard.

They may have ideas from their position behind-the-scenes, and this viewpoint can be helpful when discussing new goals and processes for 2020.

These strategies and changes can be large or incremental, whether you want to begin having a Monday morning run-through of the week to ensure that everyone is on the same page, or if you’re looking to take the leap with new software or a POS system.

Taking a look at weak spots in your company or even browsing negative reviews may not be an ideal way to wrap up the year, but trust us when we say that this is the best thing you can do in order to set the reset button ahead of 2020.


Clint Elkins is the VP of Sales at SB Value, a group purchasing program designed to reduce catering, kitchen and food-service costs by leveraging the collective buying power of thousands of companies.


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