Monday, April 4, 2011

How Do You Know What Your Clients Really Think of You?

Knowing what customers want and need has become the basic building block of every industry group and business, but it’s astonishing how many firms never think to ask what their clients really want, or even how they’re doing. Is it because you’re oblivious? You don’t care? You don’t really want to know? Of course not, but NOT asking your clients can be dangerous and might just lose you a client or future project. There is no more valuable action that you can take than to ask your clients about your performance. Oh, the things you’ll learn!

While client perception surveys are inevitably commissioned under the auspices of marketing, they are extraordinarily useful in acquiring a body of knowledge that can be incorporated into all areas of your practice.

Clients welcome the chance to talk (and sometimes vent) about their consultant’s behavior and performance. Be prepared to learn about all areas of your practice. You’ll get comments on personalities and individual relationships, and on seemingly arcane matters such as how your billing gets done, the size of the type font you use on your letterhead, and even the kind of car the project manager drives. Clients use these surveys as the opportunity to unload the good, the bad, and the ugly. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your promotions and sales programs as well as recommendations on changes to your operations and project delivery.

If you commission a client perception survey, be prepared to respond to the feedback. The feedback is what your audience believes to be true. Accept the results for what they are telling you. What you hear is real for your clients, and they make their decisions on whom to hire based on what they believe to be true. And be prepared, you might learn things about your practice that will require changing the way you do things and even a shift in the firm’s culture.

Client perception surveys are a challenge to orchestrate, but imperative to conduct. If you are looking for a client perception survey that will save you time and money, we can help.

PSMJ, in partnership with DesignFacilitator, has developed a cost-effective survey program to measure client perception and satisfaction that yield rich, highly useful information for the success of your firm. In conjunction with this survey program, we introduced the PSMJ Premier Award for Client Satisfaction, the A/E/C industry's first client-focused accolade, honors firms that consistently provide their clients with top quality communications, impressive performance, and cost-effective solutions.

By entering this award program, you will get independent, confidential feedback from up to 40of your most important clients. Additionally, if you win, you will have the winning advantage of marketing your firm as award-winning in client satisfaction. And at only $595, it is a great opportunity to jump-start a client feedback initiative and prove the importance this information has for your firm. Click here to enter or email Kristen Norweg at knorweg@psmj for more details.

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