working with client feedback

Working with client feedback – the practical checklist for UK architects

Client feedback is something you have to master working with as an architect. We’ve seen so many architectural businesses underperform just because they were not using client feedback properly.

For UK architects, client feedback is crucial for several reasons that are beyond the obvious ones like client satisfaction and word-of-mouth marketing. 

Here’s why you need to treat client feedback seriously – 

It’s a part of the CPD

Treat feedback collection as part of Continuous Professional Development (CPD), demonstrating a commitment to learning and excellence.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for UK architects is a structured approach to learning that helps professionals maintain and enhance their skills and knowledge throughout their careers. 

The Architects registration board has a CPD scheme that requires all registered architects to engage in activities that develop their professional competence. Constructive and structured criticism is invaluable for your professional development. Proper client feedback allows you as an architect to reflect on your work and grow your expertise.

Market adaptation

Understanding client needs and preferences helps architects stay relevant and adapt to changing market trends.

We’ve mentioned this before – you need to target the right market and you need to understand their needs for your efforts to be aligned.

Regulatory compliance

In some cases, collecting feedback is part of regulatory requirements to demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement. 

Reputation management

Positive feedback can be used for marketing purposes, while addressing negative feedback promptly can prevent damage to the firm’s reputation. 

Preventing and frontrunning any potential reputational incident is even smarter – and a system of gathering and processing client feedback gives you all the tools for that.

Innovation & Quality Assurance

Feedback can inspire innovation by revealing unmet needs or new ways to approach design challenges.

Feedback helps ensure that your services meet the high standards expected in the industry. It’s a form of quality control that can highlight areas of excellence and areas needing improvement. When you are in tune with clients’ feedback you are able to calibrate your services to the existing market conditions and trends.

How to get client feedback as an architect

UK architects can ask for client feedback through various methods – and you will need to use both technical and tactical tricks for that. 

Here are some tactics based on what we’ve seen in the industry:

Post occupancy evaluations

Engage in POEs to assess the performance of buildings after they are occupied. This can provide evidence of what works well and what doesn’t, so you can have the final practice-based evaluation of your ideas.

Client satisfaction surveys

Implement client satisfaction surveys to gather feedback on the quality of service and design effectiveness. You can use client surveys not just at the end of your work with clients, but throughout all project phases.

Direct communication

It all does not have to be too complicated or technical – you just need a habit (and a system!) of constant and transparent communication.

Maintain open lines of communication with clients throughout the project starting at the first meeting and the visioning workshop.

Ask specific questions about their experience and satisfaction levels, explain what stage you’re at, and give regular updates to align their expectations – check this post for more communication tips.

We at PlanMan have implemented an advanced client communication module that specifically allows you to funnel all your interactions any way you need and gather feedback effectively.

Feedback sessions

Organize regular meetings or feedback sessions with clients to discuss the project’s progress and address any concerns. They can be on- or offline, just make sure you store all the valuable client feedback data properly.

Tools for working with client feedback

UK architects have a variety of tools at their disposal to gather client feedback effectively:

Dedicated communication models

Tools like PlanMan offer dedicated client communication modules that can streamline the feedback process and ensure that all client and stakeholder interactions are organized and easily accessible.

Client Surveys

The RIBA ‘Working with Architects’ client survey provides a structured way to collect feedback from clients on their experiences working with architects.

Customer feedback tools

There are numerous customer feedback tools available that can be tailored to the needs of architectural practices. These tools can help in organizing, analyzing, and acting on client feedback.

Keep in mind though, that standalone solutions for this may be an overkill for a small practice, and you can do most of the basic client feedback collection with PlanMan. Just start simple and do whatever you are comfortable doing at first.

Occupancy evaluation & POE guides

The BCO Guide to Post-Occupancy Evaluation offers a framework for architects to assess the performance of their buildings and gather feedback from occupants.

Project management software

The best project management software includes features for client feedback collection, allowing architects to keep all project-related information, including feedback, in one place.

Sign up for your trial today and see how well our tool is equipped for working with clients, stakeholders, contractors, and co-consultants!