What clients think about architects

You likely know how your clients feel about your current work for them. But what do they really think about your practice and your overall expertise?  Over an eight-year period, we’ve interviewed hundreds of clients who’ve provided us with invaluable feedback about architects. Read on for a snapshot of what they shared.

You all seem the same

Clients find it very difficult to name and compare the distinct virtues of individual architecture practices. When pressed to identify differentiators — or what separates Firm A from Firm B — it’s rare to find clients who can clearly articulate how a firm stands out from its competitors.

So, if you know what sets you apart, start telling your market! This will ensure you’re top of mind for that next tender list.

What’s your speciality?

The power players in any industry let it be known what they do best. Think Mercedes Benz? Think luxury cars. What about IKEA? Scandinavian-designed, reasonably priced furniture.

Most clients we interview can’t articulate the key sector or expertise of most architecture practices. Being ‘all things to all clients’ clearly isn’t working. If you’re experts in retail, let that be known — loud and clear. Do this well and you’ll be rewarded with more retail enquiries.

Hiding your true value

Apart from the tangible built form at the end of a project, clients universally feel unclear about architects’ real value. With this in mind, it’s worth unearthing and sharing what you bring to the table.

Remember those ‘tangible built forms’? Turn to the people who live, work, study or socialise in them. Ask those satisfied clients exactly how your designs benefit them. A better quality of life, improved social connections, decreased utility bills, more natural light and airflow … these are the types of outcomes that are most meaningful to clients.

Consider a growing family who, pre-renovation, lived in each other’s pockets. Fast forward to life after the reno. Then, highlight how your design gave the parents their privacy, the children more places to play and study, as well as communal spaces for the whole family to enjoy. The result? A more unified, happier household.

Similarly, tell the story of the teacher who continually failed to hold her class’ attention in an artificially lit, traditional classroom. Show how your new design transformed the classroom into a light-filled, flexible space where learning is now a dynamic experience. Students are more engaged and frequently help to reconfigure the space for presentations, quiet study periods or group learning.

Regardless of the scenario, swap your technical language for relatable anecdotes — using words and images that will really resonate with clients. If you want to express your true value, this is the best way to do it.


Like to know more about what your clients think about your architecture or design firm and its true value? We conduct detailed research projects for large and small-scale practices. To learn more, contact Lindy Johnson on 0407 742 339.


Next Story

Why architects and designers should embrace video marketing