A common mistake made by those in small practices is thinking about the client to begin with, but then shifting focus to the project once it begins. This change in focus often results in neglecting the client’s wants and needs. In order for the project to run smoothly, it is fundamental that there is a healthy balance between focusing on the client and the project itself.
Every client is unique, and therefore, every client often has different fears lurking in the shadows. What one client might be deeply concerned about may not even be on other clients’ radars. There is one simple way to solve this: Ask a lot of thoughtful questions, as early on in the project as possible. This reveals to clients that you appreciate their thoughts about the project, and that you will be focused on creating a project that minimises their discomfort and is more likely to achieve their goals.
Satisfied clients overlook reasons to sue, pay their invoices promptly, pass on a good word to their friends, and return when they need another project. It is evident that client centricity is a significant growth opportunity, and thus, clients should be situated at the heart of everything the organisation does.
To read more about client relationship management (CRM), go to Chapter 7 of Managing Quality in Architecture, 2ndEdition. My new book can be purchased from any good online bookstore. Book Depository offers a good discount as well as free shipping worldwide.
To find out more about CRM, visit https://psmj.com.au/clients/managing-client-relationships/.
Head to https://www.designnode.net/knowledge-to-forge-your-future/#client to browse multiple articles on CRM, including ‘CRM: Changing Fast!’, ‘What do Clients Value?’ and ‘Client Relationship Management 101’.
To read the article ‘10-Step CRM Implementation Plan for Design Professionals’, go to https://buildingtech.com/bt-toolkit/.
Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA, AECPM
1 August 2018