Requesting Feedback: Tips

Top 10 Tips and Techniques from Mediators Around the World

Mediators can experience difficulty in getting parties and their representatives (collectively referred to here as “users”) to give feedback on the mediation they have experienced.  Many professionals have never asked for feedback before, can be nervous about asking for it, and not sure how to approach the subject.

Offering a Feedback Questionnaire to users at the end of a mediation can, if not handled correctly, appear bureaucratic and simply be discarded or ignored by the person receiving it.

However, many mediators have a great deal of success in getting users to complete feedback questionnaires.  We asked some to share how they do it and help other IMI Certified Mediators increase their response rates on feedback requests.

1.  Mention up front that you will offer the feedback questionnaire at the end

Consider mentioning at the outset of the mediation that you would appreciate everyone involved to complete a feedback questionnaire that you will pass round at the end, and briefly explain why.

2. Explain the purpose of feedback

The purpose of feedback is to enable future users of your services as a mediator to get a better understanding of how you mediate.  Each feedback questionnaire is used by an independent Reviewer to help them build an anonymized Feedback Digest that forms part of your online IMI Certified Mediator Profile that future users can read.

3. Be serious about the importance of the Feedback Questionnaire 

If you make it sound like a bureaucratic chore or wasteful paperwork then it won’t be treated seriously by the user and will either not be filled in, or the input will most likely be useless.

4. Give a time frame for completion

The best feedback happens soon after the event, when the experience is still fresh and before people have moved on.  Try to set an early date for it to be returned and send a reminder if it does not arrive by that date.

5. Assure anonymity for the feedback provider

Assure the person or people completing the feedback questionnaire that their name will not be used in any public context and will be known only to yourself and your Reviewer.  Offer the opportunity not to include name and contact details on the questionnaire, but consider adding that it will help the Reviewer in case a question arises.

6. Provide a return envelope

The simple inclusion of a stamped envelope (addressed either to your Reviewer or to yourself) psychologically makes it easier for the task to be completed.

7. Ask if the feedback provider will take a call from your Reviewer

If you encounter resistance to the idea of filling in a form, it may help if you ask whether a follow-up call from your Reviewer would be acceptable.

8. Pick a good moment

If a mediation ends late at night when participants are exhausted or in other circumstances when the last thing people want to hear is a request to complete a feedback questionnaire, don’t mention it until you have an opportunity to send it as an email attachment a few days later.  Conversely, many mediations have “dead time”, especially towards the end of the process, when some technicality or a draft document is being prepared, and this can be a good moment to engage people productively in completing the questionnaire.

9. Provide a print of your Feedback Digest to date

This helps users understand its purpose.

10. Keep in mind the “other” values of the Feedback Digest

Namely that it is probably the best possible credible marketing of your skills, that it provides transparency and gives confidence in your skills and experience.

Click here to see a Model E-mail for collecting Feedback

If you have any further Feedback tips that you would like to share with other IMI Certified Mediators, please send them to us via the IMI Contact Page so they can be included here.  Thank you!