Using Project Surveys to improve client satisfaction and engagement

by SmileBack
8 min read

SmileBack’s Project Surveys for ConnectWise PSA give you a read on sentiment at each project stage so you can make sure customers are happy across your entire project lifecycle.

This helps you build stronger relationships, reduce churn and grow revenue.

In this article, you’ll learn how this feature helps your business, how to set it up and how to use project survey data to boost customer retention.

Table of contents

  • How tracking customer sentiment during projects boosts your bottom line
  • How to set up and use Project Surveys in SmileBack
  • How to maximize survey engagement
  • Save time and keep track with Project Survey automation
  • Acting on Project Survey feedback: ideas and best practices
  • Wrapping up

How tracking customer sentiment during projects boosts your bottom line

Most MSPs run multiple projects across several clients at any given time. 

Whether it’s employee onboarding or hardware installations, understanding customer satisfaction is critical for ensuring projects run smoothly and meet expectations.

But gathering these insights at the end of the project process leaves little room for action. It’s much more effective and efficient to track sentiment at regular intervals.

This way, you can:

  • Discover issues before it’s too late. Identifying problems in their infancy allows you to address and resolve clients’ concerns before they escalate into major roadblocks. Or worse, result in project failure.
  • Steer your team’s approach in real time. Real-time project feedback empowers you and your team to make agile and data-driven decisions. If sentiment declines for any reason, you can adjust your approach fast, allocating resources where they’re needed most.
  • Maintain customers’ trust and confidence. Continuously seeking and acting on customer feedback shows your commitment to exceptional service. When clients see that you value their opinions, it fosters trust and confidence. The results are stronger relationships and more repeat business.
  • Improve the performance of future projects. Ongoing Project Surveys are goldmines of information, showing you what works well and what doesn’t. Analyzing this feedback lets you fine-tune your internal processes, adapt best practices and refine your project management approach for better outcomes.

Ultimately, keeping a pulse on client sentiment improves the client experience. 

This leads to better returns on investment (ROIs) and makes clients more likely to advocate for your business.

Here’s all you need to know about setting up Project Surveys.

How to set up and use Project Surveys in SmileBack

In the SmileBack dashboard, click on the menu bar in the top right corner. Then, under Projects, choose Survey Manager.

Next, select Create new survey to start building.

Pick the type of survey you want to create using the toggle switch and choose a relevant, memorable name. This’ll help you and your team to quickly identify the survey in the Project Survey Manager later.

Template Surveys run for all upcoming projects when the status trigger is matched, while Single Surveys only run on one selected project.

We’ll compare survey types in more detail shortly. For now, let’s start with a simple Template Survey. It’s the easiest way to get started.

Template Surveys are triggered by project status changes. You can choose when clients receive them using the drop-down list.

For example, you could distribute a survey when a new project opens (Open), to understand how your planning and introduction went. 

Or choose Delivered to gauge client sentiment straight after the final deliverable, so you’ve got time to address concerns before closing the project.

For demonstration purposes, we’ll use Closed — so the survey will automatically run at the end of each project. It’s a great way to collect high-level insights for improving future projects.

Choose if you want to receive an email every time a survey deploys, then click Save & Continue.

In the next screen, you can personalize the survey email your contacts will receive by adding your brand color and logo. This helps keep your survey emails consistent with other company content your clients might see so your messages feel familiar and trustworthy. 

Now add your text for the email subject line and email introduction. You can personalize each field by adding {name} or {project} where you would like their respective information to appear.

Click View Email Preview to see what your contacts will see.

Press Save & Continue when you’re happy.

Now consider what you want to learn from your recipients. You can add up to five questions, each a different version of “How would you rate our…”.

For example: “How would you rate our communications?” or “How would you rate our professionalism?”.

Use one of the pre-written topics to get started quickly or add your own if you have a specific topic not already covered.

If the category you want isn’t available, you can add it in the box at the bottom of the drop-down list.

Once you’ve picked your questions, choose whether to let recipients write comments at the end of the survey and customize your Thank you message.

Once again,

Select View Survey Preview to see what your contacts will receive.

Or Save & Continue to move to the next screen, which confirms that the survey will pull recipients automatically from your ConnectWise PSA projects.

Finally, you’ll have a chance to review the survey you’ve created. Once you’re happy, select Activate Survey and you’re ready.

Your new survey will now appear in the Survey Manager screen.

From here, you can view insightful metrics like surveys sent and response rate, deactivate the survey, turn deployment notifications on or off, edit the survey setup and more.

Top tip: If you haven’t integrated feedback surveys with ConnectWise yet, read our guide on How to Set Up SmileBack with ConnectWise PSA

How to set up a Single Survey (and why you might want to)

Single Surveys are one-time surveys you can deploy for specific companies, projects and project phases. The extra control they allow makes them ideal for one-off initiatives and more complex projects (e.g. projects with many phases and stakeholders). 

Once you’ve switched the toggle button to Single Survey, the set-up process is similar to Template Surveys but has some additional options.

In the first window, as well as choosing a name and trigger, you can select the company and one of its associated projects.

Start by picking a client from the Company drop-down list.

Then you’ll see its related projects in the Project list.

Next, choose when to deploy the survey. 

You can trigger it based on a status change to the whole project (as we did with the Template Survey) or status changes to individual project stages.

You can also combine multiple survey periods. Just be careful not to overwhelm clients with too many feedback requests. Otherwise, they may stop responding altogether. Prioritize the types of insights you know will help you improve.

After selecting branding options and up to five questions, as before, choose your survey’s recipients. 

By default, these will include all contacts associated with your chosen project. You can select or deselect these by clicking the checkboxes on the left.

You can also add recipients manually. Just insert their names and email addresses in the boxes below and click Save & Continue when finished.

Once again, you’ll get a chance to review your survey’s details before activating.

Assuming all looks good, click Activate Survey and wait for the responses.

How to maximize Project Survey engagement

A Project Survey is only helpful if:

  • Project stakeholders respond to your questions
  • Your team uses the feedback to refine its approach

The key to maximizing both types of engagement is transparency. You must explain to everyone involved in the survey or relationship what you’re doing and why.

For clients, discuss your surveys and their purpose as part of the kick-off process. Explain how feedback will help you improve your service (i.e. deliver a bigger ROI) and what recipients can expect regarding frequency and types of communication.

Also, let the client know that the survey emails will come from, and that they can trust this address. Otherwise, they may delete the message or mark it as spam, reducing your response rate.

For example, you could include the following text in your agreement or early email correspondence:

“Your input helps us improve our services. At the end of each phase of our work together, you’ll receive an email asking for feedback on our performance. We use this feedback to improve our project management, communication, issue resolution and more.

“This email will include our branding but come from our trusted partner, SmileBack.”

Discuss with team members what you plan to do with the data and how you’ll feed responses back to them (e.g. will they receive automated notifications or will you deliver reports?). This will help to ensure they pay attention to respondents’ feedback and remain open to changes in how they work.

Save time and keep track with Project Survey automation

The simplest way to keep up with Project Survey feedback is to automate the feedback process.

It’s quick and easy to set up an email alert that runs whenever you receive a new response to one of your Project Surveys. This lets you focus on priority tasks — like your project’s deliverables — without needing to check in repeatedly to find new data.

You can filter your automatic notifications based on:

  • Certain scores (i.e. 1-5)
  • Specific companies and projects
  • Whether the results include a comment or not

And then have the alert delivered to any email address or addresses you choose. 

For example, you could configure the automation to alert your account and project managers and whenever a client gives a negative or neutral review (1-3). 

The sooner you learn about issues, the sooner you can step in to support the client and protect the relationship.

To set up a Project Survey automation, click on the menu bar in the top right corner of the SmileBack dashboard. Then, under Tools, choose Automation.

Select New Project Surveys Rule from the three buttons at the top of the page.

Now give your automation a name and choose your notification criteria.

In the WHEN section, you’ll choose which scores, clients, and projects to receive survey alerts for.

Next to THEN, on the right of the page, you can choose who will receive the email alerts.

Press Save when you’ve completed the form.

You’ll now see the new Project Survey automation in your list of Created Rules, alongside any Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) automations you’ve already set up.

From here you can activate and deactivate the automation using the Status toggle, edit its settings or delete it.

Now, whenever your Project Survey receives a response that meets your criteria, your chosen recipients will receive an email from that looks like this:

Ensure team members know what to expect and how to act on the feedback alerts they receive, so your valuable data doesn’t go to waste.

Top tip: New to the benefits of automation? Read our guide on How Automation Reduces Friction and Boosts Client Satisfaction.

Acting on Project Survey feedback: ideas and best practices

Project Survey feedback is unique in offering real-time insights into project performance and client satisfaction. Using it properly can help you outperform MSPs that only collect data post-project.

Here are some of the best ways to apply what you learn:

  • Shorten your response times. Acknowledge feedback as it comes in, especially if it signals a client’s problem or concern. This shows your commitment to addressing issues and minimizing disruption.
  • Make agile adjustments. If you notice negative feedback trends, don’t wait until the end of the project to make changes. Be prepared to pivot your team’s approach in real time, allocating resources and attention where needed.
  • Utilize automation tools. Automation tools like project management and customer relationship management (CRM) software allow immediate follow-ups based on survey responses, creating a more tailored and responsive service.
  • Stay transparent. Involve clients in the feedback loop by sharing the survey results and subsequent actions. This collaborative approach keeps clients informed and strengthens their confidence in your ability to manage their projects effectively.
  • Inform training and development. Where feedback highlights skill gaps within your team, use it to guide your training and development efforts. Upskilling your team can lead to more successful, efficient projects in the long run.

Above all, treat Project Survey feedback as a catalyst for continuous improvement. Analyze your data regularly to identify recurring issues or inefficiencies. Then adjust your internal processes to stop these problems from impacting future projects.

Wrapping up

Efficient, effective projects are the lifeblood of all managed service providers.

Project Survey feedback helps you minimize inefficiencies and maximize client satisfaction. As a result, you’ll strengthen relationships, improve team morale, reduce churn and ultimately boost revenue.

Want to talk to a team member about configuring and using Project Surveys?

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