Practice director Rachel Bell on how the firm used a customer experience consultant to help it engage more effectively with its clients
Stride Treglown has collected feedback for years, but we felt that there was an opportunity to engage more effectively with clients – including consultants, contractors and building users – to improve how we work and the places we create.
We considered different approaches taken by businesses we know. One operated an in-house team while another used a third party, which we felt elicited more open discussion and honesty. A law firm referred us to Insight 6, a customer experience consultant, which helped us to develop our Engage programme. Eighteen months on from our initial pilot, it is part of everyday life, embedded in the workflow of all projects.
Our customer experience consultant conducts detailed surveys on select projects, including those that are challenging. We want the negative feedback – and have had some
Client listening takes several forms. We send out short questionnaires and schedule check-in calls at key moments, such as six weeks after appointment. One aim is to identify small aggravations early so they don’t get worse. Insight 6 conducts more detailed surveys on select projects, including those that are challenging. We want the negative feedback – and have had some – though most is positive. It’s revealed useful things we can quickly address, such as pressures within certain teams or inconsistencies between them. A ‘secret shopper’ exercise investigated whether clients receive a friendly, consistent welcome.
Playing this back internally is so important. Insight 6 helps us run studio reviews and CPDs on the importance of the client relationship and ways of reaching out – including how to have difficult conversations. This helps to embed the ideas in the culture of the business. We are 350 people across nine studios but all practices could learn from looking at the customer focus found in other sectors, from professional services to retail.