Client Feedback Tool
  • “Measure What Matters” Client Feedback in the AEC Industry

    Posted on December 17th, 2013 Sally Orcutt No comments

    I would like to thank LeAnn Nowak, Marketing Director at Base Builders, LLC for agreeing to be a guest blogger for Client Feedback Tool. LeAnn recently attended Mike Phillips’ presentation at the PSMJ Industry Summit 2013. In her post, LeAnn shares her thoughts on Mike’s presentation “Firm Metrics + Client Metrics = Growth” and the importance of ‘measuring what matters’.

    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.Customer-crossword-for-blog

    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.

    Thank you again LeAnn. To learn more about Client Feedback Tool’s integrated client feedback process, visit our website at

    Base Builders, LLC was born out of an electrical engineering practice and focuses solely on the AE industry. To learn more about business/project management software for small firms visit their website at

  • SMPS Build Business 2013 Recap

    Posted on August 8th, 2013 Ryan Suydam No comments
    SMPS Build Business 2013 Recap

    SMPS Build Business is always a fun event and last week’s annual gathering of marketers from the AEC industry was no exception. Hundreds of creative minds converged at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin in Orlando to share ideas, promote best practices, be inspired by some great speakers, and provide peer support to each other.

    Keynote speaker Dan Clark had a crowd of hundreds bounding between laughter and tears, as he encouraged everyone to stretch themselves and be their best right now and every moment. Dan reminded us to always carry with us our education, our character, our convictions, and our legacy.

    The annual SMPS Gala and Awards Ceremony provided a night of fun celebrating the achievements of members and affiliated companies, while also honoring key movers who moved on this year. I personally enjoyed seeing so many firms recognized for excellence in their craft.

    I had an opportunity to present a breakout session The Power of Feedback: Quality Driven Relationships to a nearly full room. The crowd was engaging and shared stories from their own experiences. Many were surprised how few professional services firms have a formal client feedback program (5%), and based on the hands raised in the room, those numbers were close to what our own group experienced.

    We left the room with a clearer understanding of the higher call we each have to not only practice our craft, but to do so in a way that is sensitive to each client’s unique needs and expectations. Creating exceptional client experiences is a key part of Dreaming Big – the overall theme of the conference.

    We also had a presence in the exhibition hall, and based on the buzz I can humbly (with pride?) say that we stole the show. One of our staffers created an amazing exhibit – the crazy big orange barrel monster pictured here.

    Towering Over the Exhibit Hall - The Responsinator

    Towering Over the Exhibit Hall – The Responsinator

    Rather than contriving a name for the beast, we had a naming contest. Of course, a conference full of professional marketers came up with a fantastic list, and choosing a winner proved difficult.

    Greg Dimech from Faithful+Gould came up with the winning name: “The Responsinator!” However, a late entry  by Jeff Kale from Ulteig would have challenged Greg. Jeff’s near-winning suggestion: “Coneman the Barrelbarian.” I knew the SMPS crowd would come up with better ideas than we ever could.

    Other entries included Highway Harry, Road Rage Randy, Conely, Ernie, Spike the Barrel, Felix Feeder, Minion!, Rodolpho (one of us loved that one), Stax, Big O’ Barrel Bob, Crunchy, Fred (a jab at Fred Redding – our Director of Business Development?), and Terrance. Have a favorite or an idea of your own? Post in the comments below.

    As always, Build Business was a great opportunity to connect with peers, network, discover new business opportunities, and have a lot of fun. For those who have never been, I hope you’ll sign up for the 2014 conference so we can meet next year in San Antonio!


  • Version 6.9 Released May 14, 2013

    Posted on May 17th, 2013 Matt No comments

    Release 6.9 of the Client Feedback Tool includes dozens of enhancements and improvements. I will summarize some of the most significant and readily apparent changes below. Many other improvements were added that fixed or modified issues ranging from a misspelling to browser display issues and will not be discussed in-depth.

    1. New reminders to follow up low scores

    Follow-up reminders are now available to remind you to follow up on any low scores you may have forgotten to address. Go to PREFERENCES> Set Preferences. Click on Alerts in the Feedback Settings tab. Check the box labeled ‘Remind of  follow-up to low scoring feedback.’ If you receive a survey response below your low-score threshold, and no follow-up is documented, a week later we will send you a reminder. Project and firm managers can also set reminders regarding follow-up to project and firm surveys, as applicable.

    2. Protect against duplicate take-survey reminders

    For your convenience, the Tool now has additional functionality to help prevent your recipients from receiving confusing multiple survey reminders. On the ‘Modify a survey sent’ screen, if you attempt to send a survey reminder to a recipient who was already scheduled to receive an automatic reminder, the Tool will tell you that an automatic reminder is scheduled. You can then choose to send both reminders, cancel the automatic one, or cancel (close) the manual one.

    Note: Typically you decide whether to send automatic reminders when you send a survey.

    3. New quick-link to Ultimate Question information

    You will find a new link on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) report (REVIEW FEEDBACK > Net Promoter Score). This link, ‘More Information about NPS,’ is just below the graph. Click the link to open a new window to our blog site and learn more about the Ultimate Question and your Net Promoter Score.

    4. Convenient links to additional data in basic reports

    On many reports, you will see more new underlined links that provide additional details regarding projects, recipients, and senders. One example: On your REVIEW FEEDBACK > Surveys sent screen, notice how the project names in the first column are underlined. If you click on a project name, a new modal opens to display additional information regarding that project, such as Question Category Average Scores in the Last 90 days and 360 days. You can also see how many survey Invitations and Replies have occurred in the Past 90/360 days.

    5. New ‘Survey’ report filter

    You can now filter your reports by Survey Template/ID in addition to the numerous other filters already offered. You can find this multiple-select basic filter on many REVIEW FEEDBACK reports, on the left side of the ribbon.

    6. DesignFacilitator is becoming the Client Feedback Tool

    DesignFacilitator’s Client Feedback Tool was originally conceived as a powerful tool for the exclusive use of design professionals – architects, engineers, interior designers, etc. However, over the years we found that many non-design service professionals— government, legal, construction— appreciate the simplicity and power of the Tool and value its reports. Consequently, we are transitioning our branding to simply the Client Feedback Tool. This transition requires no changes or action on your part. Both and take you to the site.

    7. Firm Administrators (FA): Present tense answer scale added

    Previously, the Client Feedback Tool presented survey questions only in the past tense (Met Expectations, not Meets Expectations). Many of you have requested an occasional present tense survey question. The Client Feedback Tool sliding answer scale now supports this. The survey recipient will see the present tense answer choices when he/she is taking the survey. However, your report scales will continue to display in the past tense since the overwhelming majority of questions are worded as such.

    8. Firm Administrators can edit all member preferences

    An FA can provide enhanced service to all firm members. In MY FIRM > Users/Security > (member) Edit, you can edit management permissions, on-behalf-of permissions, and modify members’ preferences. Now an FA can even edit Firm Event alerts and permissions for a Firm Manager. This can be especially useful when adding new members— because sometimes with new experiences “It’s just faster to do it than to explain it.”

    9. Improved adding/importing

    We have improved the functionality when adding/importing contact or project data. Where appropriate, you can now merge new and existing company types and update project information while you are adding/importing the data.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Project Delivery – SHAZAM!

    Posted on September 15th, 2011 No comments

    Shazam! An exclamation we’ve all heard – but most of us (myself included until today) probably don’t know the origin. In 1973 Marvel Comics created a character who, upon shouting this word, became Captain America. Shazam has many meanings, one of which is this:

     S   The wisdom of Solomon
     H   The strength of Hercules
     A   The stamina of Atlas
     Z   The power of Zeus
     A   The courage of Achilles
     M   The speed of Mercury

    Now what does Shazam! have to do with project delivery?  Well, who wouldn’t want a little Shazam! in their projects?  Wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage, and speed – what if we could purposefully and systematically introduce a little of these on every project we touched?

    Don’t go into your next project scheduling meeting and shout Shazam! while wearing a cape (though if you do, please let me know how it goes).  Instead, learn what some thought leaders in the A/E/C industry have been doing to bring about real, meaningful, and valuable change to entrenched project delivery methods – with results that have Shazam! impacts for everyone involved.

    In 2003 DesignFacilitator grew out of a small A/I firm looking for ways to do things better.  We developed a body of knowledge using client feedback to help project delivery firms continuously improve.  As we encountered more and more organizations who were looking for ways to do things better, with better results, and with better value for both clients and themselves, we began to find other thought leaders doing different, but equally amazing things.

    One group leading the charge with a big dose of Shazam! is the Lean Construction Institute.  Don’t let the name fool you – they spend as much focus on the design and engineering processes as they do construction.   The lean movement takes the many lessons learned in manufacturing (as pioneered by Toyota) and other industries, and applies them to every day projects.  This amazingly innovative and yet necessarily practical group of people continue to discuss, promote, and operate design and construction processes that cut costs and schedule by huge margins, while increasing product quality and consistency.  And they do all this with a keen focus on maximizing value to the clients.

    For the last year, DesignFacilitator has sponsored LCI and been actively involved in both their national Congress and many regional events.  If you are not yet aware of Lean Construction, or the ideas behind Continuous Improvement – I invite you to join us October 3-7th in Pasadena, CA at the 2011 LCI National Congress.   An introductory day outlines the key concepts of Lean, followed by two days of real-world case studies from architects, engineers,  contractors, and owners; followed by a fourth day of specialized break-out sessions.

    DesignFacilitator and LCI co-sponsor Newforma will be hosting a 3-hour breakout session on Friday, October 7th to discuss real-world software tools that are helping firms around the world bring a little Shazam! to their projects.  You’ll hear from actual users and be able to participate in brainstorming sessions to help define a “state of the industry” approach for innovative project delivery.  We will demonstrate our Client Feedback Tool and how the process of Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) helps everyone in your organization constantly adjust to meet client expectations.  Newforma will demonstrate their Project Center and highlight the value opportunities found in Project Information Management (PIM).

    If you are able to join us, please register here – admission is free to Congress attendees (register separately for the Congress here).

    Those who can’t make the trip can’t afford to miss this required reading, and learn how a little Shazam! can change your project delivery for the better.

  • Version 4.2 Released – New Features

    Posted on August 4th, 2011 No comments

    We are pleased to announce the Client Feedback Tool has been upgraded to version 4.2.  

    New features include:

    • Simplified administration of security, users, groups, and permissions – especially for large organizations
    • The term “Teams” has been replaced by the more accurate term “Project Groups.”  The functionality of these organizational units remains the same.
    • Expanded support for foreign language surveys.  We now support all international character sets for all customizable parts of the invitation and survey taking process.
    • Simpler registration process for new users

    Stay tuned for more.  We have an exciting list of great new features coming in Q4, 2012!

  • 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 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: 

  • Version 4.0 is here! New Features.

    Posted on April 25th, 2011 No 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.