Client Feedback Tool
  • Why We Love White Boards and David Stone

    Posted on April 11th, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments

    David Stone’s recent blog post “Slam dunk on a white board” really spoke to us.
    But then again, he had us at “white boards.”

    In this post he recalls helping a client prepare for an interview for a major design project. The firm he was helping had imagined a typical presentation that includes the history of the company, shows similar projects, team experience and a commitment to excellence.

    But David got the group to slow down and really think. The proposed presentation was just like anyone else’s. So, they role played as if they were the client, coming up details about what the potential client was really worried about. Once they got going on this, they realized it all boiled down to their ability to complete the project on time.

    They used the next several hours to fill the two whiteboards in the room with details on exactly HOW they could get the project done for the client, not only on time, but early! Instead of preparing a formal presentation, they would show the client how they were going to make this project happen. This is our kind of problem solving too, getting down to the core of the issue, and coming up with a plan to solve it. (And filling up whiteboards with great stuff.) The designers were able to really understand the client’s issue and see things from the client’s perspective.

    Needless to say, they blew the competition out of the water. Won the job and then some. Because they understood what mattered to the client.

    Please take a moment to read the full story on David’s website:

  • No, really, please give me some feedback

    Posted on April 4th, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments

    In my day to day job, we are constantly talking about the importance of feedback. And I really do believe in it. But I didn’t realize how much until now.

    I’m taking some online classes, and in one of those classes, the professor is taking up to 5 weeks to return grades. For one assignment, a simple discussion board post, the professor took 26% off. One of the worst grades I’ve gotten! For weeks, I’ve been begging for some detail as to why she took those points off. Soon, another discussion post will be due, and I won’t have the information I need to improve my post. I need know where I did not meet the criteria for the assignment, in order to improve for next time.

    Likewise, in a professional services firm, improvement of your process requires a better understanding of the details of an exchange. You need more information than just “the client didn’t like it” (read: points taken off). Details about client expectations and project results offer the ability to improve your process for the better.

    In my case, I’ve already paid for this class, and the semester will be over in 5 weeks. This particular professor has very little motivation to provide me with the feedback I’m asking – no – begging for. Her detailed feedback is very valuable to me. It’s just as valuable in the case of professional service firms. You need more than just a thumbs up or thumbs down; you need real data.

    Your project will likely go on longer than my short school semester, and you want to make sure you get more work, and get paid for it.  So, be sure you are asking your clients for specific feedback. Be sure you are listening to it. And use it to improve your process and the project.