Client Experience Award

Feb 06, 2022

This new award is the strongest way to differentiate your firm from the competition.

Car and Driver’s 10Best. An Oscar. A five-star rating on Amazon. As consumers, we often look to third parties to help us decide what to buy – especially when the options are many, and differences are hard to spot. Today’s buyers of AEC services face an increasing number of options. National competitors are everywhere. Firms one state over have put your state in their strategic growth plan. You may have growth goals of your own – often with new clients, or in new markets and geographies. You know if you could just win the first project with a new client you could show them how much better you are and secure a long-term backlog of work into the future.

AEC firm leaders employ a variety of strategies to win and grow new clients, but they’ve never had the benefit of being able to point to their “10 Best” award. There’s no nationally televised awards ceremony where everyone can see how great they are. We don’t even have a marketplace like Amazon to see how others have rated our performance.

We are living in a “seal of approval” society and, until now, haven’t had a way to give our buyers this critical decision-making information. The same people who are choosing between your proposal and three others are going on Amazon that evening and filtering to “four stars and up” when they shop. What if you could show them your four (or five) stars?

Research from PwC shows 86 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. When we look just like our competitors, often the smallest difference in fee becomes the deciding factor. Price your proposal 2 percent too high and you lose. Firms resort to testimonials and references to justify their value, but every firm can secure references and testimonials from their best clients. The firm 2 percent cheaper than yours has testimonials too. Firms need better data and visibility to justify their value proposition.

Buyers have been trained to trust third-party ratings and reviews – we do it on Amazon, Yelp, Angie’s List, and more. That’s why Zweig Group and Client Savvy have partnered to bring you the Excellence in Client Experience Award (CXA). Published at, we are recognizing firms that solicit real client feedback from a majority of their client base. The results are audited to be statistically significant and provide a credible third-party source to validate a firm’s excellence.

While anyone can be a reviewer on Yelp, CXA reviewers are people whose experience and opinions are especially valuable because they understand what it means to have received exceptional service/experience in your very specific field. No one knows how excellent your firm is more than your clients. Your clients are the informed buyers choosing you over the many competitive options. By entering the CXA, firms receive both detailed insights to their clients’ perceptions and marketing tools to authentically tell potential new clients how great your firm is.

Firms collecting and responding to client feedback are twice as likely to be recommended by their clients. They are three times more likely to be in the top quartile of revenue growth. Universal Engineering Services, No. 1 growth firm on Zweig Group’s Hot Firms list last year, has maintained client feedback scores in the top 1 percent of the industry for more than five consecutive years. Other top-performing firms use their client feedback as a tool to attract new clients, like SME-USA – a firm that showcases its excellence as a tool to sustain a more than 80 percent proposal win rate.

If your firm has growth as part of its strategic plan, leadership needs to know what your clients think. Client sentiment provides an accurate predictor of growth potential while providing tools to attract clients (and talent). Learn more about how your firm can use the Client Experience Award to stand out from your competition at

Ryan Suydam is chief experience officer at Client Savvy. Connect with him on LinkedInBlake Godwin is president and partner at Client Savvy. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

The Client Experience Award is the strongest way to differentiate your firm from the competition. Entrants will receive detailed, third-party validated client feedback. Winning firms will have a dedicated profile page on the Client Experience Awards site recognizing their achievement for use in marketing, proposals, and promotions. Winners will be recognized at the CXps conference in May and will receive their awards at Zweig Group’s ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala in September.

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.