Every A/E firm talks about delivering stellar client service and many deliver to that mark. Why? Well, before I can provide my opinion let’s set the definition for what constitutes stellar client service.
From my foxhole, stellar client service = responsiveness, collaboration, and establishment of crystal clear expectations. Without these three elements, you will certainly not develop stellar anything, let alone client service.
Thirty years ago, I learned what delivering stellar client service was as a bus boy, then as a waiter, in a posh restaurant. We in the A/E industry can learn a lot from the hospitality industry when it comes to client service and “delivering an experience”. From my time servicing clients on two-tops, then four-, six- and eight-tops, I learned how to gauge what our guests (i.e. clients) wanted and when. How to read body language, how to interact with the guests to establish rapport beyond a transactional relationship, and how to ensure they left with an experience, not just a meal.
In short, I learned how to turn eating into an experience. I also learned that when it’s done correctly, your fees (i.e. tips!) go up.
Delivering stellar client service in the A/E industry requires engineers to transform the technical act of engineering services from the technical stuff many clients don’t understand (or want to), into an experience. This is much like the transformation of eating dinner from a biological requirement into a memorable experience.