Congratulations Feather & Lawry Design!

8 April 2024

Congratulations on your recent Client Choice Award win for Best Architecture Firm <$30M! What does this mean for you and your practice?

We are extremely excited and honoured that our small regional design team has been recognised with this national award.

One of our core values as a business is our client focus. We always aim to work with our clients through communication and education to ensure that our project delivery meets expectations.

It is always a challenge to manage a diverse range of clients, across many regions, from the remote Northern Territory to Western Queensland, the Darling Downs, South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

We are grateful that our clients repeatedly choose to put their faith in us to design their projects. Formal recognition of this is a very fulfilling reward that will keep the whole team striving to achieve excellence.

A big part of the Client Choice process is to collect feedback from clients. What was the process like for you?

We have had a small-scale internal client feedback process functioning for the past couple of years. Our practice manager has done a wonderful job of managing this. However, we have wondered if this was skewed towards positive results as a function of clients needing to respond directly to us.

It is extremely positive for us to achieve this recognition through a feedback process managed by a specialist third-party organisation. It means that we can have full faith in the integrity of the responses that we receive.

What were some of the things that your clients value the most?

We have recently invested heavily in upgrading our hardware, software and staff capabilities. It was very encouraging to hear from our clients that they highly value our design presentation methods, from 3D views to photo renders and fly throughs. These help to strengthen our in-house design process and help our clients understand the design in more detail before works start on site.

Respondents also consistently commented on our attention to detail, practical solutions and professionalism.

Did the process identify improvements that could be made? Has any of the client feedback changed the way you do things in practice?

From the feedback received, we know that we need to keep focusing on our client experience and the issues that are most important to them. As our team continues to grow, we will focus on continuously improving staff skillsets in the areas of communication and accountability with clients.

We also have the confidence to continue to invest in building our technical and visualisation capabilities to enhance our pursuit of design excellence.

Client engagement is so critical. What are some key tips you can share with members about your client communication strategy?

We always strive to be approachable and establish clear communications pathways at project inception. This involves spending some time getting to know our clients and their preferred methods of communication. There are many methods available in the modern world and we want to balance convenience with professionalism at all times.

We also recognise that members of our team have strengths in varied modes of communication and will match them up with clients to suit their strengths as required.

Fundamentally we seek to remain solution focused in all of our communications. It never helps to only identify problems or play the blame game. We find this positive attitude breeds success and keeps our clients returning, sometimes many years later, with interesting and varied projects.

The Client Choice Awards are the only professional services awards in the world judged entirely by the feedback ratings of clients. Beaton prepares the feedback surveys for clients and undertakes thorough quality, authenticity and reliability checks on responses. The online survey asks clients to rate and comment on the performance of firms in delivering services on a range of criteria including quality, value for money, price and innovation. Those responses are submitted directly to Beaton and analysed for judging. The awards open in June and client surveying runs until mid-February, with the Awards announced in late March.

Feather & Lawry Design is a small regional multi-disciplinary design studio based in Toowoomba, Queensland. The client-focused practice has an extensive residential and commercial design project portfolio, partnering with home and business owners, private developers, universities and government departments to deliver quality, bespoke designs.