If you’ve worked in an agency environment — or with any client ever — you’ve seen it happen:
Client: “Hey, this looks great! Just need you to change the color on THIS button.”
Agency: “Got it. Have it to you in a jiff.”
(the team works steadfastly on their very actionable and specific feedback)
Agency: “Alright, here’s updated work with the change to THAT button.”
Client: “No! It’s all wrong! (flips table over) I wanted you to change THIS button.”
Okay, the table-flipping was for dramatic effect. But you get the point. Something that should’ve been simple is now a time and money-sucking issue. The client is mad and Untold is mad. As hard as we try to execute exactly what the client wants, sometimes we both fall into the communication gap. Sometimes, feedback is neither actionable nor remotely specific.
So what is an agency to do? If client feedback (and, let’s be honest- also, internal review feedback) is not naturally clear and concise, how can we require it to be?
That’s how we landed on implementing feedback tools — both for our own use to collaborate on each others’ work and for our clients to provide clear feedback and approvals. The tools we’ve chosen — BugHerd for Interactive and CageApp for non-Interactive — allow for highlighted feedback and offer a comment section relating to each feedback item. That is, if a client doesn’t like the color of THIS button, he will put a box around THIS button so everyone is completely clear on which one he means. But what if we’re not sure if he means to change just that one button or every similar button on the site? Instead of taking a guess, just comment on his comment and ask the question specific to that item. No real room for error there!
How about the dreaded “This page is showing an error.” A slew of questions follow to be able to even begin troubleshooting. What’s the error? Could you send me a screenshot of what you’re seeing? What OS do you have installed? What Browser are you using? Hey, hey. Calm down — you don’t have to ask any of those any more. Our tool will auto-populate all of those things, so if the user doesn’t know what an operating system even is, we’ll know what theirs is. Brilliant!
One of my favorite benefits is that feedback tools force actionable feedback. Without even meaning to, the tools require a client or someone reviewing work internally to really mull over what they think is wrong instead of giving vague feedback like, “This isn’t really what I was going for.” It mandates that the reviewer points out specific things he doesn’t like as either a clear to-do item or a conversation about how to make that thing work.
Of course, the implementation of tools like this comes with its own set of challenges to work through, such as how to incorporate it into our ironclad process. After all, if we can’t achieve a streamlined process on both the team and client sides, the whole idea is a bust. But that’s where humans come in. Remember — people manage projects and processes. Tools do not.