I certainly respect Mary's perspective, and that of the others who have joined in with their observations.
My experience with client satisfaction and other kinds of customer research for my architecture and engineering clients confirms both Frank's and Jim's experience. Definitely have had positive reaction from most interviewees, including one who said "no one has ever called to ask my opinions or feedback before." And the client who said that regularly hired many A/E/C companies!
Like Frank, I have also found that the letter in advance, from an owner/principal,
makes for a very high participation rate, and I, too, had one interviewee contact its lawyer first. I also had one facility manager say, "I've been waiting for XYZ to call me personally -- I have a file of complaints to review with them on this latest project. Are they afraid to call me themselves? Tell them if they want to know what's going on, they have to talk to me personally."
In that case, the architecture firm was in the middle of a project with the client in question, and I had advised the firm that it would get the response it did. So -- for specific, current projects, don't use an outsider. Be in the communication flow from start to finish and get to the problems fast. For general satisfaction research, however, outside interviewers often get you the most information, if for no other reason than it is what they know best how to do, while designers know best how to design. SOME designers are excellent at doing their own customer research -- usually in smaller firms. Those who are good at it in large companies are the ones who take their clients with them when they set up their own firms!
The risks of an invitation to take on a large volume project - [image: developing business] Michael Stone has posted comments about a developer/general contractor’s offer to subs, worded like this: We are in receipt o...
58 minutes ago