4 Guiding Principles for Giving Clear, Actionable Feedback

At Croomo, we work closely with our clients in order to develop effective training solutions, and we actively encourage them to be a part of that journey with us. As a creative agency, a critical part of that journey is asking for and receiving client feedback as we reach each project milestone.

Client feedback is an incredibly useful tool for indicating when things are going in the right direction, or for redirecting focus if and where needed. It helps to set clear expectations around how the final product will look and feel, and to communicate the many various creative and technical considerations that must be addressed throughout the planning, design, and production phases.

To get from concept to completion, there are often a number of intermediate deliverables we send to our clients in order to provide them with an opportunity to review our progress and provide valuable insight and feedback. When collaborating with our clients in this way, there are efficient methods of providing feedback which can greatly assist us — both in terms of defining a clear direction as well as keeping the project on schedule. These include:

Prompt feedback

A quick response to feedback requests helps to avoid delays and ensures projects remain on schedule. If this process drags out, it can hinder progress and affect production timelines.

Ideally feedback is provided within one or two business days. This helps to keep up the project momentum, and allows us to progress to the next stage or deliverable and meet the project deadline. If this timeframe for reviewing the work and generating feedback is unrealistic for the project stakeholders, clearly communicating this will enable us to plan ahead and adjust our production schedule accordingly.

A dedicated decision maker

If multiple parties are providing feedback, having a key stakeholder act as the decision maker helps to filter and consolidate any conflicting or unclear thoughts or comments. This ensures that all the feedback we receive has been reviewed internally and are approved.

Actionable comments

Productivity can often be stalled by vague questions, ambiguous statements, unclear instruction, or multiple varying opinions. This type of feedback can be difficult to interpret, answer, clarify, or action. Ideally the feedback should be clear, direct, and specific, providing not only an evaluation of the work but also suggestions for improvement.

Examples of unclear feedback are statements such as ‘I don’t like this shade of blue’ and questions such as ‘Is this paragraph really necessary here?’

Actionable feedback, on the other hand, is prescriptive and provides actionable information such as ‘Please adjust this shade of blue to match our branding style guide’ and ‘Please remove this paragraph as it is no longer relevant to this procedure.’

A single feedback channel

With projects involving multiple stakeholders, collecting and actioning feedback is challenging to manage when coming in multiple forms. For example, if one person responds via email, another person ‘marks-up’ a print version and scans it to PDF, and another responds by phone, there is no single location where all feedback is consolidated and visible to all parties.

To avoid this scenario, we usually provide stakeholders with a direct link to a shared online proof (whether it be a document, storyboard, imagery, video, or animation) and ask that all stakeholders leave their feedback here. This way, there is a single point of truth we can refer to and we can address all comments methodically, and action them systematically. This also allows stakeholders to view each other’s feedback, which reduces the likelihood of duplicate comments or conflicting change requests.

Client feedback is an integral part of our process for creating inspiring learning experiences. It is essential at every stage of planning, design, and development in order to arrive at a successful and effective training solution for learners and organisations. If that feedback is clear, concise, and actionable, it streamlines the entire process and allows us to produce the best possible training solution for your organisation.

Grant Van Zutphen

Motion Graphic Artist