“Measure What Matters”: Client Feedback in the AEC Industry

I’ve just returned from the PSMJ A/E/C Industry Summit – it was an education filled two days with sessions covering all aspects of business management in the industry.   One of my favorite sessions was regarding measuring client satisfaction led by Mike Phillips, AIA, IIDA the President and Founder of Phillips Architecture and the Client Feedback Tool.

For the past 20 years I’ve been speaking (and preaching) about measuring metrics – it goes hand in hand with marketing and selling business management software.  It is important for me to relay the message that AEC firms need to know their metrics if they are going to be wildly successful.

Mike fully agreed with measuring metrics but he put a different spin on it.  He talked about measuring what really matters. Your client feedback.   Why are you in business after all?

If you are aware of your client expectations and perceptions and realize that they will change then you can improve your value to your clients.   The number one reason that you want to obtain client feedback is to make your client experience better but it can also help you to improve the way you run your overall business and can have a big impact on your staffing and employee relationships.

Think about it in terms of what is important to your employees – one of the number one reasons that a person leaves a firm is that they feel they are not recognized for their performance. If you are measuring their performance in terms of client satisfaction you will be able to provide them with the recognition they deserve and therefore can improve your retention.  And, the feedback can help you identify future leaders as well.

Be sure to measure your helpfulness, your responsiveness, the quality, budget, schedule and accuracy of your project deliverables.  Be sure to measure real-time at the project start and through each phase as well as at close out.  Include your employees in the process of gathering the feedback  — you might think that the hardest part of this is gaining your employee buy in but remember this quote from Mike: “Whatever is measured matters. Staff pays attention to what matters.”   If you are using the information you collect then you will prove the value of the information and your team will want to participate.

While I still fully believe you need to measure the financial indicators in your business – I have also added a new talking point to my “war chest”, let’s all measure client feedback and improve the value we offer.

You can learn more at www.clientfeedbacktool.com and more about business/project management software for small firms at www.basebuilders.com.