Posted on June 23rd, 2011 View Comments
Join us as we follow Koontz-Bryant, P.C. as they begin using client feedback to improve their business, culture, and overall prosperity. In the second installment, Martha Shotwell, Controller, describes developing their feedback plan, training their staff and how they got started collecting client feedback. Read Part 1.
When Koontz-Bryant, P.C. decided to embark upon a program to collect regular client feedback, we had some questions about getting started. We knew that with the Client Feedback Tool we could jump in with already-written surveys, and that compilation of results was part of the program. But how would we get buy-in from staff? What was the best way to train? How would we introduce the surveys to our clients? As Mary Poppins tells her young charges, “Well begun is half done.” We felt that our success with the feedback program depended on a good roll-out.
One of the things we liked about the Client Feedback Tool was the implementation assistance that came along with it. As a starting point, DesignFacilitator presented an outline of implementation steps that included consultation, software setup, training, and review. A pre-consultation questionnaire got us thinking about details such as our goals for feedback collection; who would be in charge of implementation; who would request feedback, and how often; who would review results and how results would be used. With Ryan, our DesignFacilitator consultant, we scheduled some webinar meeting dates and got to work.
Two of us at Koontz-Bryant were charged with implementation. Our Controller would be the Firm Administrator and responsible for setup, and our COO would determine when surveys should go out, encourage staff participation, and assure appropriate follow-up. In our initial online consultation, Ryan talked with us about our company and staff structure, and our thoughts based on the pre-consultation questions. He helped us think through the feedback work flow, and shared some examples of what had worked with other firms. Ryan gave us a bit of homework and challenged us to come up with an assignment for the staff who would be using the Client Feedback Tool.
A week later, the real fun began. Our account went live and through an online meeting Ryan stepped us through the setup. He had already inserted our logo, and we selected colors for our firm branding settings. He showed us how to set up firm members and teams. Preference settings allowed us to determine default settings for notifications (what range of low/high scores should trigger an email alert?) and message defaults (messages sent to clients with the surveys). We learned how to use filters to narrow down the 96 pre-defined survey templates, and how to set up clients and projects. Over the next week, we completed setup of firm members and deactivated some of the survey templates.
Our next step was to train the staff. We scheduled a two-hour lunch and learn webinar for all office personnel. Koontz-Bryant management had been impressed with DesignFacilitator’s “Power of Feedback” presentation, so we asked Ryan to present a fair amount of that background material. He then walked staff through the program, guiding them through the steps of requesting feedback, reviewing results, and managing their personal preferences. An open discussion at the end allowed staff to ask questions. At the end of the session, we asked staff to send a survey to someone – client or internal. A few of the staff jumped right in and sent surveys to their coworkers, and a couple of people sent them to clients. However, some employees did not respond.
A few days after the training, we sent a survey to everyone who attended the lunch and learn, using a training template that was already pre-established in the Client Feedback Tool. Everyone had an opportunity to see the process from the client’s perspective. More important, we gathered valuable feedback about our training process. We learned that overall our training met or exceeded expectations, the food was great, and our consultant got high marks for responsiveness and quality of presentation. We also learned that:
- the staff was less interested in the “why” of collecting feedback than in the “how”;
- two hours was a bit too long, even though the first half-hour was lunch; by the time we got to the “how” people were mentally tired;
- most people could not see the details of the software projected on the screen.
For anyone going through the process, our recommendation is to focus more on the “how”, and to find a way to set people up at multiple computers so they can see the screens.
The Client Feedback Tool has a section for tracking followup. We followed up with each person who rated an area low, and recorded this activity in the software.
A few weeks after the training meeting, our president, Greg, met with project managers to establish specific points in a project’s life cycle at which a survey should be sent. To increase our momentum, he also sent initial surveys to a batch of top clients. Results are starting to come in.
In our next update, we look forward to sharing results with you.
Posted on May 26th, 2011 View Comments
DesignFacilitator’s Client Feedback Tool is one of two Sustaining Sponsors of the Lean Construction Institute (LCI), the premier worldwide organization for firms practicing or interested in implementing continuous improvement strategies.
We hope you can join us at LCI’s national event, the Lean Design Forum, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; June 9-10.
Here’s more from LCI Executive Director Dick Bayer:
Join us for 2 days of in-depth dialogue on Lean design and construction philosophy and methodologies. Hear from national leaders in design and construction who have been implementing lean thinking and integrated project delivery methods specifically related to design and the participation of designers throughout the life of a project. Meeting format will include both presentations, workshops and question + answer periods.
Presentations will include: Todd Henderson from Boulder Associates to reprise Romano Nickerson’s presentation to the Nor-Cal COP on integrating lean into a design practice; Stacey Root, also from Boulder Associates reprising her presentation in Cincinnati last year on the team approach they took on the Van Ness California Medical Office Building; Kevin Kerschbaum of HGA discussing contemporaneous modeling of post-op and emergency care for Affinity in Wisconsin.
We’ll be discussing the role of Lean principles in Design in the workshop on Friday. The purpose is to begin a robust conversation in the community about design. However, we need to tap into our resources on this subject from around the country so we won’t be developing a specific, adoptable document that defines or tries to define the role of lean principles in design. Structural engineers, mechanical system designers, architects, city planners – all are important to a great diversity of ideas on how the creative process we call design is informed by lean principles.
Registration details are at: http://lci-p2sl-design-06-2011.eventbrite.com
Posted on April 27th, 2011 View Comments
Since many A/E/C firms depend upon Deltek Vision to manage their projects and financial information, the video below demonstrates very briefly how you can leverage your existing project management processes to automatically solicit client feedback.
Posted on April 25th, 2011 View Comments
Client Feedback Tool 4.0 offers the ability to schedule surveys for later delivery. The scheduling tool is simple to use, but offers many options to enhance flexibility. Here, we will detail some of the ways you can leverage scheduling to your benefit.
First, a few notes on why you might schedule a survey. Surveys have a 20% higher response rate when sent mid-week in the mornings. As such, you may want to schedule surveys for a Tuesday – Thursday. Our scheduler automatically delivers surveys around 9am eastern time (-0500 GMT). You may also desire to set up a series of surveys when planning your project phases. Firms that choose to deploy surveys automatically (via integration with Deltek Vision or some other third party project management tool) may desire the human review step, and scheduling provides this as well.
When scheduling surveys, you may specify the following:
- Delivery Date – this is the date on which the survey will be sent, about 9am Eastern Time.
- Reminder Date – this is a reminder to the sender that the survey is about to be sent. If you have scheduled the survey to be sent on behalf of someone else, that person will receive the reminder. A reminder provides a link back to the Client Feedback Tool to review and/or modify a survey before it is sent. You can enable or disable reminders.
- Send Notifications – this notifies the sender when the survey has been sent. You can use this in addition to or as an alternative to the pre-survey reminder.
- Survey Disposition – what happens on the scheduled date? By default, the survey will send on the scheduled send date. However, if you prefer the survey to expire unsent when the date arrives, you can set it to do so. You can use this as an approval step when sending on behalf of someone else.
Putting this altogether, consider a possible use case:
You schedule a survey to be sent on behalf of a project manager. You want that project manager to verify the information before the survey is sent, and don’t want the survey to be delivered unless he does. Schedule the survey to be sent in 7 days, and remind the project manager 6 days in advance. Tomorrow, the PM will receive an email inviting him to review the survey. The PM can then click the email link, review and edit the survey, then send it on. If he disapproves of the survey he may delete it, and if he takes no action the survey will expire automatically.
The survey queue manager provides a list of all scheduled surveys you have access to manage, so you can quickly see a list of pending surveys, send or cancel groups of them, and otherwise manage your scheduled events.
Posted on April 25th, 2011 View Comments
DesignFacilitator is pleased to announce the release of Client Feedback Tool version 4! The new features are available to all users immediately. Aside from numerous bug fixes and other enhancements, you will find some very helpful new features:
- Schedule surveys for future delivery
- Survey queue manager (to manage scheduled surveys)
- Save a survey as draft before sending
- Enhanced Enterprise Integration Kit (EIK)
- Deltek Vision workflow integration
- New and improved alerts
- Added support for Project Manager alerts/notifications
- Enhanced Quadrants Report
- Enhanced importing / exporting
In the coming week, we will post additional details about some of these new features to describe them more completely. Please check in soon.
Posted on February 24th, 2011 View Comments
Getting rave reviews from your clients feels great! We all enjoy positive feedback, particularly from those you work with closely. However, when designing a feedback process to stay in tune with your clients, too many organizations make the mistake of seeking high scores, rather than actionable information.
If 90% of your feedback comes with top ratings, you may have some great marketing statistics. But, you really haven’t collected data that lets you improve. If almost all your scores are at the top of the scale, you have no way to differentiate which clients are most loyal, and place the highest value on your services. You have no means to capture when something worked especially well, compared to your typical (and still effective) process.
With our Client Feedback Tool, we invested years of research into our patent-pending answering system, based on a self-centering “Met Expectations” sliding scale. While our system provides the same percentage of “low” scores (~4%), only 16% of results fall in the top score category. It’s this downward shift that gives you 400% more information with which to make decisions and improvements. In the cases where you receive “Exceptional” feedback, you can now identify clients that valued your services much more than normal. You can begin to see trends about what sets these situations apart. Once you identify the contributors to these high scores, you can work them into your “typical” processes, enhancing value for all clients.
Suddenly, your high scores give you an opportunity to improve, just as much as your low scores do.
90% thumbs up feels good, but dramatically reduces the useful information you have.
To learn more about our answer scale and how it works, contact us to schedule a demonstration.
Posted on February 4th, 2011 View Comments
We interviewed Cara Phillips of Phillips Architecture about her use of the Client Feedback Tool. Cara is Principal and COO, and has been using the Feedback Tool for four years.
Posted on November 8th, 2010 View Comments
DesignFacilitator is pleased to announce a new release with several new features and enhancements, available to all subscribers immediately.
- Enterprise Integration Kit – Use a third party software to initiate a survey.
- Reply to a respondent and log as follow-up – Now, when reviewing a survey response, you can reply directly to the respondent, and store the reply as part of your “follow-up” to the feedback.
- Collect feedback via phone, other methods – Once you specify the required inputs to send a survey, you may select the “Send and Reply” button. You will immediately be shown the survey, and can log the responses on behalf of the respondent. You can, at this point, call and collect the feedback; or if you have already gotten the feedback via a printed survey, you may log the responses. The feedback collected will be noted as being self-entered.
- Tagging – When sending a survey, create/assign one or more “tags” to the survey. This will allow you to categorize every survey with a parameter you can then report on. This allows for virtually unlimited reporting flexibility.
- Import Teams, Companies – You may now import lists of teams and/or companies when setting up your firm.
- 40 other minor enhancements and fixes
Posted on August 19th, 2010 View Comments
How do you measure the results collecting feedback has on your business? Anecdotally, we have heard from many of our Feedback Tool clients that certain situations were brought to light -avoiding problems before they became big. Client’s seem happier. Profits have improved. Those are all great success stories, and we love hearing them.
But we wanted to dig deeper, and let the actual clients surveyed tell the story, from their perspective.
We analyzed all the feedback collected in the last two years. 24% of all replies included a score below “Met Expectations.” We then selected just the cases where someone who gave a low score at least once later responded to another survey from the same person.
We found 1,121 vendor-client relationships that had feedback collected a second time after a low score was given.
In these relationships, the occurrence of scores below “Met Expectations” went DOWN by over 83%. In essence, those who collected feedback and got a low score were able to adjust and demonstrably improve their service to those clients.
Would you like to eliminate 83% of your client problems?
In addition to an overall lower rate of low scores, the overall average scores went up noticeably as well. If we draw a line for all feedback collected before the low score occurred, and compare it to all feedback collected after, we see the ratings move from just barely meeting expectations to consistently exceeding expectations.
When you can exceed your client’s expectations, you will keep them around – building loyalty and maximizing the value of your relationship.
If you aren’t already asking, don’t assume your clients are telling you everything. When you ask for feedback, you will discover opportunities to improve. Even better, once you discover a problem, the data shows you can fix it.
If you want to find out how we can help you find these opportunities quickly, contact us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-4-DES-FAC
Posted on July 19th, 2010 View Comments
DesignFacilitator is pleased to announce a new release of our industry leading Client Feedback Tool, including the following new features:
- Surveys may now include question categories other than the standard eight categories
- Managers may create customized email invitations for each survey template
- Surveys Templates are now easier to identify and select
- Options to help increase reporting data consistency
- Expanded capability when uploading external project and contact data
- Added additional security features
- Plus over 85 other enhancements, updates, and fixes