Client Feedback Tool
  • Win-Win Outcomes – A&E Business Journal

    Posted on July 31st, 2012 Ryan Suydam No comments

    Read Mike Phillips’ article “Managing Your Clients For Win-Win Outcomes” in the A&E Business Journal: AE Business 2012.

    For a free copy of the entire journal, call 405-848-1111 or email aemanagement@sbcglobal.net.

  • Marketing with Client Feedback: Transpo Group’s Winning Methods

    Posted on April 13th, 2012 Matt 1 comment


    Headquartered in Kirkland, WA with offices around the western US as well as the Middle East, Transpo Group has been providing transportation planning and engineering solutions since 1975. A firm grounded in service to both their clients and their community, they strive to treat others as they would like to be treated, and to exceed client expectations.

    Committed to service and collaboration, they were excited to partner with DesignFacilitator and use the Client Feedback Tool to learn more about the quality of their client services. By using a tool that systematically collects data on a numerical scale that can be merged and tracked over time, Transpo Group has the opportunity to see both a snapshot view of their client feedback and long term trends.

    Asking for feedback regularly gives Transpo Group the data they need to determine what practices or ideas lead to client satisfaction, and also identify areas where their process may need adjustment. Because the feedback surveys are tied to specific projects, they can pinpoint exactly where more attention is needed, and give their client a chance to offer positive feedback or voice any concerns that were not addressed in previous conversations. It offers clients an easy and comfortable way to offer their suggestions and their positive comments and praise.

    Transpo Group is using the overwhelmingly positive results of their feedback in a creative way. They periodically summarize their consistently great results, and place them into a chart posted directly onto their website. Additionally, testimonials and rave comments collected via the feedback process are displayed in rotation on the page’s side-bar. Now, when clients visit the firm’s website, they can view evidence that the firm is truly dedicated client service and strong relationships. (See adjacent image.)

    Learn more about how to incorporate client feedback into your marketing efforts by exploring our blog. Find tips on how to get your firm into the Top 3%  by both collecting and taking action on your feedback,  read Koontz Bryant’s Client Feedback Journal describing how they started using feedback to improve their business, or learn Who should be asking for feedback and why its important to do it in a way that gives your firm honest, valuable information.

  • Version 5.0 and 5.1 Release Notes and New Features

    Posted on January 20th, 2012 No comments

    Version 5.0 and 5.1 provide the following new features and enhancements.  As always, contact our support team for training or questions on any these.

    Major performance enhancements:

    • Most report load times improved by 50%
    • Large report load times reduced by 90%

    Enhanced Alert Management:

    • Redesigned page for easier access
    • Ability to disable ALL notifications
    • New administrative tools to set firm standards
    • Admins can force specified alert preferences
    • Admins can modify any user’s preferences

    All New User Management:

    • Admins have much more control over users, permissions, alerts, and settings
    • Streamlined administrative tasks

    Added unofficial support for Apple iPad devices:

    • Survey sending refinements
    • Basic Report support
  • Koontz-Bryant, PC – Client Feedback Journal, Part 4

    Posted on October 26th, 2011 Matt No comments

    Join us as we follow Koontz-Bryant, P.C. as they use client feedback to improve their business, culture, and overall prosperity.  In the fourth installment, Martha Shotwell, Controller, describes the varied ways in which they use the feedback they collect and the benefits of an on-site consultation from DesignFacilitator staff.  Read previous entries here: Journal Entry 1, Journal Entry 2, Journal Entry 3.

    KB Logo Koontz Bryant, PC   Client Feedback Journal, Part 1

    Part 4

    When we implemented the Client Feedback Tool, we had certain expectations about how we would use the survey data.  We expected to stimulate dialogue with our clients; to identify opportunities for improvement; and to collect information about group and staff performance.  We found the program to be effective in these areas.  With an onsite visit from DesignFacilitator consultants, we were challenged to do even more with the data.

    As we reported last time, we kicked off our program with general satisfaction surveys to faithful clients, initiated by our company president.  Many of the respondents singled out individual employees for praise.  The surveys gave us an additional opportunity for a client “touch” – to thank the client for responding, to show gratitude for their kind words, to reinforce in the clients’ minds how happy they were with us – and to ask for referrals.  When we moved on to project-specific surveys initiated by project managers, the feedback became more specific.  Through this tool we discovered that a client needed to see invoice information a different way.  Another client rated us as merely “acceptable” on “scope and fees.”  This presented an opportunity for a frank discussion with the client about pricing.  Turns out she had beat us up over price and had gotten a reduced fee – which allowed no room for the extra attention to which she was accustomed.  We have had numerous occasions to chat with clients as a result of feedback.

    After we were up and running for a few months, Ryan and David from DesignFacilitator came to our office for an onsite consultation.  We were doing a good job responding to individual survey data.  However, they observed that we were not harnessing the power of the reports.  Armed with reports consolidating our company data, they demonstrated that we have a great story to tell.  Using Advanced Reporting Tools, they had produced a pie chart showing our results by performance category.  Fully 77% of the responses showed that we had exceeded expectations or better.  Our consultants recommended that we find a way to make this a part of our company narrative.  They showed us statistical reports showing averages by question category.  We also spent some time analyzing the bar graph report, to isolate particular groups who had unusual aggregate responses.  Seeing that one group, for example, always scored “exceptional” in the “scope and fees” category, for example, might be indicative that this department has set its fees too low.  We have continued to explore the advanced reporting options available to us.  For example, we have made good use of the “Tags” feature.  We can limit reports based on project type or company type, but at times a broader criterion is warranted.  As Firm Administrator, I have created a few tags on which I can filter my reports.

    To use the survey results to tell our story, we enlisted our new Marketing Director and social media guru.  Alyah wrote a news piece for our website.  Using data from the reports, she created a bar chart to illustrate our results.  She sent a “Survey says” Tweet with a link to the story, and promoted it on Facebook.  After getting clients’ permission to publish their responses, Alyah plans to include client comments on our web page.  We have also begun modifying our printed marketing materials and presentation outlines to incorporate client care as a differentiator.

    Our DesignFacilitator consultants had also advised that we promote our survey results within our company.  We have posted summaries on the company intranet, and we encourage all staff to use our great feedback to promote Koontz-Bryant.  On a large whiteboard in the breakroom, we periodically post a “Client Feedback Quote of the Day” culled from the comments.  Praise for employees by name becomes public in a low-tech, high-touch way.  This has generated some great whiteboard kudos and prompted some great conversations.

    When Ryan and David visited with us, they helped us use the Client Feedback Tool in a fuller technical capacity.  More important than that, however, they gave us some sound business and marketing advice.  In a business where the things we do can be perceived as commodities, they have helped us to position ourselves as client caretakers.

  • Feedback Action: Be in the Top 3%

    Posted on September 29th, 2011 No comments
    Feedback Action: Be in the Top 3%

    Our research shows fewer than 15% of firms collect feedback regularly.  Forrester researchers indicate fewer than 20% of firms take any action on the feedback they collect.  These indicators suggest only 3% of firms have an effective process to both collect feedback and turn that feedback into action.

    And yet, without action, collecting feedback is really a futile and useless activity.  Turning feedback into action requires a framework and a process to support an effective, simple, feedback collection/response mechanism.

    Our Client Feedback Tool captures and automates the entire feedback process, and is customized for professional services organizations.  The latest release (v4.3) includes new, extended capabilities to confirm your feedback reactions were effective.

    Feedback begins with the questions.  We’ve designed each to be focused, specific, and concise in order to collect clear metrics.  Survey designs must then collect an appropriate number of questions in a relevant manner, so that you only ask the right questions when needed – minimizing wasteful efforts.  Your clients don’t have time to waste, so answering questions that provide them no tangible benefit ultimately discourages their participation.

    When someone responds to a feedback request, action can only happen if someone is alerted to the results.  Particularly for professional services firms, feedback works best in real-time.  Immediately after someone responds, our feedback process alerts everyone who needs the alert, based on what kind of scores were provided.  Don’t limit feedback to just the president or someone in marketing – action happens best when the people doing the work get the feedback.

    Which brings us to the action.  The people taking care of the client – those actually doing the work – must know what the feedback is before they can take any action on it.  The Client Feedback Tool’s real-time alerts link your firm’s team members to the feedback they are responsible for.  Upon reviewing the results, each person can document, within the tool, what their follow-up actions have been or should be.  They may even respond to the client directly from the tool, tracking that response as part of the feedback record.   By responding to the client (in any manner) and logging the response (using the tool), we have demonstrated an 83% reduction in further client-identified problems.

    Now, in the latest version of the Client Feedback Tool, you can take this process one step further, completing the feedback cycle.  Beneath each feedback response you can click one button which initiates another follow-up survey in the future.  By linking these two surveys, you can track your progress and confirm that the actions taken to respond to a client have indeed been successful at better meeting client expectations.

    Demonstrating this simple, systematic feedback process to existing and prospective clients is a great differentiator in the marketplace, and builds trust that you listen, respond, and confirm your processes are the best they can be for each client.

  • 2011 Best Firms to Work for Summit

    Posted on September 28th, 2011 Matt No comments

    The 2011 Best Firms to Work for Summit, presented by ZweigWhite, will be held September 29-30 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.  This two-day conference will cover topics such as globalization, intergenerational dynamics, motivating and inspiring commitment, recruiting and retaining great teams, diversification strategies, and staffing and cash flow.    

    If you’re attending this event, please join Mike Phillips, Founder of DesignFacilitator, for his Thursday, September 29 2:00pm presentation: Using Strategic Feedback to Enhance Staff Performance and Retention.

    For more information on the event visit http://www.zweigwhite.com/events/BestFirmsToWorkFor/index.asp.

  • Koontz-Bryant, PC – Client Feedback Journal, Part 3

    Posted on August 5th, 2011 Matt No 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 third installment, Martha Shotwell, Controller, describes the process of sending their first surveys, getting staff buy-in and how they put their first feedback responses to work.  Read Journal Entry 1 and Journal Entry 2.

    KB Logo Koontz Bryant, PC   Client Feedback Journal, Part 1

    Part 3

    At our last report to you, Koontz-Bryant had gone through the system setup with our implementation consultant, and we had conducted a Lunch and Learn training session with staff. We were just beginning to send surveys to clients, but did not yet have results to share.

    To jump-start our efforts with the Client Feedback Tool, Koontz-Bryant’s president, Greg Koontz, sent general satisfaction surveys to several dozen clients. These surveys were not tied to particular projects, but instead were designed to gauge clients’ overall impression of our company. To speed the process along, Greg used the Client Feedback Tool’s import feature to bring in contact and company information from Outlook. We were pleased with the results. His response rate was 42%, and feedback was very positive. 

    Of particular interest were the free-form comments people made. Where they mentioned a particular employee by name, we were quick to pass those compliments along. This gave us an opportunity to express appreciation to the employee, and to reinforce the idea that the surveys were a good thing. One of the comments related to the survey itself. Our client said, “I appreciate your use of the scale. It is a device I have not previously seen.” 

    One of the survey recipients was an institutional client for whom we have done many projects. Though we knew our relationship was a good one, this client gave us the highest mark on every measure, and added, “I will take a consultant like Koontz-Bryant any day and twice on Sundays.” This high praise spurred us to build a marketing piece about this institution and our work together, and we included a glowing client testimonial. 

    Getting individual project managers to send their surveys still seemed slow. As the “Firm Administrator,” I met with the practice leaders to identity barriers to cooperation. There seemed to be a bit of “decision paralysis” when it came to selecting the survey to use.  The Client Feedback Tool has 96 survey templates, and we had inactivated about two thirds of them. However, there were still too many to choose from.  We agreed that I would identify a few survey templates for general use. 

    Most of our project managers have begun to send surveys. However, we were stumped as to how to overcome the problem of a few people not getting on board. We talked with Mike Phillips at Design Facilitator about this. His emphatic advice was to go ahead and send surveys on their behalf.  Regardless of whether the PMs “should” do these themselves, he reasoned, the important thing is to get the feedback, and not create a lot of organizational stress about it. When I offered to send surveys on behalf of a particular group leader, he was enthusiastic. We sat down with a billing register and he chose a batch of clients to survey. If PM participation lags, this is a technique we will use with other groups.

    Though some of internal company surveys have shown us where we had opportunity for improvement, all of our client responses have been 4 (meets expectation) and above.  At first blush this looks like wonderful news, but we do have some concern that we have “cherry-picked” the recipients.  A low score, properly addressed, can be an opportunity to forge a strong bond with a client. As our PMs become more comfortable with the process, we will encourage them to send surveys encompassing the most difficult relationships, as well.

    In our next update, we’ll share our experience with an onsite consultation visit by the DesignFacilitator staff.

  • Koontz-Bryant, PC – Client Feedback Journal, Part 2

    Posted on June 23rd, 2011 Matt No 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.

    KB Logo Koontz Bryant, PC   Client Feedback Journal, Part 1

    Part 2

    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.

  • Version 4.1 Released!

    Posted on June 13th, 2011 No comments

    We are pleased to announce Client Feedback Tool Version 4.1 has just been released.  As the first release following a major version, we have focused on performance and refinement across the board.

    • Reporting is 50% – 500% faster
    • Schedule recurring surveys (monthly, quarterly, yearly)
    • 33 customer-requested enhancements added
    • Team creation / management redesigned to be easier
    • 17 known defects repaired

    We are eager to hear how well the performance enhancements work for you in real-world usage.  Please send your comments and feedback to support@designfacilitator.com and let us know!

  • The Client Feedback Tool and the Lean Construction Institute

    Posted on May 26th, 2011 Matt No 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